Grandma’s Chocolate Mud Pie Cookies or Vanilla Tea Cakes Recipe

When I was a child, I along with my siblings and cousins loved a cookie my Grandmother made called Mud Pies.  Her daughters named the cookies that because they thought they looked just like the mud pies that they made when playing outdoors.  One of my cousins mentioned on Facebook that she wishes she had this recipe to make for her own grandchildren.  I knew I once had it so I thought I would try to find it for her.  I decided to post it here so any of my extended family can access it easily.

Grandma P's Cookie Cutter
The recipe was actually placed in a 1979 Church cookbook by my mother.  I knew the Grandma’s basic recipe was called Tea Cakes so I looked for that.  To my pleasure, I found the recipe with notes I took from my Grandma about converting the recipe to make the chocolate version she called Mud Pies.  When she gave me the notes, she told me tablespoons for chocolate part so the first batch I made was so bitter I ended up tossing them.  When I told her about it, she laughed and said “Oh did it sound like tablespoon, it should be level teaspoons.”  Below is the basic vanilla recipe with Grandma’s prep notes, followed by notes to make the chocolate version correctly, and how to make the basic recipe into Grandma’s “company coming” and/or “bake sale” fancy version with fruit.

Helpful Hints: 

·         When my mother made the cookies, she made them small circles so that we did not eat them all up in a day.  When Grandma made them, hers were usually larger than our child-size hand.  Both women used cookie cutters for fancy shapes (Grandma’s was a metal 3” flower shape like the one pictured) and different sizes of drinking glasses to make round cookies.  Whether using cookie cutter or glass, each had a small hill of flour outside the rolling area to roll the edges in to keep dough from sticking to what they were using to cut with.
·        The recipe calls for a dough board, but my Mom just placed two long pieces of wax paper overlapping the sides on her table to put flour on to roll out dough.

Basic Tea Cakes

Dough Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup Crisco
2 cups flour
½ cup sweet milk
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:
1. Grease cookie sheet(s).
2. Mix dough.
3a. (optional) This dough can be used immediately to make drop cookies. However, you need to pat the drops down flat with floured fingers.
3b. Or to make cookie-cutter cookies, chill dough for 1 hour.  Roll dough out on floured dough board with chilled floured roller.  Then cut-out cookies with cookie cutter.
4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes per sheet.

Mud Pies

Add the following ingredients to the basic tea cake dough recipe:
¼ cup flour
6 level teaspoons cocoa

Fancy Fruit Tea Cakes
 
1. Make and bake basic tea cake cookie cutter recipe.  When tea cakes are taken out of oven, immediately make a small valley in the middle using the back of a small spoon or melon baller.
2. After cookies cool, place fruit preserves in the valley. 

Notes: 

·        My Grandma used her homemade apricot or peach preserves in a flower-shaped cookie but I remember for Christmas she used red strawberry preserves. 
·        I think a heart-shaped cookie with red preserves would be cute for valentines, wedding showers, or anniversary parties.

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