Say hello to my sister Emily! When she told me about the Culinary World Tour project she was doing with my niece, Madison, I thought it was about the coolest thing ever! Emily is a super busy, working, single mom (getting married next January!), so if she can cook these recipes, so can you! First stop, Tennessee Tea Cakes. YUM!
I am a cooking fanatic. I love to experiment with different food styles in the kitchen, often resulting in a pile of dirty dishes in the sink, a mess of ingredients scattered across the counter, and a very happy belly! One of my hopes as a mother was to share this love of food and cooking with my daughter, Madison. I dreamed of sharing my grandmother’s spaghetti sauce recipe, or the crepe recipe I learned from my mom, or basically anything from the late great Julia Childs (love her!).
And then I realized that my child is the pickiest eater. Ever. No matter how many delicious entrees I presented her with, she simply refused to try them. I tried everything. Literally, everything. I tried being patient, I tried applauding when she agreed just to TOUCH the food, I tried leaving her at the table until she finished it (only to find that her will was stronger than mine)… You name it, I tried it. And yet… day after day, meal after meal, I got shot down. Eventually I gave up for a while – all that rejection was hurting my pride!
With the arrival of summer, I decided it was time to tackle the picky eater problem again. This meant I needed to get creative. So I decided to take my daughter on a Culinary World Tour. I first told her of far away places where the people speak different languages, and they eat different foods, listen to different music. That seemed to pique the interest of my little learner who is always in search of new bits of trivia to share with her friends.
“How would you like to visit and learn about all those amazing places without ever having to leave our kitchen?!” I asked, fingers crossed. “YES!” she screamed…. Oh thank you baby Jesus. We have a win. From there, I presented her with a notebook which would serve as her Culinary World Tour Passport and journal. Each day, we would pick a place (starting with the United States), learn some interesting facts about it and cook a recipe that is considered a local treat. In order to receive a stamp in the passport, she would need to do one thing: TRY at least 1 bite of each of the foods we made. She agreed to the terms (we shook on it… that’s a binding contract in this house). And the very next day we embarked on our Culinary World Tour!
First Stop: Tennessee
Here we learned about and made Tennessee Tea Cakes. We started our little excursion by researching the location on the internet and finding fun facts about the local cuisine and culture. We learned that Tennesse Tea Cakes were created as a result of food rationing during the Civil War. To celebrate a birthday, instead of making a birthday cake, they had to make smaller versions (imagine trying to share a cupcake with your family!). Madison wrote about the place in her food passport/journal, and we threw on our aprons to start baking! But not before we put on a little Tennessee music to fit the theme: Madison. Meet Elvis. Someday I’ll tell you about how I was in love with him when I was 8… or maybe I’ll leave that part out.
Our first excursion was a tremendous success! Madison (and I) LOVED the Tennessee Tea Cakes! We’ll definitely be making them again! Next stop on our Culinary World Tour: New York!
Lemon Honey-Almond Tea Cakes
- 1 2/3 cups confectioners’ sugar plus additional for dusting
- ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup almond flour or finely ground almonds
- 6 large egg whites
- 13 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Grease a 12 cup muffin tin; set aside. In a bowl, combine the sugar, all purpose flour, and almond flour.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Slowly whisk in the sugar mixture.
- Whisk in the melted butter, the honey, lemon zest and lemon juice.
- Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until dark golden around the edges and firm to the touch.
- Immediately remove the cakes from the muffin tin and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Dust cakes with additional confectioners’ sugar (oops, we couldn’t wait to try them so we skipped that step!) just before serving.
Makes 12 mini cakes
This recipe was found in The Deen Brothers Recipes from the Road Cookbook
Follow Emily Around the World and at Home: