I can’t tell you how much fun the field trip for TLBP was for me! It was way too hot to be out tramping through the woods in late July. But my wonderful husband was my path-breaker and photographer. I spent a lot of time just soaking up the ambiance of the place. I like to add physical details into my stories. Like how the deep woods smelled. How the rough bark logs of the buildings felt. How the ground sloped. And having a historical society rebuild the actual fort accurately was amazing! I got to go into the little cabins and imagine living there two hundred years ago.
The novel will be released in the fall. Hope you enjoy it! Here’s a recipe from that time period that my great-grandma Clora used to make. She called them Tea Cakes. But nowadays, we’d call them a type of sugar cookie. Hope you try them out.
Granny’s Tea Cakes
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened at room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups of granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 4 cups of all-purpose flour
- Pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1 heaping teaspoon of baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- Additional granulated sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy, add the eggs, one at a time; add vanilla. Whisk together the flour, nutmeg, baking soda and salt and add to the butter and sugar mixture 1/2 cup at a time, until each addition is fully incorporated. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently press into a ball. At this point you can chill the dough to make it more easy to work with. But Granny didn’t have that luxury, she just went to the next step.
Sprinkle top lightly with additional flour. Roll dough to somewhere between 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick, rotating and turning dough and using additional flour as needed until dough is no longer sticky. Cut out rounds using a floured, 2-inch cutter. Transfer the cookie rounds to greased cookie sheets, spaced 1-1/2 inches apart; cookies will spread some as they bake. Gently gather scraps together and re-roll for additional cookies.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of cutting them out, you can just roll a tablespoon of dough into a little ball. That works too.
Bake one tray at a time at 350 degrees F on the middle rack of the oven, for about 10 to 12 minutes, or just until cookie begins to look dry on the surface, and very lightly tinged with color on the edges. Remove from oven, sprinkle immediately and generously with granulated sugar and let rest on sheet for about 3 minutes; then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Sometimes Granny would add cinnamon or a tsp of grated citrus peel to the dough. This recipe is very easily changed to suit your family’s tastes. These little tea cakes are nothing fancy, but were a tea time staple during the regency era. LNF, Grace