Warm up on wintry days with old-fashioned Southern teacakes. Good as perfect Christmas and New Year’s Eve holiday desserts, they are easy to make and great for any occasion. If soft melt-in-your-mouth cookies are your forte, then you should try these.
Where did teacakes come from?
Cookies referred to as teacakes (because they were served with tea) are known to have originated in Britain. However, my Old-Fashioned Teacakes recipe was inspired by a lifetime of Southern family teacake baking.
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I discovered a recipe on a sheet of paper in my dad’s handwriting in the cookie section of one of my mother’s oldest cookbooks. The history of this cake-like cookie goes way back to my dad’s mom. I’d always look on her table every time I visited to see if there were any teacakes in the big glass jar. They would either have white or pink icing, and every bite tasted wonderful.
Years later after MaMa had passed, the family couldn’t find her recipe. My mother eventually came up with a teacake that tasted close to what she remembered MaMa making. They were so good that she began to use them as a fundraiser for the building program at the church my dad was the pastor of. The cookies became known in the community as Nana’s Teacakes.
The recipe for my Old-Fashioned Teacakes is quick to make. I love to divide the dough into two or three sections for adding various flavors. I got that idea from Mother’s well-loved Nana’s Teacakes that came in three flavors – vanilla, lemon, and almond. Be creative and try out different extracts.
I’ve made multiple teacake recipes, and they all seem to have their differences. For instance, the temperature of the oven, amount of sugar or flour, or flavor may vary.
Mexican, Danish, and Italian wedding cookies are made differently than the Southern style tea cookies I made for my cousin’s daughter’s wedding reception. She had requested that family members bring a favorite family dessert dish instead of a gift. It was the coolest idea, and the dessert table was filled with all types of mouth-watering sweets. I brought old-fashioned Southern teacakes. The recipe I used results in a cookie texture that reminds me of how I recall my grandmother’s tasting like.
Unlike my family’s old-fashioned southern teacakes, typical “wedding cookies” are made with nuts and powdered sugar.
Here’s a photo of the wedding teacakes I made:
Old-Fashioned Teacake Recipe
My dad’s handwritten recipe (I’m sure Mother called out the ingredients as he wrote them down) is very good. But I tend to change things up many times when I’m cooking or baking – mainly because of the lack of a particular ingredient on hand. His recipe called for shortening. Mine is made with coconut oil. Also, his recipe only called for almond extract. Check out the recipe below for the details.
Southern-style Old-Fashioned Teacakes
- 1-3.4 cup Bisquick baking mix
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1.4 cup Coconut oil
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 tsp Almond extract
- 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
Heat oven to 300°.
Mix all ingredients to a stiff dough.
Beat the dough with a whisk until the dough holds together.
Roll into small balls.
Cover cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Put the dough balls onto the cookie sheets.
Flatten the balls with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped into flour.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
If baking two flavors, separate the dough into two sections. You would add 1/4 tsp vanilla extract with the other ingredients. Then add 1/4 tsp other flavored extract such as almond, lemon, etc., to each dough section.
Serve the yummy old-fashioned Southern tea cookies with herbal hot tea for a relaxing break from the hustle-bustle holiday rush or your every-day busy schedule.
Scones make a tasty combination with tea as well (orange or orange cranberry are my favs). Check out PattyCakesPantry’s Orange Cranberry Scone recipe.
Teacakes are good, no matter how the recipe differs, in my opinion. However, this is one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever made for the delicious soft cookies. Give them as holiday gifts. Friends and family will enjoy receiving them (less baking for them). Like chocolate? See Kitchen Southern Hospitality’s Chocolate Dump Cake, another super easy recipe that’s a good holiday or every-day dessert.