My Holiday is Christmas

Photo courtesy of Derek Golden

This is a cookie recipe passed down from my paternal grandmother, Alma Golden. She passed away not long before Christmas 1999, but before she passed, she gave this recipe to my mother, Debra. My mother eventually gave it to me after many years of making these cookies at home. They're a little bit like madeleines with their soft, cakey texture, though variations are possible and are outlined below:

The original recipe:

Tea Cakes

Makes 12 - 18 cookies, depending on how big you like to make them

1 cup white sugar

1 cup room-temperature butter

1 large egg

2½ cups self-rising flour

Add the first three ingredients to a mixing bowl and beat with a hand-mixer until a little fluffy.

Stir in the flour one cup at a time until batter is formed.

Spoon out the batter onto a cookie sheet and bake at 375° for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on your desired level of crispness & color)


My mother suggests reducing the amount of flour to as low as 1½ cups if you want a thinner, crispier cookie. She has become quite renowned within her social circle back in Alabama for giving these out as Christmas presents, and she finds that her recipients often prefer her modified version.

Scone variation (pictured above)

By a happy accident, I discovered that this recipe can be further modified to be more like a scone. That version of the recipe is as follows:

1 cup raw sugar

1 cup room-temperature butter

2 large eggs

2½ cups all-purpose flour

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

Almond milk as needed (see instructions)

Follow the directions from the original recipe, but after adding the flour, if the dough is dry and not holding together, add almond milk a bit at a time and mix in until a cohesive dough has formed.

Continue as above, but increase baking time to 20 minutes (instead of 10-15).

Alma Golden

Dedicated to Alma Golden (1929 - 1999). We miss you, MawMaw.

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