Ma Browder’s tea cakes

in true Southern style, simple and delicious…

Just baked, and slightly cooled, the tea cakes are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.

The flavor takes me back to the late 1970s. I can vividly remember Rosemary baking tea cakes, and I graciously thank her family for sharing the recipe.

As with many old recipes, the ingredient list is simple and the mixing/baking instructions are often missing.

My ingredient comments are added in ( ).

Tea Cakes


  • 2 cups sugar (14 oz) (Domino prue cane granulated )
  • 2 sticks butter (8 oz) (unsalted butter, Land of Lakes)
  • 2 eggs (large brown)
  • 3 cups flour (13 1/2 oz) (1 cup White Lily self rising and 2 cups White Lily all purpose)
  • (1/8 teaspoon Kosher salt – my addition)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Stir together sugar and softened butter
  2. Stir in slightly beaten eggs, one at a time
  3. Sift the flour; then add salt to flour
  4. Add flour/salt to sugar/butter/egg mixture, one cup at a time
  5. Using #100 scoop (slightly less than 1 teaspoon), drop tea cake dough onto parchment lined baking sheet
  6. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 11 minutes (my oven; yours may vary)
  7. (tea cakes will rise, then begin to fall at about 10 minutes baking time)
  8. Remove from oven and cool 2 minutes on cookie sheet; transfer to wire rack to cool
  9. Tea cakes become crunchy on the outside as they cool


I used a wooden spoon and then my hands to completely mix in the flour.

The tea cakes I baked on a buttered iron skillet were much more ‘rustic’ in appearance. They were crunchy inside and out, and equally delicious.

Recipe as shared with me:

Ma Browder’s Tea Cakes:
Cream together 2 cups of sugar and 2 sticks of butter. Add 2 eggs, 1 tsp of vanilla, and 3 cups of flour. Bake until just browned around the edges. She couldn’t remember the temperature exactly, but it was somewhere between 350-400 degrees.

Moka Pot


finally… success using the Moka Pot


ready for the next brew

rinse with warm water; don’t wash away the oils accumulating inside the pot (think cast iron skillet care in the coffee world)

Mom’s Gingersnaps

mix the dough (and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight – if you have time- to blend the  flavors)

shape into balls and roll in sugar

just baked gingersnaps – I shared these with my family…..

all except the last 3…

Gingersnap Cookies


  • 3/4 cup crisco shortening
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed to measure
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cups (Martha White) self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves


  1. Sift brown sugar over crisco.  Mix well with a wooden spoon or electric mixer
  2. Add egg to sugar/crisco mixture
  3. Add molasses to sugar/crisco/egg mixture
  4. Sift flour, soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and stir until well combined
  6. Cover dough and refrigerate overnight
  7. The next day, remove dough from refrigerator about an hour prior to baking cookies
  8. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  9. Use a #50 scoop and form balls of dough
  10. Roll cookie dough balls in granulated sugar to coat
  11. Place on parchment lined baking sheet (don’t flatten the round cookie dough balls)
  12. {Bake approximately 10 minutes, watching closely.}  After about 5 minutes baking, the cookies will puff.  After about 7-8 total minutes baking, the cookies should fall and crack
  13. Remove from oven between 8-10 minutes baking time.
  14. Cool on wire rack.  Store in covered container at room temperature


Mom’s cookbook notes dated August 10, 1945

I found this today

folded inside an old cookbook.

It’s written on lined notebook paper

with a #2 pencil.  I recognize my Mom’s handwriting.

She would have been 14 years old at the time this was written—

tune: Row Row Your Boat

  • Rows, Rows, Rows of jars
  • On the pantry shelf
  • They’ll keep us fit
  • They’ll do our bit
  • We can them all ourself
  • Can Can all you can
  • Can Can all you can
  • For the winter you must plan
  • You must be happy and sing
  • As you turn each ring
  • Be sure you screw each ring tight
  • So it will keep through the night
  • Fill each jar with car
  • For the fruit can easily bare
  • When winter is drawing near
  • You won’t have to worry when it gets here
  • You can eat and eat all you can
  • Then put away your pots and pans

(I’m not sure about a few of the words, but the point of the song is clear-can the fruit, etc. Prepare for winter….)


Swans Down Cake Flour biscuits

I found some old cookbooks today

The recipe was marked with a #2 pencil ‘x,’ whatever that meant. I hope it meant ‘this is a keeper.’

Slathered with apple butter—the little biscuits were delicious

Swans Down Cake Flour Biscuits


  • 120 grams Swans Down Cake flour (1c.)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 30 grams frozen crisco (2 1/2 T)
  • 1/4 c sweet milk


  1. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl
  2. Cut in crisco with pastry blender
  3. Add sweet milk and stir with fork; continue to stir until dough forms ball and clears side of bowl
  4. Gently form into 1/2″ thick round; cut with biscuit cutters
  5. Bake on ungreased iron skillet 10-12 minutes at 450 degrees