A Cooking Book and Tea Cake-Cookies

01 May

During my Guernville visit I read At Home on the Range by Margaret Yardley Potter. It’s a cookbook that falls somewhere between the old style cookery books with vague instructions and the modern cookbooks with well-established recipe rules, and has a very chatty, friendly, no-nonsense tone. It also has lots of organ meats! But I wasn’t reading it the way I do modern cookbooks (i.e. looking at pictures, looking for dinner), so it didn’t matter to me that there were hardly any recipes I would actual make. It was just fun reading about how much the author loved food. I recommend this book if you enjoy food history and are interested in a glimpse back to the victuals of the 1920-1950s and don’t mind some memoir with your recipes.

At the back of the book, the author’s granddaughter (and editor of the re-edition) lists a few of the recipes written in modern cookbook style with some additional family lore. One of the recipes was for Quick Tea Cookies, which I had wanted to make even before getting to the easy-to-read version.

On the one hand it’s a useful recipe to have in your kit. It’s a very quick one-bowl recipe that makes 8-12 cookies, and only requires a fork to mix it (no need to get your electric mixer out). The original spices are cinnamon, nutmeg, and optionally caraway but you can easily change the whole nature of the cookie by using other flavors or adding dried fruit or nuts. I even made a version with masa harina flour that was pretty okay (although a little dry).

On the other hand, it’s very cake-y (as the recipe warns) and not very sweet, and seems more related to certain scones than the platonic ideal of “cookie.” So it might be disappointing to those craving a cookie moment.

Here’s the butter-less (but still eggy) version I made last night to accompany watching the last two episodes of Game of Thrones Season 2. I know some people really don’t like coconut, but I the oil here gives the cookies a nice tenderness and a richness of flavor that I really like.

Quick Tea Cake-Cookies

Look at the sugar sparkle!

Tea Cake-Cookies

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon oil (olive, grape seed, vegetable, or etc)
1 egg
1/2 cup flour
cinnamon, ginger, and cloves to taste
some sugar for dipping

In a medium bowl cream together the sugar and oils with a fork. Beat in the egg, then incorporate the flour and spices.

Roll the dough into 8-12 small cookies. Dip the top of each cookie in a little sugar and place on a greased try.

Bake at 425°F for 8 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and enjoy as soon as they won’t burn your tongue. They are best eaten immediately, but will keep for a day or two.

As a final note, as an experiment I made a version with acorn starch and one with garbanzo flour and they were awful! The acorn one was horribly dry and bitter, and the garbanzo version was oddly savory. There was something almost meaty about it, and the caraway seeds only added to the weird sausage vibe. On a positive note, the garbonzo cookies had a really nice texture. I think the garbanzo flour could work well in corn bread or dumplings or some other savory application. The rest of the acorn starch I will make into acorn jelly for dinner some hot evening.

Acorn and Garbanzo cookies

So pretty, but so gross! The light colored ones are garbanzo, the dark colored ones are acorn.

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Posted by on May 1, 2013 in cooking, food


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