Southern Tea Cakes for Juneteenth

We were looking for something to make to celebrate Juneteenth, and found a recipe for Southern Tea Cakes to be the perfect thing. A wonderful butter cookie that is a tradition for the day.

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Southern Tea Cakes are a tradition in the South and, according to Etha Robinson, educator and founder of Mrs. Robinson’s Tea Cakes, they were often part of the celebration for Juneteenth – “A rustic approximation of the delicate pastries consumed in front parlors when white women entertained visitors”. The slaves made tea cakes with whatever ingredients they had, sometimes substituting molasses or lard.

This recipe is similar to a very old recipe for French Tea Cakes “Fours A The”, a type of Sable cookie. We made it using sugar that we grind to make superfine sugar. Using the brands listed in the recipe is key, because brands sometimes vary immensely. For more information on why we use these brands, check out our explanation on our page about eating better.

Southern Tea Cakes

Southern Tea Cakes
Southern Tea Cakes

How these Cookies Fit into our Plan to EAT BETTER:

While looking for the best ingredients to make the cookies, we discovered that many companies that care about quality also care about sustainability. This made a huge dent in our carbon footprint. We have listed the brands for some of the ingredients because ingredients are everything. These brands give superior results. If we are going to spend time making the cookies we want them to be the best. And by using brands like Horizon butter and Wholesome sugar we cut our carbon footprint (see: we cut our carbon footprint in half ) and are helping to control climate change.

Southern Tea Cakes


Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Refrigerate: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cookie, Juneteenth, southern tea cakes, tea cakes
Servings: 24
Calories: 89kcal
Author: Lisa LeCoump




  • Measure the flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl.
  • Using a food processor, grind the sugar to make it into superfine sugar. This will take about a minute.
  • Using a stand mixer with a paddle, soften the butter by beating it on medium for about a minute. Do not let the temperature of the butter exceed 68 degrees F.
  • Add the sugar to the butter and mix on medium for about a minute.
  • Add the egg and the vanilla and continue beating on medium for another minute.
  • Add the flour mixture and beat on low, stopping occationally and scraping down the sides. Beat just until mixed. Do not overwork the dough.
  • Gather the dough together and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 3 hours.
  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.
  • Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap to avoid adding flour. Roll it to 1/4 inch thick and then refrigerate the dough again until it is cool enough to handle. Use a round cookie cutter or drinking glass to cut perfect round cookies, cutting them close togeher so the dough does not need to be rerolled. Keep the dough cool and return it to the refiridgerator if it becomes too sticky to handle. Place each cookie on the baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each cookie for them to spread.
  • Bake at 325 degrees F. for about eight to ten minutes, just until they start to turn golden – don't over bake.
  • Remove the parchment paper to a cooling rack by carefully sliding the rack under the parchment.


Calories: 89kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 69mg | Potassium: 12mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Calcium: 3mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

This is one of the cookies we discovered while traveling in the States and recreated when we got back home. We researched the science and techniques behind the recipe and used tips from exceptional chefs. Then we used the best ingredients we could find to create this recipe. For more ideas, see our other posts about recipes inspired by travel.

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