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Decorated Tea Cakes
These are not traditional sugar cookies, but a thicker, less sweet cookie suitable for icing and Christmas sprinkles. These beautiful and very tasty cookies are our family’s go-to recipe for any cut cookies—birthdays, Easter, Halloween, and showers. You can make them in advance and let the kids decorate them.


  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk, or ½ cup milk with 2 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • For decorating:
  • 2 boxes powdered sugar
  • 8 tsp milk
  • Food coloring
  • Sprinkles


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder together.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Dough will be soft and wet.
  4. On a floured surface, shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. Overnight is fine.
  5. Flour surface again and roll dough out until approximately a quarter-inch thick. Cut dough into desired shapes.
  6. Bake on a slightly greased sheet pan for 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies should have a slight light brown on edges. Transfer to a cookie rack for cooling.
For decorating:
  1. Add 8 tsp milk to 4 cups powdered sugar, and stir to combine.
  2. Separate sugar mix into 4 bowls and add food coloring to each bowl. Add a drop at a time until sugar mix reaches the desired color.
  3. Using a pastry brush, paint the cookies with the sugar mix. Sprinkle the cookies with decorations while the sugar mix is still wet, and place on foil or parchment to dry.

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