Southern Lace Cookies

Southern Lace Cookies are what Southern nanas have always made entirely by hand—with a lace or crochet tablecloth or doily on the top and bottom and a rolling pin (rolling as thin as a wafer or thick like a sugar cookie or shortbread)—cutting out the butter cookie dough with a large ruffled, flower petal or other cookie cutter and baking in a screaming hot oven until crisp.

Combing through the recipes of my matriarchs and learning so much…. Creating this cookbook is cathartic; I’ve learned the real beauty of American cuisine exists in the Deep South.

EVERY Southern grandma has lace or crochet tablecloths and doilies—no exceptions. And don’t get me started on the fact that many of those nanas made the intricate lace tablecloths by hand!

We call things by different names, but it’s the same difference. My mother, a published cookbook author, has taken meticulous notes of our family’s recipes; I love this for us and you.

Our new cookbook is coming soon.

Nana's Time-Honored Recipe, Revered During the Holiday Season, Adorned with Intricate Patterns and Distinctive Flavors

In a world where culinary traditions are revered, few delicacies can capture the essence of cherished family gatherings quite like Southern Lace Cookies. Originating from the heartland of Southern cuisine, these treats embody a rich tapestry of flavors, craftsmanship, and a touch of southern grace that transports one to a bygone era.

Nana's legacy lives on, as these Southern Lace Cookies continue to captivate hearts and palates alike. With each delicate bite, one is transported to a simpler era, where the art of slow cooking and baking and the celebration of heritage were revered.

Crafted by my mother, these cookies transcend the realm of mere confections – they are delicate works of art, infused with patterns reminiscent of handcrafted lace and crochet tablecloths that have graced family heirlooms for ages. Each bite carries within it a tale of yesteryear, woven into the very fabric of these edible masterpieces.

But what distinguishes these Southern Lace Cookies from their traditional counterparts? The answer lies in the hand-selected ingredients, thoughtfully sourced from the abundant Southern culinary landscape. It all starts with a special grade of rich butter. This premium butter imparts a distinct depth of flavor to the cookies – a testament to the devotion and passion of the artisans who curate them.

And then, there is the vanilla – a pivotal ingredient that propels these cookies into the realm of epicurean mastery. Paying homage to the Southern tradition of infusing flavors with a bespoke touch, the vanilla used in these cookies is artfully concocted by steeping it in aged light rum. This meticulous infusion process imbues the cookies with a subtle yet captivating warmth and sophistication, elevating them to a level of irresistible decadence that is singular in its opulence.

Lace-making in the Southern United States boasts a rich history that intertwines European influences with local traditions. Introduced by French and Spanish settlers, the craft flourished in states like Louisiana and the Carolinas, becoming a symbol of status and refinement in the colonial and antebellum periods. It's crucial to acknowledge that much of the lace-making labor was performed by enslaved African-Americans, whose skills and craftsmanship were central to the industry. Post-Civil War, lace-making saw a revival as Southern women and communities turned to traditional crafts for economic sustenance. The Southern textile industry, burgeoning with the Industrial Revolution, produced both everyday fabrics and fine lace, with handmade lace often celebrated for its unique designs and superior craftsmanship. The finest Southern lace gained national and international recognition, becoming a prized export that showcased the region's cultural and artistic heritage.

Lace tablecloths, doilies and dresses have long been integral to Southern culture, symbolizing hospitality, elegance and the art of Southern living. These intricately crafted items were cherished family heirlooms, passed down through generations. Lace dresses, particularly wedding gowns, epitomized grace and sophistication, often depicted in literature and art. Today, while much of the textile industry has become commercialized, the tradition of lace-making endures. African-American artisans, in particular, continue to create delicate lace pieces, celebrated in festivals, workshops and guilds. Their craftsmanship not only preserves the art but also highlights the significant contributions of African-Americans throughout history. Coveted lace products made by these artisans are exported globally, ensuring that the legacy of Southern lace-making remains an enduring and evolving part of the region's cultural tapestry.