Sliced cookies are the ultimate in convenience. Once made, the rich dough can wait in the refrigerator for up to 1 week until you need it. In fact, chilling is a must because the dough is too soft to cut initially, much like the mixture used for cutout cookies. The two doughs are similar in their early stages -- both have similar consistencies and are refrigerated -- but differ in how they are shaped. While cutouts are punched out of a rolled dough sheet, sliced cookies are cut from a solid dough log. To add texture and flavor, some doughs are rolled in chopped nuts, like Chocolate-Pistachio Sandwich Cookies (see recipe), or tinted with chocolate, sliced, and reassembled into two-color checkerboards or stacked into stripes like the Chocolate Peppermint slices (see recipe). A nicely rounded shape is an important part of the visual appeal of these cookies. If the dough flattens as you slice it, roll it back into a log and chill it again for about 5 or 10 minutes.
Divide the dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of plastic wrap large enough to fully enclose it. Roll the dough into a log inside the wrap. Seal the ends airtight.
Storing Log of Dough
To keep the log nicely rounded, chill it inside a tall, narrow glass (if the log is longer than your glass, cut it into several portions and store it in several glasses). Alternatively, just chill the dough wrapped in plastic.
Unwrap the chilled log of dough. Cut it into 1/4-inch-thick slices with a sharp knife. Always use a knife with a thin, sharp blade and slice with a back-and-forth sawing motion, not a downward swipe.
Testing for Doneness
Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven until the edges are firm and the bottoms are lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes, or as the recipe directs. Remove from the cookie sheet to a wire rack to cool completely.