Blood Orange Icebox Cookies
on Mar 23, 2023
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There are so many reasons to love icebox cookies. This version has sliced almonds and blood orange zest. There is also orange juice in the pastel pink icing. This recipe is a fantastic starting point to change up the flavors whether that’s with different citrus, aromatic extracts, dried fruit or chocolate chips.
Table of Contents
Why You Need This Recipe
It is a more approachable way to do decorated cookies. As I’m sure most home bakers can relate, piping frosting and other techniques are not in my skillset. I tend to stick to drop cookies and baked goods that are meant to be more rustic. With this recipe, I get the look of a fancier cookie that acknowledges my amateur status.
There’s so much to love about slice-and-bake cookies. No matter the cookie style, I usually chill the dough before baking because it gives the dough time to develop more flavor and prevents the cookies from spreading as much when they bake. Here that extra step of shaping the dough into a log before chilling it, let’s you do the slice-and-bake method.
These cookies are flexible. I like the flavor of citrus and almonds, and you can use blood oranges or any other type of orange, lemons or even limes. Oranges will give you pastel pink or orange frosting. Lemons and limes will be whiter in tone. Also, you can shape the profile of the log into a rectangle or circle if you want the cookies to be round.
What are Icebox Cookies?
Also known as refrigerator cookies, once you make the dough, you shape it into a log and then put it in the fridge. Chilling the dough firms it up, making the log easy to cut. They are the original slice-and-and-bake cookies and are similar to a shortbread cookie.
They may not come out as intricate or perfect as using cookie cutters, but icebox cookies are a quicker way to do shaped cookies. There is no rolling and re-rolling required. You can decorate and flavor them in lots of different ways. In this recipe I use orange zest, almonds and almond extract.
This is what you need:
- Orange: As it is written, the recipe calls for 1 blood orange. You will use the zest in the cookie dough and the juice in the icing. These are oranges are sweeter than other varieties and have red colored flesh, which explains their name. The icing will be light pink.
- Powdered sugar sweetens the dough. Also known as confectioners’ sugar, it is finely ground into a powder and also has some cornstarch in it, which absorbs more moisture. This helps the cookies keep their shape rather than spread.
- Unsalted butter: Make sure to use butter that has had time to soften at room temperature.
- Sliced almonds give the cookies both texture and flavor. I love how the thin almonds end up layered throughout out the dough, and you can see in the baked cookies.
- Almond extract enhances the distinct nutty taste.
- Flour: The recipe uses all-purpose flour.
- Salt brings out the overall flavor of baked goods.
Citrus: As mentioned, you don’t have to use a blood orange. You can use lemon zest, 2 limes or another orange variety instead.
Nut-Free: You can leave out the sliced almonds, but be aware that this will lower the yield of the recipe when you don’t use nuts. Then also swap out almond extract for vanilla extract. Other great mix-ins for these cookies include sprinkles, dried cranberries or mini chocolate chips.
How To Make Icebox Cookies
1. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Then add the almond extract.
2. Mix in the orange zest, flour and salt on low speed, until it is not quite combined. You should be able to see streaks of flour here and there.
3. Fold the sliced almonds into the dough.
4. Shape the dough into a log that is a 12” long, 2″ x 1-1/2″ rectangle. Wrap in wax paper. Chill the dough in the fridge until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5. Before slicing, the log let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Space the cookies 1 inch apart on the pan.
6. Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes. The cookies will turn light golden brown. Keep them on the pan for 5 minutes. Then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Whisk together the remaining powdered sugar and the orange juice to make the icing.
8. Dip the cookies into the icing. Put them on a wire rack and wait for the icing to harden before serving.
Storing and Freezing Tips
Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days. When it comes to putting them in the freezer, you have options during certain steps in the recipe:
- Freeze the cookie dough log. Just make sure to wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and then put it in a bag or another container. Thaw the log overnight in the refrigerator. Then slice the cookie dough and bake the cookies
- Freeze the sliced cookie dough. You need to place the unbaked cookies on a sheet pan lined with wax paper to freeze them individually, or they will stick together. Then you can put them in the same container. You do not need to thaw them before baking. They might take a couple additional minutes to bake
- You can freeze baked and iced cookies. Thaw them at room temperature.
You chill the cookie dough in the refrigerator before slicing and baking them, so that’s why they are known as icebox cookies.
You can keep baked cookies in an airtight container up to 4 days. The dough can be frozen in a log, sliced and frozen or baked and iced cookies can be frozen—all up to 1 month.
You can use different types of citrus zest as well as vanilla extract or almond extract. Dried cranberries, nuts, sprinkles or mini chocolate chips are also great options to flavor these cookies.
More Cookie Recipes
Did you make these icebox cookies? Please leave a rating and comment below. Thanks!
Blood Orange Almond Icebox Cookies
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 blood orange zest and juice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar until smooth and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the almond extract.
- On low speed, mix in the orange zest, flour and salt. When it is almost combined, but you can still see a little flour, fold in the sliced almonds.
- On a lightly floured work surface, shape the dough into a 12” long, 2″ x 1-1/2″ rectangle.
- Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight until firm.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Let the dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before using a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the cookies on the sheet pan spacing them 1 inch apart.
- Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes until they start to turn light golden brown. Keep the cookies on the sheet pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the icing, whisk together 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and 2 tablespoons blood orange juice. If the mixture seems too thick, add more juice. If it is too runny, add more sugar.
- Dip the cookies in the icing or drizzle their tops. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to let the icing set.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Originally published February 14, 2019. Updated March 23, 2023.