Friday, November 07, 2008

Buttermilk Cookies: No Pumpkin Required

Many moons ago, I saw a recipe for buttermilk cookies on Ezra Pound Cake. Rebecca made them look and sound like an amazing summer treat, and I added them to my ever-increasing To Bake list. A month or two later, I finally got around to making them. A few months after that, I'm finally getting around to posting about them. This says nothing about the quality of the cookies, and everything about my procrastination abilities. So you'll have to excuse these cookies if they don't quite fit the current pumpkin-and-cranberry baking season. They have traveled a long, long way to get here, and I promise that they're worth baking, regardless of the season.

Apparently buttermilk cookies are a Southern classic, but since my Southern living experience is limited to Southern California, I had never heard of buttermilk cookies before this summer. This was entirely my loss, because they're exactly the kind of cookie I like. Soft and cakey, they develop deliciously crisp edges and a nice upper crust, while staying very moist and soft in the center. They have a delicate citrus flavor and are frosted with a sweet-and-tangy icing that makes them madly addicting.

Buttermilk Cookies
Adapted from Gourmet, January 2008

Makes about 5 1/2 dozen cookies [I made a half batch and it still made a ton]

For Cookies:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
  • 3 tablespoons well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two large baking sheets.

Whisk together flour, zest, baking soda, and salt.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an eletric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. Mix in flour mixture and buttermilk alternately in batches at low speed, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until smooth.

Drop level tablepoons of dough about 1 1/2 inches apart onto baking sheets. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cookies are puffed and edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes per batch. Cool cookies on sheets 1 minute, then transfer cookies to racks.

To glaze the cookies: Whisk together all glaze ingredients and brush onto tops of warm cookies.

Let stand until cookies are completely cooled and glaze is set.


  1. Dispite beeing stored on your computer a long time I can see they keep very well, cause they look amazing! And even nice to see something non-pumpkin related, lol!

  2. These look delicious!! Just wanted to let you know I left you an award on my blog!

  3. Anonymous7:33 PM

    Doh, now I'VE got to bake them again. Will the circle never be unbroken? ;)

  4. I have buttermilk in the fridge! Yahoo! These cookies look great!

  5. Anonymous9:49 AM

    Buttermilk is such a great baking ingredient. I've used it in cakes, but not cookies! Definitely need to try that. The cookies and glaze look so pretty :)!

  6. Hi Liz!! I just wanted to let you know that you won my Arbonne raffle!! Please email me at to make arrangements. :-)

  7. Anonymous10:02 AM

    These look like the type of melt-in-your-mouth cookies that I love!

  8. Anonymous12:22 PM

    No need for pumpkin and cranberry here. Looks plenty delicious by itself.

  9. This is one of the best posts that I’ve ever seen; you may include some more ideas in the same theme. I’m still waiting for some interesting thoughts from your side in your next post.

  10. Anonymous6:44 PM

    "Let stand until cookies are completely cooled and glaze is set."

    hahahahahha! If they last that long. Thanks for posting this recipe!

  11. This is definitely a lot to deal with in the future. I am not sure how to deal with this.

  12. Yummy! Its really mouth-watering.

  13. That Looks Delicious, Its really mouth-watering.

  14. Anonymous5:25 AM

    Just made these! Totally yum. Definitely need to be glazed while warm, as you say. I waited a bit long and had to pop them back in the oven.