Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Tea Cakes to End All Tea Cakes

My grandma used to make the best tea cakes in the entire world.  Seriously.  Her tea cakes brought all the boys to the yard. We've always called them sugar cookies, but they're really thin, crispy tea cakes. I am one of the few in the family who can make her cookies exactly like she did. I've never, ever shared her recipe. Why?  Because it's Grandma's and it's sacred and it's been a family recipe since the beginning of time.  Okay, maybe not the very beginning, maybe just since man discovered fire. 

But the real reason I never shared it was because if I did then other people would be able to make Grandma's cookies - OH THE HORROR - and then I wouldn't be special anymore because I wouldn't be one of the elite few who could whip up a batch of the Most Holy and Divine Tea Cakes.

There's a myriad of reasons that made me think that my self-worth was based on a cookie recipe, but since we aren't on a psychiatrist's sofa, there's no need to probe. Let's just be content in the knowledge that I now realize that I can still be special even if I share my grandma's recipes.  In fact, I can be special because I share her recipes.  Plus, I know if she was still alive, she'd look at me and say, "Rachel Ann, you quit being a horse's behind". That's the kind of expletives Grandma used.  That and she always called my grandpa an old horny toad. What a complete potty mouth, huh? And my mother wonders where I get it. 

And now for the Most Holy and Divine Tea Cakes

¼ c. granulated sugar
½ c. powdered sugar
½ c. butter (softened)
½ c. oil
1 egg
½ t baking soda
½ t vanilla
½ t salt
½ t cream of tartar
2 c + 2 T flour

In a large bowl, cream sugars, butter and oil. Sift dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add egg to sugar mixture; beat until smooth; add dry ingredients.  Drop by spoonful onto ungreased baking sheet and flatten with bottom of a glass dipped in granulated sugar.  Bake at 350º for around 7 minutes.  Yield: Ummm...a bunch.  I think 4 1/2 or 5 dozen.  

When you're flattening them with the glass, you'll probably have to sugar the bottom of it a couple of times per cookie.  The cookies have to be so thin that you can see part of the bottom of the pan through them.  This is muy importante or your cookies won't be crispy. The dough is a little sticky, but if it's too sticky, you can put in the fridge or freezer until it firms up a bit.  

I've never had anyone who tried these that didn't lurve them.  Well, my daughter can't eat them anymore because when she was about 9 she decided to get into a cookie eating contest.  She lost.  

These are especially good paired with a bowl of homemade vanilla ice cream.  Or just a glass of milk.  Or a cup of hot tea. Or just by themselves in the middle of the night. 

Be happy,


  1. Mmmhhh! Looks yummy!
    I have to try that!
    I'm a big cookie maker myself, I think I will have to share my grandma cookie recipe soon!

  2. They're really good. In fact, they're probably my favorite cookie. I think because they're so light that I can fool myself into thinking that I really didn't just eat 8 cookies. :D

  3. This is a precious gift you're sharing with us- I'll try them!

  4. Thank you for recognizing that. :)