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Catholic Recipe: Rich Tea Cookies


  • 1 pound soft butter or margarine
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract


Yield: 7 dozen

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Difficulty: • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:11+

Origin: England


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Feasts (1)

Because we sing about good king Wenceslas at Christmas time, it's difficult to associate him with his name day — September 28!

Farmers and vineyard owners should pay special attention to Wenceslas. This brave and pious man, actually a king of Bohemia in the tenth century, had such great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament that he considered it a privilege to raise wheat and grapes for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The many stories about his goodness and industry appealed to a nineteenth-century musician and writer, who immortalized him in song. Wenceslas was slain by his pagan brother at the door of his chapel. His last words were to ask God's mercy for his brother.

In England it is customary to have open house in honor of Wenceslas and to serve tea-like refreshments.

NOTE: This recipe is not a typical English rich tea biscuit/cookie but more like a shortbread. Please see this article for more information about the traditional English rich tea biscuit.


Cream butter. Add flour, sugar, cornstarch, and flavoring slowly while continuing to cream. Divide into 4 portions. Wrap each portion in foil. Chill thoroughly. Shape into 1-inch balls, working quickly with 1 portion at a time, keeping other portions in the refrigerator. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten with floured tines of fork. Bake at 325° for about 18 to 20 minutes until lightly browned. Makes about 7 dozen.

NOTE: Amount of cornstarch is correct!

Recipe Source: Cook's Blessings, The by Demetria Taylor, Random House, New York, 1965