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Elegant Eating from Downton Abbey: Gentlemen Cookies

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In many episodes of Downton Abbey, you will often see the gentlemen escape either the day or the dining room after dinner and head into the library. There they will enjoy a libation (Cognac, whiskey or brandy) and either conduct some business or banter about the masculine things in life. Often times there will be a platter of cookies in the library and those cookies were known as Gentlemen Cookies. They achieved their name due to the fact they were only served to the males of the era and they contained hard alcohol (brandy in this case).

It should be pointed out that there is actually a lot of brandy in these cookies, so rather obviously you would not want to present them to either children or guests who may have an alcohol related illness. They are a very simple cookie to make and take very little time. If you are not a fan of brandy, you can also use Cognac or whiskey (bourbon).

For more on the food of Downton Abbey, visit the free Facebook page called The Food of Downton Abbey!

Ingredients needed to make Gentlemen Cookies aka Brandy Cookies (makes about 24):

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbs. flour


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon sheet.
  2. In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, vanilla, egg and brandy until smooth.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and flour.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the butter and beat until you have a light dough (almost a batter).
  5. Using a cookie scoop or a tablespoon, drop portions of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. These cookies will spread a little.
  6. Place into the oven and bake 12 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan 5 minutes.
  8. Remove from the pan and let cool on a wire rack.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.



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