My parents’ first apartment was in a lovely old home in Monticello, Georgia, owned by the town librarian, Miss Mary Murrelle. When my folks built their first house, it was just down the street and “Mamie,” as we called Miss Mary, had become a lifelong friend. She made the best teacakes, which were soft and had a cakelike texture. My mom, sister, and I have collected recipes for years trying to replicate that teacake. These come close! Just make sure you don’t overwork the dough. The less you work the dough, the lighter and fluffier the cookie.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease 2 large (14 × 16-inch) cookie sheets with solid shortening.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, combine the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Add the sour cream and mix well. On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture until well blended. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, and pat with floured hands to a ¼-inch thickness. Cut with a 2-inch round, floured cookie cutter and place on cookie sheets about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the teacakes are lightly browned. Do not overbake. Using an egg turner, remove the cookies to a rack to cool.
The dough is sticky, but be careful about adding too much extra flour when shaping the teacakes. By using care, patience, and a floured egg turner when patting and cutting, you will be rewarded with tasty, tender teacakes.