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Tea Cakes

Old Fashioned Tea Cakes (Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs)

Old-Fashioned Tea Cakes or Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs. This recipe is versatile in that you can make big round sugar cookies (perfect with just a sprinkling of sugar) or cut-out cookies that take well to frosting. For cut-outs, you'll need to roll the dough in a generous amount of flour.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 24
Author Cookie Madness


  • 1/2 cup 114 grams unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup 96 grams shortening (or use butter)
  • 2 cups sugar 400 grams
  • 2 tbs buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour plus more if needed (500 grams flour)**
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract I used Nielsen Massey vanilla paste and a hint of Adam's butter flavoring
  • Coarse or Sparkling Sugar for sprinkling


  • With an electric mixer, beat butter until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add buttermilk, and beat well. Combine flour, soda and salt; gradually stir into creamed mixture. Stir in vanilla. Chill dough several hours or overnight.
  • Roll dough to 1/4" thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut into rounds with a 3 1/2" cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on lightly greased cookie sheet; sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 400° for 7-8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove cookies to wire rack and let cool completely. This will give you big, round cookies that spread slightly and are sweet enough to serve just with sugar.
  • For cut-out cookies, divide the dough into three sections so that it is easier to work with. Roll each section out individually (keeping remaining sections refrigerated) on a VERY well floured surface. You can roll anywhere between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Bake time should be about 8 minutes at 400.


This is 3 1/2 heavy handed (5 oz/140 grams each) cups. For best results you should weigh it.
The yield will vary depending on how big you make the cookies. If you really do use a large cutter (around 3 1/2 inches across) you'll get about 2 dozen cookies.