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Retro Southern Recipes – Tea Cakes (Cookies)

Retro Southern Recipes – Tea Cakes (Cookies)

My Southern heritage is a huge part of me but it isn’t one that I celebrate often in my everyday life. I know that I’ve changed from my childhood but I want to reconnect with my heritage. So many of my memories are rooted in food. Growing up, I spent tons of time with my Granny and Grandaddy and at church. What better way to celebrate them than visit the food that I remember enjoying with them. With everything from cookies to pies to soups, it was all delicious and very, very Southern.

The church I grew up attending was the same church that my mom and her siblings attended, Philadelphia United Methodist Church in Guin, Alabama. In the 1980s, they published a church community cookbook. Many of the recipes are ones that I’ve eaten over the years at church potlucks and dinners. Many were submitted by members of my extended family or close family friends. Together, we will take a trip down memory lane to experience these great retro Southern recipes!

These Southern tea cakes (also known as Southern Tea Cookies) are a classic recipe that’s a must in every family cookbook! Take a look at our rendition and how easy it is to whip-up.
These Southern tea cakes (also known as Southern Tea Cookies) are a classic recipe that’s a must in every family cookbook! Take a look at our rendition and how easy it is to whip-up.

Today’s recipe is for Tea Cakes. They were my Grandaddy’s favorite cookie. The recipe in the cookbook was submitted by their neighbor Inez Brown. I spent many childhood afternoons in her sunny kitchen with my grandparents. We stopped their on the way home from school to enjoy coffee and a chat. More often than not, we enjoyed Little Debbie snack cakes or Beebo cinnamon rolls but occasionally she would have tea cakes fresh from the oven.

Tea cakes are very similar to a sugar cookie. They are quick and easy to make and use ingredients you have in your pantry at any given time. Vary your baking time to give either a crisp cookie or a chewy cookie. As the name says, they go wonderfully with a cup of hot tea.

How to Make Southern Tea Cakes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Ingredients in bird's eye view in glass bowls

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.

Adding butter and sugar to a glass bowl
Adding butter and sugar to a glass bowl
Butter and sugar mixed together and creamed
Adding an egg to a creamed butter and sugar mixture
Wet ingredients to Southern tea cookies

Mix flour, soda and salt in a small bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix well.

Adding flour to wet ingredients to Southern tea cookies
Tea cookie dough coming to form in a glass bowl
Cookie dough for Southern tea cakes on parchment paper

Turn out on a lightly floured surface and roll to a 1/4 thick. Cut with a cookie cutter.

Rolled out cookie dough for Southern tea cookies being cut with a flower-shaped cookie cutter
Rolled out cookie dough for Southern tea cookies being cut with a flower-shaped cookie cutter
Tea cookies shaped as flowers gently placed on a lined cookie sheet, ready to be baked
Tea cookies shaped as flowers gently placed on a lined cookie sheet, ready to be baked
Tea cookies shaped as flowers gently placed on a lined cookie sheet, ready to be baked

Bake 5-7 minutes until puffed and just starting to brown around the edges. (Bake less for chewy and more for crispy.)

Newly baked tea cookies cooling on a black wire rack
These Southern tea cakes (also known as Southern Tea Cookies) are a classic recipe that’s a must in every family cookbook! Take a look at our rendition and how easy it is to whip-up.
Yield: 24 cookies

Retro Southern Recipes - Tea Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Total Time: 16 minutes

A simple and delicious cookie popular in the South. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Cream butter and sugar together. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
  3. Mix flour, soda and salt in a small bowl. Add to butter mixture and mix well.
  4. Turn out on a lightly floured surface and roll to a 1/4 thick. Cut with a cookie cutter.
  5. Bake 5-7 minutes until puffed and just starting to brown around the edges. (Bake less for chewy and more for crispy.)

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

24

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 102Saturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 111mgCarbohydrates: 15gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g
These Southern tea cakes (also known as Southern Tea Cookies) are a classic recipe that’s a must in every family cookbook! Take a look at our rendition and how easy it is to whip-up.

Taylor

Thursday 3rd of February 2022

Just made these and they turned out great!! I was craving something sweet and this really hit the spot. A great recipe for when you have limited ingredients too

Merry Kuchle

Friday 4th of February 2022

So glad you enjoyed them!

Tomorrow

Saturday 25th of March 2017

I love this recipe! The tea cakes were delicious and easy to make. My family and friends thought that I purchased them because it was my first time making them and they were so good! My husband want me to make them every other day!

Tomorrow

Saturday 25th of March 2017

I made these for my first time making tea cakes and they were delicious! My family and friends thought I purchased them! The recipe was easy to follow and quick to prepare!

Merry Kuchle

Saturday 25th of March 2017

So glad you enjoyed them!

Becky Bryan

Wednesday 11th of November 2015

My great-grandmother kept a drawer in her kitchen lined with a tea towel.It was always full of teacakes. All the neighborhood 'children',who were my grandmother's age , said they remembered enjoying them as much as I did . as much as I did.

Jenna Em

Saturday 10th of October 2015

This recipe reminds me of shortbread cookies! Do they taste anything like them? I have memories of my grandma always dunking a sweat treat into her tea.

Merry Kuchle

Saturday 10th of October 2015

They aren't crumbly like shortbread. Chewy like sugar cookies but a bit more so. They are hard to explain.

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