Cherry Icebox Cookies

CHERRY ICEBOX COOKIES Adapted from Christmas with Southern Living, 1995

Speed the chilling of the dough by placing the rolls in the freezer; then just slice and bake.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (16 ounce) jar maraschino cherries, drained and finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup red decorator sugar (optional)

Beat butter at medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add egg and vanilla, beating well.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture, beating well. Pat cherries between paper towels to remove excess moisture. Stir cherries and pecans into dough; cover and chill 2 hours.

Shape dough into two 1 1/2-inch diameter, 8-inch long rolls. Roll in colored sugar, if desired. Wrap rolls in wax paper and freeze until firm.

WHEN READY TO BAKE:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.

Unwrap frozen dough and slice into 1/4-inch thick slices, using a sharp knife. Place on prepared cookie sheets.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheets. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Yield: 4 dozen

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