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4.28.2008

Because of the cookies

I have a confession to make. I haven’t finished writing the thank you notes for our wedding gifts. It has been nine months - nine months tomorrow - and though no one has been brave enough to confirm it, it is becoming quite clear that I am the worst bride ever. I wish someone had warned me about this when we got engaged. Maybe I would have held off on the wedding thing, or chosen a man who has legible handwriting. Instead, once all the fun stuff was over, the whole party part, I had 93 thank you notes to write. Ninety. Three. And as of today, I still have 18 more to go.

I am genuinely thankful - really, so thankful - but even gratitude has its limits. I would much rather gather all the people around one night, all the people we want to thank, and bake a big batch of cookies, make some lemonade, and climb up on a chair and thank them. That would be much better. We could even spike the lemonade with a healthy dose of vodka, so that they would understand that we were very, very grateful. Anyway, the pen I was using to write the notes ran out of ink today. Or, rather, it dried up. Because Brandon left it uncapped on the coffee table last night, after he helped me double-check the envelopes. I do still love him, but for a minute there, it was touch and go.



So I made an important decision. If we can’t throw a party to thank everyone, the least I can do, I figure, is eat cookies while I write thank you notes. With my dried-up pen.



A couple of Saturdays ago, I had the dreamiest day. It was warm, almost hot, and I pushed all the windows up and opened the side door. It felt so good to be warm for the first time in months, and it made me feel a little sleepy, so I decided to sit on the couch for a while. I rounded up all the unread food magazines that have been lying around the house for the past few months - a couple next to my desk, one beside the bed, one still in its plastic sleeve by the mail slot, all dusty and ignored - and put them on the coffee table. And then I spent the afternoon sitting there, thumbing through them, flaaaaaap, flaaaaap, flaaaaaap. That was when I found the recipe for these sweet little buttermilk cookies.



Published in the January issue of Gourmet, this recipe was inspired by none other than Edna Lewis, by an essay in which she mentions serving buttermilk cookies with ice-cold lemonade. The editors at Gourmet, eager to find a recipe for said cookies, apparently combed through her books and came away empty-handed, so they decided to create one themselves.

The happy result is what you see above, cookies like oversized coat buttons, scented with lemon zest and glazed with buttermilk and sugar. They’re light and tender in the center and daintily crisp at the edges, simple but unspeakably delicious. They’re the type of cookie that grandmothers in fairy tales are supposed to make, the kind that look like nothing much but over time become legend. I am almost always a chocolate cookie person, but for these, I am willing to make an exception. I ate four of them after lunch today, and all I can say is thank goodness they’re small, if you know what I mean. With a plate of these by my side, I think I could come to feel good about pretty much anything, even the 18 thank you notes that remain. Miss Lewis seems like the kind of lady who always kept up with her correspondence, and between you and me, I’ll bet it was because of the cookies.



Buttermilk Cookies with Lemon Zest
Adapted from Gourmet, January 2008

I halved the recipe as it was printed in Gourmet, and it yielded plenty of cookies, so what I’ve typed below is my halved version. The only other major change I made was to increase the amount of lemon zest. A half batch should have had only ½ teaspoon of zest, but I used a whole teaspoon instead. I highly recommend it.

For the cookies:
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. (3 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk

For the glaze:
¾ cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 ½ Tbsp. well-shaken buttermilk
¼ tsp. vanilla extract

Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, zest, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl, if you’re going to use a handheld mixer), beat the butter briefly, until creamy. Add the sugar, and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the egg, and beat well to mix. Add the vanilla, and beat briefly again. Mix in the flour mixture and the buttermilk in batches at low speed, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. The finished dough should be smooth and pale yellow.

Drop the dough by level tablespoons onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 1 ½ inches between each cookie. (If you have a very small ice cream scoop, one with a capacity of about 1 tablespoon, it’s perfect for this job.) Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until the cookies are puffed and their edges are golden, about 11 to 15 minutes per batch. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 1 minute; then transfer them to a wire rack.

To prepare the glaze, whisk together the sifted confectioners sugar, buttermilk, and vanilla. The mixture should be very smooth, with no lumps of sugar visible. Brush or spoon the glaze onto the warm cookies. (I wound up with leftover glaze, so don’t be surprised if you don’t use it all.) Allow cookies to sit on the rack until they are fully cooled and the glaze is set.

Note: These cookies are most tender and delicate on the day they’re made, but they’re not bad after a day or so. They just get more dense and chewy - a little different, that’s all. And for longer storage, they can be stashed in the freezer in an airtight container.

Yield: about 40 small cookies

95 Comments:

Anonymous deborah said...

molly, i know this might sound swift, but i think i'll serve these at our party. you know which one i'm talking about, right?
perhaps by having them AT the party, i'll get a head start. the head start i surely need, because i am that hopeless.
thanks, my dear.

7:12 PM, April 28, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

I can relate to that cooking magazines lying around the house thing - I've got dozens. Those cookies do look yummy. Can't wait to try 'em.

7:14 PM, April 28, 2008  
Anonymous Leah said...

I would like please these cookies. Oh yes. Who needs a note when you've got a whole mess of 'em?

Like, say in late June. After a hike. I would think they would taste awfully good then, these little suckers. With some ice-cold lemonade. I'm willing to volunteer for that experiment.

7:20 PM, April 28, 2008  
OpenID artisansweets said...

Don't feel bad.. I beat you as the worst bride ever. I have yet to finish mine and Gabe and I are in our fifth year of marriage. Oopsy!
Any excuse to make/eat cookies is a good one!!

8:51 PM, April 28, 2008  
Blogger Adele said...

girl, first, let me commiserate with the whole 'thank- you' thing. i waited 361 days after our splendid nuptials to lick the last of the envelopes. second, a major splash of love for your writing and cooking inspiration. you rock, thank-yous or not.

8:51 PM, April 28, 2008  
Blogger Lisa said...

Well, there I was, hair all askew in the blast of heretofore unseen discipline: five thank yous a day, I decided, after my shower. I got five done right away. Very exciting. And then? Well ... I won't blame the chickens.

Maybe I'll blame Edna Lewis. Because I've been thinking about these cookies all spring. I think it's time.

9:08 PM, April 28, 2008  
Anonymous Allison Fouse said...

Oh yum.

9:16 PM, April 28, 2008  
Anonymous Marc @ NoRecipes said...

Hahahah I can relate! The cookies are a good idea and they look delightful... maybe this will motivate me to send those photos off to my relatives.

9:36 PM, April 28, 2008  
Blogger kickpleat said...

mmm, i love how those dreamy coat button cookies look, all done up in polaroid. i'd love to sit outside and sip some lemonade and munch on a cookie or three. i'm saving this recipe for just an occasion.

11:52 PM, April 28, 2008  
Anonymous Shvetha said...

What a coincidence! I was leafing through the same issue of Gourmet last Saturday and had earmarked this & the recipe for potato rolls (that so wasn't what they were called but my memory fails me) to try. Your write-up is just what I needed to give 'em both a shot right away :-)

12:04 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Sarah said...

These are my current favorite cookies! I made them after I saw them in Gourmet and fell in love! They are now a staple. Yours look great!

4:12 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Aran said...

I think people would love to have cookies and lemonade than thank you cards anyway. It is one of those things that we all feel we HAVE to do but if we don't, our friends and family wouldn't really mind because they already know you, and they know you are thankful. But justbthrowing a party would probably surprise them and they would love you even more.

The idea of simple buttermilk and lemon cookies sounds sooo lovely right now. Spring is in the air that's for sure!

4:24 AM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These look so good, and it's pouring buckets here today. A perfect day to make cookies, really. Any idea if these can be frozen? Maybe before they are frosted? Thanks for the inspiration.

Also, it's been 8 months since my wedding, and we're still working on the thank yous too.

6:36 AM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous RA said...

When I saw that faded Polaroid on your Flickr stream, I went to the Gourmet website and printed out their recipe straight away. But, I will now print out your halved and more-lemony version because that sounds just right to me. I can't wait to make these.

6:36 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger I am Jen said...

I admired these cookies yesterday when I saw them on flickr. And your wedding thank-you's are still acceptable within the first year of marriage. I read that somewhere, I don't keep ontop of these things. So you are not the worst bride ever at all.

6:53 AM, April 29, 2008  
OpenID cindc said...

One my way to work I pass a billboard suggesting I make a tall glass of lemonade spiked with Smirnoff Blueberry. I like to think I'm immune to advertising, but it's hard to resist that one... and I think these cookies would compliment it perfectly!

7:02 AM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous ann said...

My Mother swears that broken cookies have no calories, so perhaps you could adapt her adage for your needs to "Unchocolate cookies have no calories."

7:05 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Victoria said...

Molly,

May I have a cookie NOW please? I'll forego the lemonade. It's gotten a little chilly again here, and the sun isn't out. But one of those cookies with a cup of tea would surely cheer me up - which is what your writing always does.

7:16 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Katie B. said...

Hahaha, I def. think you can soldier through those notes with such tasty little cookies to keep you company! You're almost done, but I'll share our trick with you - my husband would type up the thank you note on the computer, and then I would handwrite it into the note. That way, I wasn't the one coming up with all the personalized, sweet comments (which for me was the worst part), and he didn't have to write anything out! Divide and conquer!

7:48 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Patricia Scarpin said...

Molly, these cookies look beautiful. I love anything lemon. And I'm also a sucker for cookies.

Just wanted to tell you that I think it's so much fun that I can read you on Bon Appetit even being so far away (I live in Brazil).

Congratulations on your success - well deserved!

7:52 AM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous Andrea said...

Whoo-hoo, Molly! Congratulations on the progress.....I know what a great feeling that is, and I'm happy for you! You are inspiring me to sit my bum down and just do it, too! We had a nice run of gorgeous weather here in Pittsburgh and now it is rainy and cold. As soon as the sun is out again, those thank-yous are toast! I am totally making the cookies this Sunday. I absolutely cannot wait.

8:00 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger shauna said...

Oh my dear, if you are the worst bride ever, then I am the worstest. (That's how bad a bride I am. I resort to execrable grammar.) I haven't finished ours, and there are more than 18 to go. I don't even have a pen ready. We have a baby coming. Are they all going to be written before the thank yous for the baby shower need to be written as well?

hmmmm......

These cookies look scrumptious. And they'd be easy to make gluten-free. Sweet rice flour. Next week, let's make some, and you can tell me what you think, and we'll commiserate.

Or we could sit together and write thank you notes.

Cookies.

8:06 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Sarah said...

Molly, We turn ten months old this week and still have 200 thank you's left! I lose sleep over this at night. We're going to glue ourselves to the kitchen table for three weekends straight with spiked lemonade and cookies. Thanks for the idea.

8:37 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Felicia said...

Oversized coat buttons. Perfect description for such lovelies :)

9:57 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Rosiecat said...

Ann, my mom ALSO swears that broken cookies have no calories! Clearly, our mothers are the most brilliant women to ever walk the face of the earth.

Bless those moms and all that they teach us.

10:10 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger kmb said...

These cookies look delish, can't wait to try them. How do you index recipes on blogger? I am having the darndest time figuring it out... Happy Tuesday!

10:42 AM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Mandy said...

I am a chocolate cookies kind of girl too. But lemony cookies is another favorite too. Thanks for highlighting this recipe!

11:58 AM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous aka frank said...

why not make cookies as thank you. print up some simple cards so that you don't have to hand write and send them on. 10 times better than a sterile thank you note!

12:26 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Lael said...

I always enjoy the simplicity of flavors in each of your recipes. Even if it's a unique sort of flavor, there's never anything overbearing about it, and I can always trust myself to be pleased by what ends up on the table (given I don't screw anything up on my end). Thank you so much for sharing your delicious kitchen and adding sweet beautiful words to this world.

1:30 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Emily said...

Wow. I'm so glad you made these! I too, saw this recipe and felt compelled to try it. But I haven't yet. Yet. Because now that I saw you post about them, how could I resist any longer?! Thank you Molly.

1:42 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger jora said...

I have been wanting to make these cookies since I first saw them back in the January issue of Gourmet! Thanks for the much-needed reminder to get to it!

2:29 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Erin said...

Cookies are my favorite thing to bake, because they're so easy to share. I like bringing treats to work, to avoid eating them all at home, but public transportation would be a tricky situation if I tried to share a cake or pie! These look like perfect summer cookies, with the lemon flavor. YUM!

Good luck finishing the thank you notes!

3:53 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Mar said...

This is perfect!
I've been trying to find ways to use the never-ending quart of buttermilk in the fridge without going grocery shopping, and these are perfect!

5:44 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger hannah said...

i've been thinking about these since i saw the pola. because here is my secret, a really really good sugar cookie with a kick of lemon, is probably my favorite cookie. but so hard to find. it's supposed to be warm tomorrow, maybe i should pick up some buttermilk on the way home...

7:55 PM, April 29, 2008  
Blogger Lina said...

yea.... thank you notes are a pain. Thats why I only had 30 people at my wedding! haha. Those cookies look so yummy! ♥

10:00 PM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous Vodafone istanbul said...

Good luck finishing the thank you notes!

10:51 PM, April 29, 2008  
Anonymous Eileen said...

Having time to sit down with a pile of old magazines is one of my favorite things to do. Also, the cookies look great. Anything with lemon, as far as I'm concerned. Check out my lemon cornmeal cookies!

Eileen (passions to pastry)@
www.livingtastefully.com

6:16 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Mandy said...

I am definitely the worst bride ever. i was 90% through with my thank you notes when we moved from the west coast to the east coast (4 months after the big day). I figured i would just take them with me and finish up the last 25 notes on our drive. Somehow, between CA and DC the notes were lost and never seen or heard from again. I am the WORST bride ever...but I wil be consoling myself with these delicious looking cookies.

7:04 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Aaron Kagan said...

Don't worry, there are much bigger surprises that can come nine months into a marriage.

Oh, and the cookies look great!

www.teaandfood.blogspot.com

10:22 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger erica said...

i made these last night for a party and they were delicious. thanks so much for the recipe!

11:35 AM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

Oh my dear, bless you for being so honest. I've been holding the same secret - the unfinished thank you notes - in my drawers since I got married in August. I think I'll make these cookies and start on the unfinished ones with you!!

12:57 PM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Cindy said...

From a procrastinator...
Please finish up those notes! Most givers spend thought and time (driving to the store, or browsing internet, wrapping, etc.) not to mention money. The few minutes it takes to write a thank you is not really much--and it gives the giver joy to know you appreciate the gift. Gratitude--it's meant to be exprssed. Good for you to only have 18 left --and to not give up! Better late than never is a good motto here. I am pretty sure regular gifts should be "thanked" within two weeks--wedding gifts 1 month -- maybe 2.
The cookies look lovely--Thank YOU for sharing the recipe :-)

9:00 PM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger Food, she thought. said...

just to commiserate, I have been married 7 years and have yet to do my wedding albums. Le sigh.

9:24 PM, April 30, 2008  
Anonymous Kirsten said...

What about sending me one of your cookies per email? Right now? I would love to eat one... :-)))
Well, your recipes really sound great!

11:49 PM, April 30, 2008  
Blogger aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Forget the thank you letters. Just send out the cookies.

3:32 AM, May 01, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A friend of mine sent out postcards after so many months of being married (6? 9?). On the front was a funny picture of them. On the back, a pre-printed message about how lame they were not getting their thank-you notes out, but how much they appreciated us being at their wedding and our thoughtful gifts, etc. and that thank you notes woud come eventually.

Since the picture & letter reflected their personality, it was actually better than the standard "Thanks for the gift, it was great" note.

4:55 AM, May 01, 2008  
Blogger Mevrouw Cupcake said...

These look like the perfect little cookie, and an excuse to use my favorite dairy product!

6:45 AM, May 01, 2008  
Anonymous diva@theSugarBar said...

i've always been wanting to make cookies like those..thanks for sharing the recipe. ;)

7:50 AM, May 01, 2008  
Anonymous Robin said...

It took me a full year to finish writing my graduation thank you notes, and I had no where near 93 to write. I'm sure I'll make a worse bride someday! Your cookies look great and guilt-relieving!

1:42 PM, May 01, 2008  
Anonymous Hillary said...

I LOVE that you admitted the thank you notes. I feel like the same person and I'm SURE that when I get married I'll be doing the same thing. I also think that you probably take more time on thank you notes than most people. I could just see those heartfelt messages now, and I mean that in the most sincere of complimentary fashions.

2:29 PM, May 01, 2008  
Anonymous Kim said...

Oh how divine! These have been on my to bake list. I am studying Miss Edna and Southern cooking. I adore her books read them nightly as well.

5:13 AM, May 02, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I feel your pain. I took three months to finish mine, and in addition to my guilt, I had relatives up the wazoo guilting me about it. Within a year is fine, surely, and some cookies and spiked lemonade are good for the soul. If it helps, I ended up typing out the notes on the computer, then writing them because thinking while handwriting equals ink blots for me... best of luck! -paintedpears

7:05 AM, May 02, 2008  
Blogger Dirty Mistress said...

I just read your article in the June issue of Bon Appetit - now I am totally excited to try my hand at making jams. Can't wait to check out u-pick farms once summer gets going here in the NE.

Just a quick question, do you have a good source for the screw-top jars?

8:12 AM, May 02, 2008  
Blogger Julie said...

That whole January issue of Gourmet was utterly wonderful. I love simple southern food and Miss Lewis' books. I'm glad to hear you liked the cookies--they're one of the many recipes I bookmarked.

8:22 AM, May 02, 2008  
Blogger Alexa Johnson said...

What a cute polaroid shot! Love it. And let me share our family thank you note philosophy that I put in place after my own wedding 10 years ago. Whoever's "side" the gift comes from writes the note! And my husband's handwriting...even the chickens could scratch something better looking, but I figure it's a reflection on him, not me. It works!

2:28 PM, May 02, 2008  
Blogger Emily said...

Molly, I made the cookies! And then I ate 2, and about 2 hours later I ate another. They're delicious, the equivalent of fairy cakes, but in cookie form. Not too sweet with a delicate texture. And yes, as you mentioned, thank goodness they're small! ;D

5:16 PM, May 02, 2008  
Blogger IslandBaby said...

I had two hundred and fifty thank yous to write (writing it out that way makes it look that much more dreadful!) It took me 11 months. I know, awful. But what can you do? I kept the basket by the living room chair and every night would write a few. The worst part was writing cards when I didn't have an idea in my head of what to say...ugh!

Great looking cookies...i'm going to be trying the gluten-free suggestion!

4:34 AM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Kelly said...

OH! I've been feeling like the worst person in the world because I haven't finished my thank you notes, and we were married last July. Reading this post and realizing I'm not the only bad bride out there is so heartening. Many thanks. And the cookies look scrumptious

10:50 AM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Neen said...

Thank You notes. Ew. That's why we're not married. (Great excuse to use next time the parentals ask, thanks!). But cookies do make everything better. And cookies and tea on a Saturday afternoon is just about as conducive as one gets for letter writing. Good luck! (This'll make your day: 7 whole months until Christmas card season!)

7:16 PM, May 03, 2008  
Blogger Emily said...

I have to say, Molly, that a big vodka-spiked lemonade and cookies party is always a good idea (no matter the occasion). If only everyone we wished to share our cookies with lived close enough to do so! A beautifully written and highly entertaining post as usual, and judging by the many comments, it's struck a chord with many a late thankyou-note-writing bride! Keep em coming...

6:17 AM, May 04, 2008  
Blogger Sheltie Girl said...

Your lemon buttermilk cookies look wonderful. That recipe from Gourmet has been on my baking list as well. I thoroughly enjoy anything Edna made.

Natalie @ Gluten a Go Go

7:59 AM, May 04, 2008  
Anonymous Mandy said...

As many people have assured you, you aren't the worst bride. You are surrounded by many women (even writers!) who probably because they wanted to write a book to express their geniune gratitude took much too long (a year)! PS- My grandmother made teacakes and lemon-glazed angelfood cake. Cookies look yummy! Thanks for a beautiful blog!

8:24 PM, May 04, 2008  
Blogger Fleagirl said...

Okay, all of you women who got your 250+ ty notes written, licked, stamped and posted out within a year are absolutely sickening. I remember working so hard, at the laundromat, writing my special notes, where each one was personalized and targetted to each recipient. I had 60 people at my wedding. I spent about 30 minutes per letter. I still have six or seven I never wrote. There are even a few people who I don't even know who they WERE any more (friends of my parents, etc.).

I've been married 12 years, six months and six days.

Do you think bags of cookies will suffice if I send them out *TOMORROW*?

11:22 PM, May 04, 2008  
Blogger Laura said...

I couldn't resist. I made them this weekend!

The cookies are amazing - everything as promised. Light, lemony, slightly sweet and OH-so-delicious. I made the full recipe, saying a prayer of thanks to my in-laws for my shiny new hand mixer all the while. I foisted off 2 dozen on the friend who came and chatted while I baked, and although I had planned to leave another couple of dozen on the kitchen table at work...

I can't do it. They're too good; I have to hoard them! I'll make some for work later... maybe ;)

9:34 AM, May 05, 2008  
Blogger Christine said...

Molly, please don't worry: I was the worst bride ever. My (now ex-) husband and I got married on July 30 and moved from Seattle to Buffalo on August 1. Not only did I fail to complete my thank-you notes before it was time to send Christmas cards, but I am almost positive the batch that perished when a thermos of coffee exploded in the back of my car were never re-written. And there were no cookies!

I've always been glad that my great-aunt Elizabeth sent her gift early. The day before she passed away unexpectedly, she received possibly the best thank-you note I've ever written.

10:50 AM, May 05, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

We did the thank you notes between the wedding and the honeymoon because otherwise, I'd be right there in that stinkin' boat with you. It's been nearly nine months since ours too (I remember discovering your blog around that time and thinking, "It's Molly wedding season!"). And the magazines. I need a day of cruising through them, and mine are mostly New Yorkers, so so much has gone by already and they aren't browsers, the stinkers. Cookies look so good--a treat to get through all that wedding stuff.

11:12 AM, May 05, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I added lemon zest to the icing
too. These cookies were a hit!
I was a little surprised how small
the batch was. But you did mention
you halved (?) the Gourmet recipe.

I had to wait to try one until the
friends arrived for theirs. I tried to wait, but ate the smallest before the friends got theirs.

Thank You!

2:47 PM, May 05, 2008  
Blogger Tea said...

The cookies were such a treat while driving down south--thank you my dear. A bright lemony spot in an otherwise loooong car ride. You are a peach.

11:36 PM, May 05, 2008  
Blogger Lulu said...

hi molly,
i enjoy looking at your blog every week and trying some of the good recipes you post. i have a question for you that i can't seem to solve... i made these cookies and they tasted great however they didn't seem to puff up much. i often have this issue with muffins and other cookies too. i recently changed to a flour that works better (unbleached Pillsbury)and i also have fresh baking soda. Is there any secret that you can share? thanks.

2:23 PM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Lulu, that's a tough one! Hmm. The first thing that comes to mind is oven temperature. Do you have a thermometer in your oven? The metal kind that you can buy at the grocery store and that hangs from the oven rack? Because I wonder if your oven is running hot, which might cause your cookies / muffins / whatever to cook faster and start to "set" before they have risen fully. That's my best guess.

But maybe somebody else reading this will have an even better idea? Fingers crossed...

3:06 PM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Mandi said...

Hi Molly.
Vics recipes put me onto you. I only got married 2 months ago, and you sound just as in love with your man as I am with mine, so that's nice. Seeing you are nearly a published author in the field of cooking (good luck!!), I presume you are quite worldly about the subject!!! This is my problem. I see all these great recipes, and as I am from Australia, all the terms are different here. Eg-it took me ages to find out that corn flour and corn starch are the same thing. What is buttermilk? Is it butter and milk mixed together? Is granulated sugar caster sugar?? I have all the correct American measuring devices (compliments of Victoria!!) and a lot of American cook books, and need to find out where I can get some kind of listing of the several names that may be used for the one thing. Hope you can help me!! Keep ploughing ahead with the thankyou cards-you are 3/4 of the way there! ~Mandi

4:58 PM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Lulu said...

Thanks Molly for the suggestion of the oven thermometer. I don't have one but will pick one up and give that a try. You might be on to something...

6:11 PM, May 06, 2008  
Anonymous christine said...

When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we thought that engraved photo frames would be a lovely thank-you gift for our wedding party. We even told our photographer which photos to take, to be sure that we'd have an appropriate photo for each engraved frame.

I've been married for six years now, and there are several empty, engraved frames tucked into boxes all over this country. Oops.

8:43 PM, May 06, 2008  
Blogger Molly said...

Hi Mandi! I'm glad Victoria sent you over. So, let's see about these tricky culinary names and terms. I don't know of any site that is geared toward this specific problem, but I'm guessing that Wikipedia, or some general source like that, might be your best bet. The Wikipedia entry for buttermilk, for example, is pretty good. Basically, buttermilk is the liquid left over after cream has been churned into butter. Today, though, it is usually made commercially by other means, namely by adding lactic acid bacteria to milk. It's sour and thick (though still pourable), and it's wonderful for using in baked goods. And as for granulated sugar, a bit of Googling leads me to believe that it's sold as "white sugar" in Australia. Caster sugar is a little different, because it has smaller grains. It's what we would call "superfine" sugar in the States.

I hope that helps at least a little!

10:48 AM, May 07, 2008  
Anonymous laura said...

"like oversized coat buttons"

What a great line...

11:34 AM, May 07, 2008  
Anonymous Diane said...

I was just looking for a new cookie recipe and this one looks excellent. I have all of the ingredients, so I'm going to make them now. Thanks for what looks like an amazing recipe. And I love your photographs!

11:15 AM, May 08, 2008  
Blogger Lizzie said...

Mmm, I definitely made these cookies today and am definitely glad I did. Thanks for posting the recipe; it was a perfect treat for me to bring to a friend's tea party!

8:00 PM, May 10, 2008  
Blogger amisha said...

i am loving your film photos so, so much.
and yes! one year for thank you notes :) i found some, mysteriously forgotten and tucked away in a drawer, addressed but not written on, 2 years after my wedding. so i think i get the worst bride prize. and e's handwriting is wonderful so neither of us had any excuse :) xo

10:39 PM, May 10, 2008  
Blogger Arien said...

those wonderful, wonderful cookies just brought so many childhood memories to me- it was really nice expirence to know, I've eaten something like them back them, and that- now, I can make them on my own. thank you, thank you, thank you :)
those made a lot of people happy :]

4:39 PM, May 14, 2008  
Blogger Pajau said...

I just made these cookies last night! They were scrumptious! The only difficulty I had was getting them to look small and buttony like yours :( I used a TBS but my cookies kept flattening out ... and they were too soft/delicate after cooling. Am I doing something wrong?

9:17 AM, May 16, 2008  
Blogger lucy. said...

i must make these. yum.
love your photos.

8:02 AM, May 18, 2008  
Blogger Missy Allets said...

Mornin' Molly,
I made these last night and it was oh-so-delish! I used mandarin peel in place of lemon, and it was a great twist ;)
But as Pajau mentioned, I had that problem too. Maybe I dropped them in too big a ball, they flattened and spread which (unfortunately) make them look less appealing that they really are deserved.
Yours, on the other hand, looked gorgeous. Oversized coat buttons indeed. Gotta love 'em little gems.

Thank you!
Oh, and on the topic of brides who never made it to send off the thank-yous.. look who's behind the line now.. *gee

8:24 PM, May 24, 2008  
Anonymous eva said...

Thank you for writing this post. We're 7 months married, and I have 10-15 notes still to write. I've been feeling very guilty and inadequate about the notes I have yet to write. Apparently I will need quantities of cookies and a half-gallon of milk to finish. I think I can handle that. :)

8:26 AM, May 27, 2008  
Blogger Emily said...

Thanks for pointing out this lovely recipe to everyone, Molly! I had planned to make them the past two weekends, but have been swamped with work. Luckily, I have a great boyfriend who decided to finally try his hand at baking and made them late last night! Well...he actually got bored halfway through and I finished them, but it's the thought that counts, right?
To the readers having problems with their cookies flattening out, my guess is that it's the size. My cookies that were half a Tbs in size ended up like over-sized button cookies, while anything a bit bigger tended to flatten out. Equally delicious, but not quite as aesthetically pleasing. Hope this helps some!

11:30 AM, May 27, 2008  
Anonymous Amy said...

These cookies looked so amazing I just had to bake them right away! They tasted delicious, but I had the same problem as some of the other posters... they spread out too much. I used a #100 scoop, which holds 3/8 oz. My oven thermometer is pretty accurate, so I'm thinking they needed a bit more flour.

4:40 PM, May 28, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oooh, i tried those cookies too and they were yummy but I'm so glad to know the tip about adding extra lemon zest. I bet they will be even better!
thanks.

2:06 PM, June 04, 2008  
Blogger Michelle said...

Oh, these absolutely deserved a shout. I made them as soon I got that issue and they were unbelievable! Unfortunately, I was the only one who thought so - others clamor for chocolate chips. But they're worth making for myself once in a while. And they are really, really good with lemonade.

4:21 PM, June 04, 2008  
Blogger chira said...

I made these this week! DELICIOUS and easy!
I plan to make them for my sister's baby shower too.

9:46 AM, June 11, 2008  
Blogger Maco Tye said...

Nice...

8:03 AM, June 13, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Had the buttermilk and it was past expiration date so I thought I better finally do these cookies. They are wonderful. Simple, refreshing and just right for a hot summer day when you do want a cookie. My old father will love these, his batch is ready to be delivered. Thanks for sharing and reminding me of Edna Lewis again, made me buy one of her cookbooks.

3:53 PM, July 21, 2008  
Anonymous rachel said...

For the people that had trouble with them spreading out, I would suggest chilling the dough before baking, or even chilling the cookie sheet with the unbaked cookies. I just did this as a precaution, after reading about some of the problems....turned out great. And yes, I know that this recipe is not traditionally Christmas material, but I like to throw one item into my gifts that's not full of chocolate and/or copious amounts of butter. But just one!

4:21 PM, December 22, 2008  
Anonymous MMulhern said...

These are SO delicious! I just finished your book (loved it and can't wait to try the zucchini noodles) and discovered your blog.

I made these cookies on a whim, for dinner with some in-laws, and the 4 kids and 4 adults devoured the entire batch. I will definitely be making these again!

I followed the recipe except I used bleached flour since that was all I had. Excellent!

6:09 PM, March 12, 2009  
Blogger Jennie said...

I realize this post is a year old, but I just wanted to say these were DELICIOUS! Wonderful little cakey bites of goodness! Thank you for posting a halved version of the recipe. I ate way too many and would have eaten many more if I'd baked up a whole batch! Yummy!

3:15 PM, September 03, 2009  
Anonymous casey said...

i'm currently craving all things lemon. i'm making these now. thanks for the great stories and recipe!

8:19 PM, June 13, 2010  
Blogger Lauren said...

in the quest for a cookie suitable for a summer pig roast, i selected this recipe. i substituted fresh lemon juice for the buttermilk/vanilla in the glaze for a tangier finish. and i won two awards--most creative, and best all-around. thanks for a zesty treat!

6:06 PM, June 12, 2011  

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