Week 10 of Dave Raymond’s American History course covers “Liberty or Death: The Declaration of Independence”. In the American Colonies people tried to fight tyranny any way they could. Sometimes that included throwing a tea party and serving Tea Party Cookies.
Although many don’t realize it, one of the main reasons the American Revolution began was because of food. Due to heavy British taxation on staples like tea and sugar, the American colonies had to choose whether to pay through the nose for their ingredients or learn how to go without. By the 1770s the colonies had had enough, and the fight for freedom had truly begun. The Boston Tea Party was a message for King George that the Americans were through with British oppression and a rally for the colonies to stand up and fight against injustice.
The ladies of Edenton, North Carolina, heard the patriot’s cry and decided to do something about it. Fifty-one women gathered in the home of townswoman Elizabeth King and declared “We the Ladys of Edenton do hereby solemnly engage not to conform to the pernicious practice of drinking tea.” To celebrate their small revolt against tyranny the ladies then threw a tea party. (They drank only raspberry leaf tea, which they could make themselves, of course). Penelope Barker, the lady who organized the gathering, served wafter-like cookies at the party. I am sure all the ladies enjoyed them, as they are the perfect pairing to a cup of tea. This recipe is from her cookbook, with slight changes made to accommodate quantity and modern ingredients.
Tea Party Cookies
- 2 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 6 tbsp. butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- 2 small eggs
- In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a large bowl cream together butter and vanilla, then add sugar. Cream together then add eggs one at a time. Beat mixture for 1-2 minutes until light and frothy.
- Pour the flour mixture into the egg mixture and stir until flour is completely mixed in. The dough should be soft but not sticky. If it seems too wet, add more flour a tablespoon or so at a time until the right consistency. Wrap the dough in wax paper and let chill in the fridge for 2+ hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and grease 2 large baking sheets. On a lightly floured surface roll out dough to 1/8” and cut out cookies using a round cookie cutter. Place 1” apart on baking sheet and bake 7-9 minutes. (If you want softer cookies, bake 7-9 minutes, until the edges are just browned. If you want them to be more like British crackers, bake 9-12 minutes until very light brown.)