Food Southern-Style Tea Cakes
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With the rising cost of food, I've been looking for more economical recipes to add to my repertoire. As a result, I've found myself going back to my Southern roots, to comforting recipes that made use of just a few, simple ingredients.
Old-fashioned tea cakes are a nostalgic cake-like cookie that will immediately transport you to your grandmother's kitchen. There’s nothing at all fancy in this recipe, as it was created when people made do with the little they had on hand. And what I love about tea cakes is that they can produce a high yield of cookies, depending on what size you make them, so plenty to share!
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What Are Tea Cakes?
Well, they're not actually cakes. Southern Tea Cakes are an old-fashioned classic, buttery sugar cookie that is as well-loved as any cookie in the south. They are more like a cookie, but with a pared-down ingredient list that results in a simple flavor that are the ideal accompaniment for a cup of tea or coffee.
The history of old fashioned tea cake cookies is a little hard to pin down, but it most likely originated in the rural South where rations were meager and pantries were rarely stocked with more than the basics—if that. Don't be surprised if you find these cookies to be a tad on the boring side. They're not meant to be as flavorful as the decadent and highly flavored cookies we're accustomed to. But this makes them no less delicious. If you want to dress up this recipe, feel free to add cinnamon, nutmeg, or even lemon zest; but, before you do, try the recipe in its most traditional form as outlined below.
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Old-Fashioned Southern Tea Cakes
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup shortening (you can also use lard)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large bowl using a hand mixer, or using a stand mixer, cream together the butter and shortening until creamy.
- Gradually add in sugar into the butter/shortening, until well combined.
- Next, add in egg, beating well after the addition.
- Mix in vanilla.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk.
- Turn dough onto a smooth surface and knead until dough is soft.
- Shape into a disk and cover with plastic wrap.
- Chill the dough in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Remove dough from fridge and knead to soften it.
- Roll dough out in between two sheets of wax or parchment paper (to prevent sticking) until it's about 1/4-inch thick (this width gives the tea cakes a “cake-y” interior texture).
- Use a round cookie cutter to cut out circle shapes.
- Place cookies on prepared pan about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until bottoms are lightly golden (the cookies remain a pale color even when done).
- Remove from pan and place on cooling rack to finish cooling.
- Once cooled store in airtight container.
- To prevent the tea cakes from spreading while baking, make sure the dough is still quite cold as you roll and cut it. Then put the tea cakes directly into the oven to bake. Keep any extra dough covered in the refrigerator until needed.
Southern-Style Tea Cakes .
Southern Tea Cakes are an old-fashioned classic, buttery sugar cookie that is as well-loved as any cookie in the south. They are more like a cookie, but with a pared-down ingredient list that results in a simple flavor that are the ideal accompaniment for a cup of tea or coffee.The history of old fashioned tea cake cookies is a little hard to pin down, but it most likely originated in the rural South where rations were meager and pantries were rarely stocked with more than the basics—if that. Don't be surprised if you find these cookies to be a tad on the boring side.