Swedish Ice Box Cookies

My mother, Audrey, originally got the recipe for Swedish ice box cookies from her friend, Mathilde. The two of them were friends since kindergarten (circa 1921, by my reckoning) and through the years mom got several of our family’s favorite recipes from Mathilde. This recipe’s name shows its own age: It has been a long time since that kitchen machine was called an “ice box.”

My brothers and I baked and ate our share of chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin cookies, but I think these cookies might have been our favorites. Like so many of my mother’s recipes ( see New Orleans Pralines ) Swedish ice box cookies are easy, but delicious. Here’s the recipe from my mom’s index card:

Swedish Ice Box Cookies*


1 C. white sugar

1 C. brown sugar

1 C. shortening (my mom used margarine, I use butter)

2 eggs added to above

Add to above

1t. salt

1t. soda

½ c. nuts (Mom and I use pecans)

2 T. hot water

Flour to stiffen—about 3 cups

Bake 10 – 12 min. in 375° oven

May be dropped on cookie sheet immediately after mixing & baked. Or form half into a roll & held in refrig. Several days – Large recipe—-Usually I make half a recipe.

I hope you enjoy making and eating these easy cookies. I wish I were eating them with my mom and dad and brothers. I wish I had some on a plate next to my tea and computer on this rainy afternoon, far in time and place from Milford, MI. So, if you make these cookies, I hope you have someone dear to share them with.

No photos: I don’t usually make cookies anymore (because my husband and I want to eat them–all of them–but we are trying to hold the line).

*I think my brothers and I called them Swedish nut cookies.

4 thoughts on “Swedish Ice Box Cookies

  1. Kathy DeGroote

    Do you remember the Archway Pecan Ice Box cookies we sold at the canteen? They cost about 3 hours work, but I bought them a couple of times. I’m sure that your mom’s were much better. I’m going to make them for the next family gathering. I have found that the organic butter has a much better flavor, worth the extra money for a special recipe. Good to hear from you!

    1. lyndaterrill Post author

      I do remember those cookies and, in fact, I remember the whole rack of the Archway cookies! I use organic butter sometimes, but I think I should do it more. We are having company this weekend and our neighbors gave us some rhubarb, so I get to make a pie later today. When I was a kid, I thought my dad was nuts because rhubarb was his favorite pie. Now, it’s our favorite, but it’s too hot/humid here to grow good stands of rhubarb (our neighbors have a vineyard in the foothills). Good, as always, to hear from you, Kathy

  2. Donna M.

    I found my mother’s recipe called “Ice Box Nut Cookies.” The two recipes are very close. One difference is that my mother’s recipe called for all brown sugar. I believe the recipe comes from her Swedish mother. They were part of our Christmas cookie selection. I liked them because they were 1) delicious and 2) unadorned. I haven’t made them in year. I need to make them!


    1. lyndaterrill Post author

      Hi, Donna, I guess this is the validation that my mom’s recipe really was “Swedish!” I like them for the same reasons you do–they are tasty, but they aren’t all gussied up. I feel like making a batch, too–maybe for the next time you guys visit.


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