Buttermilk Cookies with a Valentine’s Day Twist

February 10, 2008


When it comes to Valentine’s Day, I’m kind of a scrooge. It’s certainly not my favorite holiday. But, if it gives me an excuse to make the buttermilk cookies that caught my eye in the January issue of Gourmet, hey, I’ll jump on the red-and-pink, chocolate-and-rose-covered bandwagon.





I was taken in by almost all the recipes in the Gourmet feature on Edna Lewis. And as I’ve mentioned before, I was really moved by her essay. The recipe for these buttermilk cookies was not one of Lewis’ original recipes, like the others in the feature. But I tucked away the recipe nonetheless.

(Click “more” for the rest of the story, more photos and the recipe.)


The recipe is really simple and quick and produces a soft, sticky dough. The supple mounds of dough then become puffed and slightly golden after a turn in the oven. At this point, the cookies are delightful. They have a tender texture in the middle that becomes crisper around the edges. And the buttermilk and lemon zest impart an interesting flavor to what could otherwise be a very basic cookie. The buttermilk glaze that gets draped across these cookies plays up the same flavors and makes a tasty and beautiful little round.


To Valentine’s Day these cookies up, I dusted them with red sprinkles immediately after spooning on the buttermilk glaze. And, on half the batch, I replaced the buttermilk glaze with melted chocolate, thinned out with a splash of buttermilk. What’s a Valentine’s Day treat without chocolate, after all?


Buttermilk Cookies

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

Make cookies:
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter 2 large baking sheets.

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

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric 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 tablespoons 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.

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

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


11 Responses to “Buttermilk Cookies with a Valentine’s Day Twist”

  1. bevsedgehills Says:

    oooh they look lovely! I was going to bake my hubbie valentines cookies, but he has informed me he is on a health kick so I will have to rethink, but I could still make some cookies and eat em all myself! :o)

  2. Karina Says:

    Those are so cute! The sparkly sugar makes them look like a Valentines Day art project.

  3. JEP Says:

    What a terrific home-y cookie & sure to please any Valentine!

  4. Melissa Says:

    Hey, I just wanted know how many this served… and also I wanted to let you know that I think those look delicious! I love buttermilk cokies, I can’t wait for some gourmet style!

  5. ourkitchensink Says:

    Bevsedgehills: Tell your husband that diets don’t count on holidays — even one as lame as Valentine’s Day. Alternatively, go with the make them for yourself plan!

    Karina: It *does* look like glitter! But, I assure you that there is no Elmer’s glue or anything else inedible involved …

    JEP: Yes, my Valentine was pleased! Homey is a great adjective for them.

    Melissa: Gourmet says the full recipe yields 5 1/2 dozen (66 cookies). I halved the recipe and got 32 cookies — so pretty close to half Gourmet’s yield. That one missing cookie might have gotten lost in the dough tasting, which is clearly required by any food blogger worth her salt … Thanks for your comment!

  6. Good idea adding chocolate to some of them! 🙂 Did you have a preference between the two?

  7. I love baking cookies and it’s always great to find new recipes to try. These look fantastic!

  8. ourkitchensink Says:

    Made Healthier: Thanks! I preferred the buttermilk glaze, but my husband gravitated toward the chocolate (shocking).

    Patricia: Thanks!

  9. ovenhaven Says:

    The ones with the red sprinkles look really pretty! Thanks for sharing; I hope to try these out when I have the time. Lovely photos, by the way 🙂

  10. Gena Says:

    I was lucky enough to be the beneficiary of these fabulous cookies. They are delicious. So delicious in fact that my portion disappeared so quickly I had to get rid of the evidence lest my fiancé ask why none were left for him! Thanks!!!

  11. ourkitchensink Says:

    Ovenhaven: Thanks!

    Gena: So glad you liked! Don’t worry, I won’t tell.

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