I’ve talked about this before but it’s a story that means a lot to me so I’ll share it again. My great grandma lived just down the road, probably a mile or so from my grandparents so we were down at her house a lot. I’m sure that my memories aren’t 100% correct but I remember that she always had a plate of tea cakes on her table. They also had a side table with a bit bucket of water, cups and a dipper. They didn’t have running water in the house so they kept that bucket out for people to get a drink of water. I can remember that as soon as we walked into her house, I was wanting a tea cake. You know how kids are .. the parents are trying to make them be quiet and the old folks know exactly what they want. We called her “Maw” and she would always say .. Run get you a tea cake . . and I would.
She had one daughter still living and I asked her if she had the recipe and she said no. She said her mom made biscuits every morning and she thought she made extra biscuit dough, added some sugar to it and made a batch of tea cakes every day after breakfast.
I’ve tried so many recipes and none of them are exactly like I remember but heck . . I’m not even sure what I remember any more. I was looking at recipes recently and some said “Grandma’s Tea Cakes” and had butter flavor shortening. I don’t think that was around when my great grandma was baking tea cakes.
I found this recipe on Pinterest and wasn’t even able to track it back to the original post so I’m very sorry I can’t give credit to someone.
I made the recipe and they’re good but here are some things I will change next time.
- I’m going to leave out the vanilla. I think my great grandma’s tasted more like sweet biscuits and didn’t taste so much like cookies.
- Using the recipe above, the dough was way too soft. Many recipes call for refrigerating the dough for a while. I know my grandma didn’t do that because she didn’t have a fridge. I’m going to add at least an extra half cup of flour, maybe a cup and see what happens.
- I will roll them thicker and bake them longer.
I did use buttermilk. I never buy self rising flour. Here’s King Arthur’s instructions for making self rising flour from regular all purpose flour.
They’re good . . just not exactly as I remember them being.
I ended up with about 2-1/2 dozen cookies. Making them thicker will result in fewer cookies but I hope thicker will be more like what I remember.
They’re definitely good cookies . . one of my favorites!
It’s always sad when a family recipe is lost. My father used to talk about the wonderful tamales his grandmother made. She was German through and through, so we’re not exactly sure where she learned to make them, other than her family ran a boarding house, and maybe she learned from a boarder once. Anyway, there is no recipe to be found anywhere. I’d love to know how she made them. Recently one of my cousins was asked me if I had our Grandma’s recipe for peach cobbler. Her father loved it, and she would like to make it for him. While I have a lot of Grandma’s recipes, I don’t ever remember seeing that one…sigh.
My grandma would make me hot cocoa using unsweetened cocoa powder, sugar, water, and canned (evaporated) milk. To this day, I still like the taste of evaporated milk in recipes.
Tina in NJ says
My great grandmother died when I was 9 or so (actually, two great-grandmothers did). My grandfather’s mother always needed help finishing off some ice cream. Needless to say, she always had plenty of volunteers!
Melody Wathor says
My widowed great aunt lived next door to my grand parents. My grand parents had a small farm so next door was probably a 100 yards. My grand parents had 19 grand children, I am 3rd from the youngest. Aunt Ollie and Uncle Homer didn’t have any surviving children. Their only child died when he was a baby. Aunt Ollie kept tea cakes on hand when we were little. I didn’t know they were tea cakes I thought they were huge sugar cookies. We all loved them and whenever we visited my grand parents it guaranteed we visited Aunt Ollie as well. She was the sweetest.
My mother made a pie she called “Pineapple Squares” which was made in a shallow rectangular pan. The recipe is lost forever. She also made cake donuts on top of the stove in a black cast iron skillet, along with a few donut “holes” for us kids. I don’t have that recipe, either.
Thanks Judy for posting the self rising flour recipe. I just bought a 4 pound bag of it. Next time, I will just make my own. Thank you!
I get tea cakes every Christmas from a gentleman that works with my husband. They taste just like I remember my grandmother tasting. She passed away when I was probably 5. Strange what a child remember about there childhood and family members.
Did your Grandma perhaps use nutmeg? I make a tea cake pretty close to your recipe, but I add nutmeg, not really sure why.
Yes I do nutmeg also
Theresa Alsup says
My sister Jan was kind enough to collect and write down the family recipes. The only one missing that I loved, I think came from the side of an apple pie filling can…layers of flakey pastry with layers of apple filling, drizzled with a thin vanilla frosting. It was made in a sheet pan; I remember it disappeared really fast at family gatherings.
Susan R says
My great-grandmother also made a soft sugar cookie. No family member has the recipe. I remember her rolling them out on the kitchen table and cutting them with a drinking glass. They were soft and not too too sweet. I think maybe she sprinkled some sugar on top. Yours look a lot like them.