Monday, March 22, 2010

A Request

I received my first request to post a recipe from The Red Plate, from a long ago friend. She asked for a special cookie recipe, that truthfully isn't a cookie at all, but rather a Tea Cake. These special treats are wonderful with a cup of rich coffee or conversely, a delicate cup of tea.
My friend and I were brought up in a tiny community that truly had some of the best cooks and most genteel folks I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. Simplicity was the general rule for everyday fare and this recipe is evidence of how ordinary ingredients can be made into something so memorable as to elicit a request for a taste of the past. This recipe is my maternal grandmother's recipe, used hundreds of times by her and treasured by all of us. For you Billie.

Ma's Tea Cakes

1 cup butter (room temp)
1-1/2 to 2 cups sugar (I use the sweeter choice)
3 eggs
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup buttermilk (adjust amount slightly if necessary)

I use a stand mixer for most things and this is a place where it's very handy. First blend together the butter and sugar, until light colored. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each addition. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add baking soda to the buttermilk and stir. Add half the flour/baking powder to the creamed mixture and mix on slow speed. Add all the buttermilk/baking soda and mix. Lastly, add the remaining flour. Mix well, but do not over mix.

 I must digress for an aside comment: My youngest grandson was on hand today for the baking. We had a wonderful time in the kitchen mixing and rolling these Tea Cake's. I told him how his Great, Great Grandmother had used this recipe and I (and my little brother) had enjoyed these when I was just a little one, too. More importantly, he's now using the same words from a page of The Red Plate to create a taste of his family heritage. He loved helping and hearing about, Ma.

Scoop dollops of the dough into your hand and roll into a ball. Place onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for about 20 - 25 minutes or until they begin to brown slightly. Remove, cool on a rack and store in an airtight container.
These are great to give as a neighborly surprise to friends. They always bring a smile.

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