Watching my grandmother (MoMo) make Teacakes is one of my most cherished childhood memories. Â And I loved getting the spoon to lick, (or sometimes the bowl!) while the aroma of the cookies baking filled the kitchen. Â (Nowadays cake mixes carry warnings about not eating raw dough. Â Really? )
Since MoMoÂ didn’t need a recipe for Teacakes, all that remains is what I can remember. Â BelowÂ is the recipe I use for my own grandchildren or for anyone needing serious comfort food. Â It’s a combination of other traditional recipes and what I remember.
Flour was always siftedÂ to make it lighter and more uniform. Â Also it had no preservatives, and therefore could haveÂ weevil larvae and other undesirables (preservative-free enthusiasts, take note). Since sheÂ churned her own butter, she added a little salt. Â Flavorings were purchased from the “Watkins Man.” Â Â (Watkins is still the best vanilla, in my mind.) Â Electricity Â wasn’t available in our part of the country until after her death, Â so she relied on an icebox for the most perishable items; milk not being among them. Â Cows were milked every morning to provide milk for the day. Â Cream was skimmed for churning into butterÂ and excess milk was “soured” for cooking.
4 cups white flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup sour milk (or buttermilk)
1/2 pound soft butter
Pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 teaspoon flavoring; vanilla, lemon or almond
Using Â a wooden spoon, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Â In another bowl mix the sifted flour, baking soda, and baking powder and add to creamed butter in thirds. Then add eggs, milk and flavoring. Â Mix until a soft dough forms.
Roll out dough on a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into shapes and bake in a moderate oven (350 deg) until light brown, about 10 minutes. Dust with sugar and let cool. Â This recipe Â will make about 2 dozen “cake-like” cookies. Â They are best when one or two days old, served with cold milk.