I have chosen to create this page so I can direct people to it when they are mentioned on Facebook. It no longer amazes me that folks do not know about tea cakes. In this day of fancy cookies and all things chocolate, these cookies hearken back to an earlier time.
The tea cake is a very Southern thing. It is a “not so sweet” sugar cookie, though the texture is somewhere between the usual sugar cookie and a cake.
Our family has a long history with this Southern favorite. It hearkens back to the Great Depression. A simple cookie for harsh times. In our Fields family history “Who We Be” we tell some of the stories about teacakes from back in-the-day.
Below I’ve included Grandma Fields’ recipe. You will note it does not include butter and while it says shortening, Mom says it was usually lard. Without butter they do not have the richness we are used to in a cookie and honestly most find them too bland. I still make them on occasion for myself, “just to remember.”
After Grandma’s recipe is the one Mom used. This is the cookie that my nieces and nephews remember. An entire generation of our family grew up knowing this recipe.
The “2018” recipe is one that I threw together to make a quick batch. They are good, really good, just not Mom’s.
The last recipe is for Church Cookies. They are a tea cake that the Amish make, though they rarely if ever put the glaze on them. Usually if anything it just just a dusting of powdered sugar. They are called Church Cookies because they are the cookies made to give the children during their long church services. My Amish neighbors explained that they use these because they are not as sweet. If you give a child a sweet cookie, then they want a drink, then they need to pee, so these no-so-sweet cookies help address that problem. These store incredibly well for a longer time!
And finally I’ve included a audio clip of a Jerry Clower, noted Southern entertainer, telling a story from his youth that revolves around teacakes. Only those of us who know and love teacakes can truly appreciate his story!
To our family, teacakes remind us of times gone by, of simple things in todays complex world, of good times, of sad times and most importantly how much we love our family.