Cookies. Who doesn’t love cookies? Filled, rolled, bar or drop cookies, like these Lemon Meltaways, there’s something for everyone in The Southern Cookie Book by the editors of Southern Living magazine. The recipes have a distinct southern flair that incorporate popular southern flavors and ingredients, including pecans, citrus and even grits. Yes! Grits in a cookie, well, gritscotti, grits + biscotti. Warm up the oven because with more than 100 recipes to choose from, it will be difficult to decide which to make first.
You know the recipes have to be good when they are from a trusted source like the iconic magazine, Southern Living. The magazine was first published in 1966 and is now the largest regional lifestyle publication in the United States. Whether you’re looking for traditional favorites or something new there are dozens of treats.
Is your preference a chewy cookie? Molasses-spice crinkles, chunky cherry-double chip cookies or brownie cookies would be a good choice. If a crispy cookie is more your style then crunchy lace cookies or crispy praline cookies fit the bill. Almond snowballs and lemon meltaways have a delicate, melt in your mouth texture. I made the lemon meltaways and, if you like distinct lemon flavor, they are even better the next day. While the lemon does get more intense as time passes, this is not a tart cookie. Unlike Mexican wedding cookies or Russian tea cookies, these lemon delights do not need a second dusting of powdered sugar.
Looking for a cookie to dunk? Try the chewy coffee-toffee shortbread, ultimate chocolate chip cookies or the dark chocolate espresso shortbread. Many of the cookie recipes freeze well, like the date pinwheels. Then there are the cookies that do double duty. Need a breakfast on the go? Try the oatmeal pecan snack cookies. The inclusion of dried cherries and the use of reduced fat ingredients make this a nutritious choice with your morning coffee or tea.
Despite the title, the deliciousness doesn’t stop with cookies. There is a chapter devoted entirely to confections. Many of these recipes include those traditional Southern ingredients mentioned above plus bourbon and sorghum. The most quintessential of Southern treats, Southern pralines, is well represented with a recipe for not only for traditional pralines but also chocolate-dipped praline pretzels and praline pecans. Other truly Southern confections include potato candy, divinity, cola candy and Mississippi mud medallions.
The cookie recipes in The Southern Cookie Book are suitable for a variety of skill levels. Drop cookies are the simplest while the rolled and cut-out varieties can be more challenging. Even if you’re not a baker, the cream-filled chocolate chip wafers just require you to make the filling and sandwich between two store-bought chocolate wafers. Peanut butter-caramel candy bites start with a package of refrigerated cookie dough. The peppermint sandwich cookies are probably the easiest recipe in the book. They are made with ready-to-spread frosting plus other convenience items and would look very pretty on a holiday cookie tray, just like the lemon meltaways.
As the Southern Living editors say, “These sugar-dusted beauties are as pretty arranged on a tray for a springtime baby shower as they are piled in a pyramid on a cake stand for a snowy cookie tree at Christmas.” Back to school cookies, anyone?
- ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1½ cups powdered sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon loosely packed lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- Parchment paper
- Beat butter at medium speed with a heavy-duty electric stand mixer until creamy. Add ½ cup powdered sugar; beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir in zest and juice. Whisk together flour and next 2 ingredients. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed just until blended. Cover and chill 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Drop dough by level spoonfuls 2 inches apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, using a 1-inch cookie scoop.
- Bake, in batches, at 350°F for 13 minutes or until lightly browned around edges. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes.
- Toss together warm cookies and remaining 1 cup powdered sugar in a small bowl. Transfer to wire racks, and cool completely (about 15 minutes).
- Makes about 3½ dozen
Editor’s note: This recipe is printed courtesy of the publisher. The author of this review received a complimentary copy of the cookbook, The Southern Cookie Book. No other compensation was received from the publisher. Links to the cookbook are affiliate links.
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