Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tea Cakes

I’ve been on a Tea Cake baking spree for the last couple of days.  I don’t know about the rest of the US, but here in the South making Tea Cakes is a long held family tradition.  There are many variations in recipes - some use cinnamon or nutmeg, some use confectioners sugar, some are simply flavored with vanilla.    

Now my husband and I are at totally opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to Tea Cakes…we have greatly differing opinions on what the flavor and texture should be. 

He grew up eating the Tea Cakes made by his Grandmother.  She rolls them out super thin and bakes them until the edges are lightly browned.  The texture of the outside edges is very crispy, just perfect for dipping in tea, with just a slightly bit softer cookie center.  Her cookies are not very sweet.

For both batches of Tea Cakes, I used my largest size biscuit cutter.  The cookies are approximately 3” in size.

(Tea Cakes like his Grandmother makes)

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On the other hand, I was raised eating my Grandmother’s Tea Cakes.  She would roll them out and cut them with a glass.  Her Tea Cakes were thicker, but  delicate, cookies with more of a cake-like texture inside.  The entire cookie was soft, much sweeter and subtly flavored with vanilla.

(Tea Cakes like my Grandmother made)

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I’m including two recipe variations for Tea Cakes.  The first recipe produces a thin, crispy cookie like my husband’s Grandmother makes. 

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

2 t vanilla

3 eggs

4 cups flour

1 t baking soda

2 t cream of tartar

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy.  Add the eggs, beating well after each addition.  Add the vanilla.  Sift the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar together, then add them to the eggs/sugar.  Roll the dough about 1/8-1/4” thick and cut with either a biscuit or cookie cutter.  Place the cookies on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.  This makes approximately 5 dozen 3” cookies.

This recipe makes soft, cake-like cookies like my Grandmother baked.  The instructions are basically the same as above.

1 c butter

1 1/2 c sugar

3 eggs

3 1/2 c flour

1 t vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Add in the flour and vanilla, mixing well.  Roll the dough 1/4” thick and cut.  Place on a greased sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  Cool on wire racks.  This makes approximately 2 dozen 3” cookies.

Two recipes, similar ingredients and instructions…yet two totally different Tea Cakes.  Which do you prefer…thin and crispy or soft and delicately flavored?

tea cake collage

I’m joining Miz Helen for Full Plate Thursday.

Thanks for stopping by! 

DG

3 comments:

Brenda said...

Oh, I would love some tea cakes with my tea right now. I didn't know exactly what tea cakes were, I thought they were more like small muffins. Now I know! I love learning about regional food. I'll take one of each!

xinex said...

I'll take either one of them. Mmmm, yum! I also love your silver tea set. Please stop by, Kim. I finally posted about the award you gave me. Thanks again...Christine

Miz Helen said...

Hi DG,
What a beautiful Tea Table and beautiful hand painted plates. I love Tea Cakes and your recipe looks very good. I am very excited to see you here today and thank you for coming to Full Plate Thursday to share with us. Please come back!