Southern Tea Cake Cookies


Embracing Tradition with Southern Tea Cake Cookies

In the heart of Southern baking traditions lies a sweet, simple delight that has charmed generations: the Southern Tea Cake Cookie. This beloved treat, with its soft, tender texture and comforting taste, serves as a timeless link to the past, evoking memories of family gatherings and kitchen warmth. The recipe we explore today offers a perfect blend of simplicity and delectable sweetness, making it a staple for both everyday indulgence and special occasions.


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


Begin by preheating your oven to 350°F (175°C), a moderate temperature that allows these cookies to bake gently, acquiring a perfectly golden edge without losing their moist interior. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper to ensure that each cookie can be removed easily after baking.

In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk these dry ingredients together to distribute them evenly, setting the stage for a uniform cookie dough. In a separate, larger bowl, cream the unsalted butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. This process is crucial as it incorporates air into the butter, ensuring that your tea cakes are light in texture.

To this creamy mixture, add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Stir in the vanilla extract, which provides a subtle, aromatic flavor that complements the richness of the butter. The dry ingredients are then added gradually, alternated with splashes of buttermilk. This alternating method helps to maintain a balance in the dough’s consistency, preventing it from becoming too stiff or too liquid.

Once your dough is ready, drop it by tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing them adequately to allow for slight spreading. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until you notice the edges turning a delicate golden brown. This short baking time ensures that the cookies remain soft in the center, with just enough structure on the outside.

After baking, let the cookies cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes. This resting period helps them set properly before they are transferred to a wire rack, where they can cool completely.

These Southern Tea Cake Cookies are wonderfully versatile. Serve them plain, or embellish with a dusting of powdered sugar, a light glaze, or even a dollop of your favorite jam to add a personal touch. Whether enjoyed alongside a cup of tea or as a treat for your next family gathering, these cookies offer a delicious nod to Southern culinary heritage, promising comfort and joy in every bite.

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