This month at MENA Cooking Club, we’re stepping outside of the usual and sharing with you a traditional cookie recipe from our family. Growing up one of the only few cookie recipes we used to, ever make was tea cakes. Tea cakes have a long and strong history, all throughout the South and from what I’ve seen we also make them look a bit different too. For example, in the southeast (where I’m from) tea cakes are a bit fluffy and not flat, but I’ve seen in areas like Louisiana they make them thin and flat. They all taste about the same, though, so it shouldn’t matter too much.
Growing up, my cousin and I would slave away in the kitchen during the holidays filling up the tins we collected all year with tea cakes to give away for gifts, it was always so much fun and we loved giving them to our loved ones. You can see from the ingredients, these are just simple and very basic cookies, that was the point at the time since a lot of people didn’t have much or fancy ingredients that we have now days. And if I ever teach you all anything about Southerners it’s that we love traditions, we save and pass everything down. Yes, these may be pretty plain to some people, but to us they taste great and remind us of our loved ones.
The recipe for tea cakes is thought to have arrived in America in the 1700s when the English settled in the Deep South. Where I’m from we all have Irish-Scottish roots, though, so maybe it was made there too. Funny enough these cookies have the name tea in them, probably taken from the fancier versions at the times from wealthy plantation owners, but I’ve never known anyone to ever serve them with anything other than lemonade, it’s the traditional way.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 stick of butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. In a large mixing bowl, add sugar, egg and butter. With a hand mixer, mix until well combined. Add, baking soda, baking powder and vanilla, mix. Add flour and then buttermilk, mix. Wrap dough and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F. On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough and with a lightly floured glass cut cookies 1/4 inch thick.
3. On a nonstick baking mat add cookies an inch apart and cook for 10 minutes.
Yields: 1-1/2 dozen
*Okay, so I had my post already to go as you see, and was waiting on my oven to be fixed so I could bake and then take pictures of my cookies. However, the guy said the oven computer is tore up so it looks like I may just have to get a new oven. It takes a few days to deliver after the order, but as soon as it gets here I will put my pictures up.