Slice and bake cookies are a type of cookie that is formed into a log that you can cut into individual rounds and place on the baking sheet, as opposed to “drop cookies” that are hand shaped and dropped into small mounds on the baking sheet before baking. The term “slice and bake” is often applied to the ready made logs of dough that you can buy in the grocery store, which are easy for anyone to bake off in just a few minutes, but cookies of this type are a great option for baker who prefer to do things from scratch, too. This is because this type of cookie dough can be prepared well in advance and stored in the freezer until you are ready to bake them off. On the short end of the spectrum, you might only need to chill the dough for an hour to firm up the dough enough to slice it easily before baking the cookies. On the longer end, you might want to keep and extra log or two ro your favorite dough in the freezer so that you can always have homemade cookies at your fingertips when you need to bake something. Most doughs will keep for months, if not longer, when well wrapped and stored in an airtight container. The other advantage to freezing the dough is that you don’t need to make the whole batch of cookies at once. If you only want two or four cookies (as a snack for yourself or you and a friend/loved one), you only need to bake that many and can save the rest of the dough for the next time a craving strikes.
Slice and bake cookies can be made in all different flavors, just as other types of cookies can be. This is a popular technique to use for shortbread and butter cookies, where the thin slices can help to produce crisp, tender cookies. The slices also give the cookies a uniform look, which makes them a great candidate for being dipped in chocolate or otherwise dressed up when compared to homier-looking drop cookies.
A few slice and bake recipes to get you started, so you can stock up the freezer with dough in advance and be ready to bake whenever fresh cookies are called for (which, in my experience, is very often):