This type of cookie is indispensable for us busy bakers and I know that's why my Grandmother Gladys liked baking them. She had gone to work during WWII and figured out making up this dough and keeping it in the refrigerator (or freezer) made for instant gratification with a limited amount of time used. My mother adapted her recipe and I've been baking them for years; they're one of my "cookies of choice" for mailing because of their shelf life!
Like my pie dough I make up in bulk, it's nice to have several rolls of refrigerator cookies in the freezer when the urge hits. The dough is pretty standard and I still make up her original recipe (with a few flavor changes) using Crisco and not butter--an ingredient that was in short supply during the war. Grandma Gladys always made a nut version, but I'll give you some substitutes that also work.
Refrigerator Spice Cookies with Almonds
1 cup shortening (I use Butter-flavored Crisco)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie spice
1/4 tsp. ground Cardamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts (I used sliced almonds)
2 3/4 cups King Arthur Flour all-purpose flour
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and sugars together, scrapping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. While the mixer is running on medium, add the eggs, one at a time (don't expect the mixture to cream together as if you're using butter.)
Add the spices with the dry ingredients and nuts and mix on low until the dough is thoroughly combines. Divide in half and create two rolls of dough. Grandma always wrapped the dough in wax paper, but plastic wrap is my choice.
Preheat oven to 400F-degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the rolls from the refrigerator, one at a time, and slice just about a 1/4"-thick. Place on the parchment, spacing them about 1 1/2-2 inches apart.
Substitute 1/2 cup cocoa, decrease flour to 2 1/4 cups & add chopped pecans. Use 1 tsp. vanilla extract instead of spices
Add 1/2 tsp. Coconut flavor and 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Add 1 T red food coloring, 2 T cocoa, 1 tsp. vanilla extract and chopped pecans for Red Velvet refrigerator cookies
Add zest of 1 lemon (orange or lime), 1 tsp. juice to dough
So many recipes can be made, but you get the picture. Enjoy!