Tea cookies a family favorite

  • Tue Feb 7th, 2012 9:06am
  • Life

By Judyrae Kruse Herald Columnist

It might well be more the never-forgotten, always remembered delicious remembrance, the comfy loving setting or circumstances surrounding a special something than the actual taste or flavor of those moments.

In any case, it went right to our Forum hearts when Dorothy Trethewy of Snohomish recently told us she would love to have a family recipe for old-fashioned tea cakes if Forum cooks could share one.

“My great-grandmother,” she explained, “always had the blue cookie jar full of these not-too-sweet, crisp cookies.”

Now, though, regrettably and sadly, she adds, “Unfortunately, she never shared her ‘secret’ recipe with anyone, leaving behind just the memories.”

Snohomish cook, gardener and faithful recipe-finder Michael Koznek brings us back to these cookies today and writes, “Here is another possibility for a tea cake for Dorothy Trethewy.

“Simple and tasty, but you must watch them closely to avoid over-baking these thin cookies. After the first pan, decide if you want to turn down the oven temperature.”

And now, Michael asks questions that have certainly been keeping my curiosity perking and maybe yours, too: “Could Dorothy provide any more hints to these cookies?

“Where did her great-grandmother live or grow up?

“Where did her great-grandmother’s family come from — England, Germany, Norway?

“Were these a drop cookie, a rolled cookie, sliced or formed?

“Rolled in nuts or powdered sugar?”

Good questions, especially the where-from part, and now for a recipe Michael says he found in a 1956 edition of “Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book.”

The recipe, by the way, notes: “An old French recipe, ‘Petits Gateaux Tailles,’ translates as ‘little cakes cut off.’

“When brought to Scotland and England, it was changed to ‘petticoat tails’.”

Petticoat tails

1cup butter, softened

1cup sifted powdered sugar

1teaspoon flavoring (vanilla, almond, wintergreen or rose)

21/2cups sifted flour

1/4teaspoon salt

In a mixing bowl, beat together the butter, powdered sugar and flavoring. Sift together and stir in the flour and salt. Press and mold into a long, smooth roll about 2 inches in diameter.

Wrap in waxed paper and chill until stiff.

With a thin, sharp knife, cut in thin slices 1/8-inch thick. Place slices a little apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees 8 to 10 minutes, watching closely.

Makes about 6 dozen, 2-inch cookies.

Note: Add a few drops of red food coloring with the rose flavoring for a pink party. Add a few drops green food coloring with the wintergreen flavoring for a green party.

Send your contributions and requests, to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206. All letters and e-mail must include a name, complete address with ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to kruse@heraldnet.com.

The next Forum will appear in Friday’s comics pages.