Downton Day

If you know me at all, you’re aware that I’m obsessed with all things British. I have a Jane Austen action figure (with writing desk and quill pen). I own corgis (the Queen’s dogs). I read British classics ad nauseam. And I love, love, love Downton Abbey, the wildly popular English period drama on PBS.

Today is a big day for Anglophiles like me. It’s the American premiere of season 6 of Downtown Abbey—and the final season, at that. This is my last chance to celebrate “Downton Day” properly. And by properly, I mean with good food and an hour glued to my TV, soaking in every moment of the Crawley’s misadventures.

Christian and I generally scoot our kids off to bed early on Sunday evenings with lectures about resting up for a busy week at school. This is completely bogus. The real reason we put them to bed is to get on with Downton as quickly as possible. (Yes, he watches it with me…though not with equal zeal.)

On premiere night every year, I make Bangers and Mash (or sausage and mashed potatoes to you and me). I first enjoyed this tasty British meal at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese in London (a bar that dates back to the 1600s and was a favorite haunt of the great Charles Dickens).

This year, in honor of the final Downton season premiere (sniff…sniff…), I’ve decided to add a “touch of class” to our dinner with one of my favorite desserts: Almond Lavender Cookies with Earl Grey Tea. These little beauties are very British, in my view. They are not too sweet, a tad bitter and perhaps a bit nutty. All good things.

I’ve been tinkering around with this recipe for a few years now, and I think I finally have it right. These cookies are gluten-free (if that matters to you) and reasonably healthy (if you can consider any cookie a health food). The recipe makes a small batch—only about a dozen cookies. We wouldn’t want to overindulge now, would we? OK, maybe we would, in which case the recipe is easily doubled.

You have about an hour before showtime for Downton…plenty of time to whip up a batch of these tasty cookies before the hound’s butt appears, that wonderful theme music fills your living room and the Dowager Countess begins doling out her snappy witticisms. I hope you enjoy the show—and the treats—as much as I will.

— Sarah

Almond Lavender Cookies with Earl Grey Tea

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 12–14 minutes

1 cup almond meal (reasonably priced at Trader Joe’s)
1 cup flax meal
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 bag Early Grey tea (it’s a little less than a tablespoon)
1 T. dried lavender
2 T. Truvia brown sugar blend (coconut sugar also works well)
¼ cup unsalted butter (room temp)
1 T. coconut oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 350. (I use the convection setting.)

  2. Line your baking sheet with parchment paper.

  3. Combine the dry ingredients in your mixer, then blend in the butter and coconut oil until smooth.

  4. Use a tablespoon to measure out the cookies. (They’ll be small…dainty!)

  5. Bake for 12–14 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned.

  6. Let the cookies cool for 20 minutes before you eat them all in a single sitting.

— Sarah

“Don’t be defeatist, dear. It’s very middle class.”

— Cousin Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham
Downton Abbey