DIY Adapt-a-Cookie Recipe: How I Became a Cookie Monster

by Samantha Albala

For my first poetry show ever, one of my best friends offered to bake a super simple shortbread cookie for the audience. I was so nervous, but it was the perfect thing to add a calming and almost familial atmosphere. I endlessly appreciate this gesture because, since then, I have made ALL THE COOKIES! This recipe combines two of my favorite things, tea and baking.

I hear time and time again that baking is a very exact science and that straying from the recipe can lead to trouble, but I think I kind of like trouble, especially when it results in a soft, flavorful and elegant cookie. So I decided to turn this simple recipe into about a dozen very different cookies with very distinct tastes. Here are tips so you can do the same:

The Ingredients:

  • Flour (2 cups)
  • Tea (2 tablespoons)
  • Salt (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Butter (2 cups)
  • Confectionary Sugar (3/4 of a cup)
  • Vanilla Extract (1 teaspoon)

Details to remember:

-Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If you alter the measurements the cookies may bake differently and require you to lower the temperature.

-Dry dough = softer cookie

-Thick cuts, cookie stays softer, longer.

-Cooling the cookies in the fridge is VERY important, and in general, for most cookie recipes helps enhance the flavor. 

-The quality of the ingredients matters! If you can, make your own vanilla extract (a how-to is in The Bust DIY Guite to Life, page 264). Use only your favorite loose teas and ingredients, and quality ingredients like butter and sugar. Then, and only then, are you halfway to an amazing cookie!


-Using powdered ingredients such as Matcha and powdered peanut butter (which I used to make a PB M&M cookie) will create a smooth textured shortbread, as opposed to original Earl Gray. You can even skip the tea altogether and make a chocolate chip, or other variety of shortbread or drop cookie.

-You can also easily use vegan butter (I’ve used the brand Earth Balance) as a replacement. Also consider alternative gluten-free flours and other allergen friendly replacements for friends or family that may be yearning to try your new creations.

-To create softer drop cookies, I upped the sugar content to equal the amount of flour. Be warned that this will make a frustratingly dry dough that will have you wondering if all the flour will combine with all the butter, I am going to be honest, it may not…

-Instead of rolling the dough into a log, consider breaking out your rolling pin and cookie cutters to make fun shapes—my favorites include dinosaurs, hippos, and hearts to show they are made with love and punk rock.

Some varieties I’ve tried out include, Matcha tea, coffee, hot cocoa, PB M&M, Lemon Lavender, Mocha, Black Current and Lemon Spice, Chocolate Chip (with an Oreo inside!), and Red Velvet.

Some future concoctions might include: Chai tea, Pink Lemonade, and Pumpkin Spice (‘tis the season).

I invite you to play with this recipe or create some of your own favorites. Feel free to share what you come up with or want to experiment with in the comments if you’d like. I honestly have created some failure batches because I was too impatient or too spacey that day, but the joy of creating a successful batch is such an incredible and joyous feeling that it should come with a warning label like: these cookies will not turn you into Elizabeth Falkner, but it will make today a little tastier! Happy baking!


To stare in awe at the versatility of the original recipe from Claire Robinson from the show 5 Ingredient Fix, click here.


Photos c/o my iPhone and OrangeCountyMom.

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