Tea Cakes

December 24, 2009

An angel with an attitude - me!

They don’t look like much. At least, mine don’t. For some reason, my cookie dough sticks to whatever I roll it out on no matter how much flour I add (ever so sparingly). If I manage to maneuver each work of art onto the cookie sheet, my Christmas tree shapes look like Charlie Brown’s latest find and my stars are already in nova.  But they taste good. And I suppose that’s what counts, although it’s a bit embarrassing to have to participate in a cookie exchange or take them out to a dessert fest.

I don’t know how “tea cakes” got their name. They taste just as good with milk or coffee, and they are certainly not cakes. But it’s tradition to call them that. The recipe that I have came from my grandmother. I’ve scribbled it into a printed cookbook just so I’ll know where to find it. No matter what they look like when they lay on the cookie sheet or how swollen and pitiful they turn out after baking, they disappear quickly.

I don’t like them frosted. I think they’re my favorites because they’re plain, uncomplicated. They remind me of my childhood, when Mom let us help her cut out gingerbread shapes and decorate them with red hots and colored sugar. It’s one of those sweet, simple memories that’s a gift every time it floats to the surface. They’re sweet nostalgia that melts in your mouth.

Here’s the recipe.  I hope they’ll make delicious memories for you, too. Merry Christmas!

Tea Cakes (This is a double recipe)

2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
8 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients. It will be too stiff for a mixer. Add vanilla. Mix well. Don’t use more flour than necessary. Roll to 1/4 inch thick. Cut. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Enjoy!


One Response to “Tea Cakes”

  1. Johanna Fenton Says:

    Jenny, I am a huge fan of this photo of you! Thanks for posting.

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