Five o’clock Tea Cookies

tea cookies

It is well known that British people adore tea. By some researches they drink unbelievable 165 million cups of tea each day, so it is not surprise that somewhere in 17th Century they invented five o’clock tea custom. A fascination with this hot drink in United Kingdom started much earlier, with just a few bags of expensive tea leaves imported from China, which only aristocracy and upper class citizens could enjoy. They drank it usually in the coffee houses in the afternoon hours, talking about most important matters of the country. A few decades later citizens could also afford just a tiny amount of the tea leaves and enjoy this great beverage with their friends on some special occasions, like weddings and birthdays, and while the origin of the tea cookies is still passionately debated, the modern practice of serving cookies with the afternoon tea was precisely there and then invented.

I don’t know when exactly my tea cookies recipe was invented – but the original five o’clock tea cookies recipe required larger amount of margarine, so I think that it could have been put together somewhere when the margarine came to our market, like some 100 years ago. I know that my granny love to wait for their grandchildren to help her make them together, so there were bears and flowers tea cookies in the summer, and snowmen and snowflakes tea cookies in the winter (of course, many of these cookies had to be explained what they are when on the table, since we were not all artistically gifted :)).


All in all, these walnut cookies are easy to make, you just cannot go wrong with them. I’ve done these tea cookies successfully with margarine, but also with the regular butter and vegan butter as well. Each cookie variation is interesting, so it’s up to you, which fat you’ll use.

Also, you can substitute walnuts with some other nuts; I’ve tried the half walnut half hazelnut variation, and it tasted just splendid – I think that even those British gentlemen from the story above would appreciate it ;)

Five o’clock Tea Cookies Recipe:



Five o’clock Tea Cookies
  • 125 grams / 4.4 ounces walnuts
  • 375 grams / 13.2 ounces flour
  • 125 grams / 4.4 ounces sugar
  • 250 grams / 8.8 ounces butter or margarine (at room temperature)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • two to three tablespoon milk
  • nut grinder
  • spatula
  • electric mixer
  • two mixing bowls
  • precise kitchen scale
  • two cookie sheets
  • parchment paper
  1. When you decide to make these walnut cookies, first thing you should do is to take the butter / margarine out of the freezer – it should be at a room temperature when you start with the dough preparation.
  2. Take the walnuts and grind them in a nut grinder (if you don’t have this grinding machine, blender or food processor can also crush nuts very well – but be careful not to overdo it).
  3. Cream the butter / margarine with sugar. If you use an electric mixer, mix just for two, three minutes – over mixing will make these cookies too fluffy and airy.
  4. Add egg and mix for a few more seconds.
  5. Put the dry ingredients into another bowl and stir the ingredients with the spatula. Add this mixture gradually to the butter, carefully mixing with spatula, then continue to form a dough ball with your hands, adding a few tablespoons of milk until the dough become perfectly smooth. Set it aside for 15 to 20 minutes. Until that time turn the oven on to 200°C / 390°F and line two sheets with the parchment paper.
  6. Now, you can make beautiful cookies out of this mixture with the cookie cutter, but I like to play with the dough and shape small cookies with my own hands (like in childhood) – this way, they are the same, but each one is a little bit different… So, for each cookie pinch the amount similar to ping pong ball and shape your own cookie creations :)

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