This year, as I tried to find a gift for my Mother In Law’s birthday she would actually like, I thought about how much she loves sweets. Since she is no longer able to stand long periods of time to bake, I purchased a copy of The Cookie Bible and told her if she returned it to me with 12 recipes marked, I would make her one batch of cookies each month for the next year. She chose a classic sugar cookie recipe for her first month. When I began mixing the batter, I discovered I didn’t like the taste. It wasn’t flavorful enough for me. I adjusted the recipe and changed some ingredients, prompting my son to say, “Aren’t you changing this recipe around a lot?” Short answer: Yes. The result was this delightful tea cakes recipe, just like my aunts and grandmothers used to make. This recipe reminds me of lazy afternoons spent in a porch swing, sipping a cold soft drink and nibbling on cookies.
Southern Tea Cakes Recipe
I enhanced the flavor of my recipe by adding almond and vanilla extract. I know this seems like a lot of extracts, but I found the taste was just right after baking. You can always adapt the recipe to your taste and add fewer amounts of extracts if you like. Tip: These can be made into soft and chewy cookies or hard and crunchy cookies by adjusting the baking time. The only difference you’ll need to adapt this to a gluten free recipe is to swap the flour for Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour. I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour because it is easy to find in my area.
If you are looking for an easy treat to keep on hand for unexpected bake sales, events, or guests. Make the dough, wrap it tightly in an airtight container, and freeze it for up to 2 months. Before baking, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw for 30 minutes to an hour before baking.
- 1 cup (8 ounces) sugar
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, unwrapped and softened (don't substitute margarine! Your cookies will spread!)
- 1 egg
- 1 to 2 tablespoons vanilla, depending on taste
- 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon almond extract, depending on taste
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour or gluten-free all-purpose baking flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup additional sugar to sprinkle on cookies, optional
- Beat sugar and butter until well mixed. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract. Blend the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Stir together flour and baking soda. Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, blending well after each addition.
- Divide dough in half. Shape the dough into two rolls. Wrap the rolls in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator for about 1½ hours or in the freezer for 30 minutes until chilled.
- Unwrap the dough and slice the dough into ¼ inch slices.
- Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 5-7 minutes for soft cookies or 9-11 minutes for firm cookies. Remove cookies from oven and sprinkle with additional sugar if desired. Allow to cool completely.
What are your favorite cookie recipes that remind you of your childhood?