I’m terribly superstitious. I refuse to say Macbeth inside a theatre, would rather eat my face off than walk under a ladder, and once cried for days over a broken mirror. One of the things I’m superstitious about is flying. Every trip has to be the same. I get there very early (a minimum of 3 hours), buy about 40 magazines, and plop myself directly in front of the gate for the 2.5 hours before boarding. I have a couple rituals on the plane too, but you don’t need to know all those.
So I was flying from Chicago to LA after my BFF’s wedding a couple years ago. I, of course, purchased my $737 worth of magazines. One of those magazines was the January 2008 issue of Gourmet, featuring Edna Lewis’ lovely essay, “What is Southern?” I immediately became obsessed with this incredible woman. I have her cookbooks and I’ve stalked her recipes all over the internet. Her buttermilk cookies have been on my list for ages and this past weekend, I had tons of buttermilk and nowhere to go. So I finally made them.
These cookies are amazing. I love them so much, I’ll never make them again because I will never stop eating them. Okay, that’s a lie. I’ll make them forever and ever.
These cookies have a lovely cakelike texture and a fantastic flavor. The glaze adds just a touch of sweetness. Even Mr. Butterpants loved them. And he doesn’t love anything except Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and Transformers.
The glaze in the photo at the link looks thicker than mine. This is probably because I didn’t measure my buttermilk so mine came out a little thin. I loved the glaze, but I’d probably want it thicker next time.
Edna Lewis’ Buttermilk Cookies from Gourmet Magazine
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 c. well-shaken buttermilk
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar
3 tbsp well-shaken buttermilk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees with your rack in the middle.
Grease 2 large baking sheets. I used my silpat and had a bit of trouble with sticking. I’ll trying greased parchment next time. Whisk together flour, zest, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add your eggs one at a time, letting each one completely incorporate, then beat in the vanilla. Mix in your flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately in batches at low speed, beginning and ending with flour, until smooth. Drop the dough about 1 1/2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Gourmet recommends a level tablespoon, I didn’t level, just dropped what looked to be a tablespoon or so on the sheet. Bake, one sheet at a time, until the cookies are puffed and the edges are slightly brown, 12 to 14 minutes per batch. Cool cookies on sheets for one minute, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
While the cookies are baking, whisk together your confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and buttermilk until smooth. Brush onto the tops of your still-warm cookies. Let them stand until the cookies are completely cooled and glaze is set.
Make them. Make them now.
Be excellent to each other.