Southern Tea Cake Cookies

The Ultimate Guide to Baking Southern Tea Cake Cookies

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Southern tea cake cookies evoke memories of warmth, comfort, and tradition. These delectable treats have been passed down through generations, each family adding its own twist to the recipe. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the art of baking Southern tea cake cookies from scratch. From the essential ingredients to step-by-step instructions, and even variations for keto and low-carb diets, you’ll find everything you need to create these delightful cookies in your own kitchen.


  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease it.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda until well combined. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  4. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until fully incorporated.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until a smooth dough forms.
  6. Roll the dough into small balls, about 1 inch in diameter, and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving some space between each cookie.
  7. Flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are lightly golden brown.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Once cooled, enjoy these delicious Southern tea cake cookies with a cup of your favorite tea or coffee.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • For a softer texture, slightly underbake the cookies, removing them from the oven when they are just set but still pale in color.
  • You can add a hint of citrus by incorporating lemon or orange zest into the dough.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with cinnamon sugar before baking for an extra touch of flavor.
  • Experiment with different extracts such as almond or coconut for unique flavor profiles.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Can I use salted butter instead of unsalted butter? A: While you can use salted butter, it’s best to stick with unsalted butter to control the saltiness of the cookies.

Q: Can I freeze the cookie dough? A: Yes, you can freeze the cookie dough for up to three months. Simply shape the dough into balls, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze until firm. Once frozen, transfer the dough balls to a freezer-safe bag or container.

Q: How do I store the baked cookies? A: Store the baked cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week. You can also freeze the baked cookies for longer storage, thawing them at room temperature before serving.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions

For those following a keto or low-carb diet, you can make a few simple substitutions to create a version of Southern tea cake cookies that fits your dietary needs:

  • Replace the all-purpose flour with almond flour or coconut flour.
  • Use a sugar substitute such as erythritol or stevia in place of granulated sugar.
  • Opt for grass-fed butter or coconut oil instead of regular butter.
  • Adjust the baking time as almond flour tends to brown faster than all-purpose flour.

With these substitutions, you can enjoy the same delicious flavor of Southern tea cake cookies while staying within your dietary restrictions.

Baking Southern tea cake cookies is a timeless tradition that brings joy to any occasion. With this comprehensive guide, you have all the tools you need to create these classic treats in your own kitchen. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or experiment with variations, these cookies are sure to delight your taste buds and warm your heart with every bite. So gather your ingredients, preheat your oven, and get ready to experience the magic of Southern tea cake cookies for yourself.

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