When was the last time you had a tea party? Before this weekend, I think the last time I had one was when I was about seven. My mom had given me a special tea set, a real porcelain one with a beautiful blue motif. I generally wasn’t a girly girl but that little tea set was something special and I loved it. This weekend a thoughtful friend sent a very special tea set to Caroline, perfect for her in every way. Clearly, we needed a tea party.

She was thrilled at the prospect of baking cookies for the occasion. It’s no secret that I adore butter cookies, shortbread, sables, and all of their relatives. I have been eyeing these for ages and they came instantly to mind as a perfect tea party treat. As it turns out, they were just the right thing for the occasion. Rich, buttery and with a tender crumb. They are, indeed, an ideal pairing for tea or coffee any day. Here’s to many more tea parties in the future.

  • Yield about 2 dozen cookies


  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water for egg wash


  • 01

    Sift the flours, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar with the egg yolks on medium-high speed until pale and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Add in the butter in four additions, waiting until each is incorporated before adding the next portion. With the mixture on low speed, add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated. Form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes or until well chilled.

  • 02

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out to ¼-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a parchment lined baking sheet and chill for 15 minutes in the freezer. Return the dough to the work surface. Cut into 2½-inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Use a paring knife to score the top of each dough round in a diamond pattern. Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash.

  • 03

    Bake the cookies, rotating halfway through the baking time, until the cookies are set and the tops are golden brown, 18-20 minutes total. Let cool briefly on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.