“Southern is a pitcher of lemonade, filled with sliced lemon and a big piece of ice from the ice house, and served with buttermilk cookies.”

-Edna Lewis, from the essay, What Is Southern?



While reading Kim Severson’s confessional autobiography, Spoon Fed: How Eight Cooks Saved My Life, I came upon the inspirational quote above. It’s pretty much as hot as Tennessee in this country currently, so it seems perfectly reasonable to allow ourselves to enjoy the same treats as they do. For a good recipe for how to make lemonade, follow this link. And the recipe for these fluffy, cakey, citrusy, nutty little parcels of delight is given below.


Recipe for nutty, lemony, buttermilk cookies

Makes about twenty


  • 190g/1½ cups plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g/¾ cup golden caster sugar
  • 100g/3 oz butter – room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • zest of two lemons
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 120 ml/½ cup buttermilk – which you can easily make (use one of the lemons – go here for how to make buttermilk)
  • 95g/¾ cup icing sugar
  • 2 tbps chopped hazelnuts or walnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Line a large baking tray with silicone paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy, and then add the golden caster sugar.
  4. Add the egg and half a tsp of vanilla paste, beat in.
  5. Add a little of the flour, the bicarbonate of soda and the salt, beat in. Add about half of 80ml/⅓ cup of buttermilk. Mix well. Then a bit more flour, then the rest of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour. Mix well.
  6. Add most of the lemon zest (leave enough for garnishing each cooking), beat in.
  7. Drop tablespoons of the cookie mixture, well spaced, onto the baking tray. Bake for about 12 minutes. Take out of the oven and cool on a rack.
  8. Meanwhile mix the icing sugar, 2 tbsps of buttermilk, another half teaspoon of vanilla paste and the rest of the lemon zest. Spoon over the still warm cookies. Sprinkle over the nuts, and Voilá!



buttermilk cookie recipe