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Tea Cakes and the bus lady

I love making a new recipe.  Don't get me wrong, I love my standard recipes, the ones I can do in my sleep, or write down for a friend, like I did for Sarah yesterday, without even looking at my original recipe.  But I love trying something new any day of the week.  I never get scared of new recipes.  Ever.  I have friends that have a morbid fear of trying something new in the kitchen.  I don't get it.  I mean, what's the worst that can happen?  So that new cookie you want to try comes out bad?  It's not the end of the world.  And in my house, it all usually gets eaten anyway.

So this morning, the twins' bus lady said to me, as I was sitting on our porch bench with my coffee, seeing the twins off, "I wish I was doing what you're doing today!"  She obviously has no idea what I actually have to do today, which is clean house, catch up the laundry, bake 40 baseball/bat cookies for my amazing photographer friend, Ashley over at, and feed a gazillion teenage football players this afternoon at the high school.  I told her, "I actually am really busy today, the usual, and making some cookies!"  To which she replied, "You bake?"  Do I bake?  Is the Pope Catholic?  Do eskimos like ice?  Really?

I told her, yes I bake, while trying not to laugh.  And what did she do?  She asked me if I make tea cakes.  Don't laugh at me, but even though I am a fondant cake, decorated cookie girl, and after all the confidence in my simple statement, "Yes I bake", I had to say no.  Can you believe it?  She stumped me.  So of course I came in the house and immediately googled it.  I found that a tea cake is a cookie that is very "cakey" in the middle, sort of a butter/sugar cookie combo, with buttermilk in the recipe.  It is obviously a southern bred cookie,, and extremely popular.  So then of course I called my mother.  The women in my family come from a long line of very, very southern belles, and I just knew it would make me feel better to hear her say she had never had them either.

"Oh yes honey, they are fantasic.  Very cakey in the middle.  Nana used to make them."

How do I not remember these cookies?  I remember EVERYTHING.  Just ask my mother.

  So I added one more thing to my to do list today and set out to make them.  I am totally a glutton for punishment.  Besides some laundry can wait a day right?  It's not like it's the end of the world... :)

I really didn't like any of the recipes I found online.   I wanted to have baking powder and baking soda in them, but also buttermilk, so I just took the basics, and made up my own recipe.

I really, really like this cookie.  It is a cakier, less sweet version of a sugar cookie.  As soon as I tasted them, it was so familiar and comforting, and I knew I had enjoyed these cookies before, in my Nana's kitchen.  Tomorrow it will be 16 years since she passed, and I know she's in heaven looking down and saying, "Finally Jenni you've made a tea cake!" :)  I feel like Nana sent me a little message through that bus lady, letting me know she's watching over me and has a few things to teach me still.

So they pass the Jennifer test.  Now they just have to pass the bus lady's test.  We will find out tomorrow morning what she thinks.  Wish me luck!!!


Update:  I gave the tea cakes to her this morning, and she was so excited she hugged my neck!  I asked her to let me know if they were good and she said she could already tell by looking at them.  She just made my weekend :)


  1. Made me laugh and cry again, as you always do... Wish I was there to have a hot cup of tea and a tea cake with you... Mom


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