Mar 7, 2007

Tea Party Scones

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Recently I was discussing tea parties with a good friend of mine, it made me realize how a thing as simple as a tea party could boost spirits. My family tends to lean towards spring/ summer/ fall for our tea parties, but really winter is a great time for a tea party.

Tea parties can be a simple as you'd like or as fancy as you'd like. I am not sure we have ever had a super fancy tea party, but somewhere in the middle is nice.

My children range from 16-3 and all have enjoyed our tea parties. We don't usually dress for our tea parties when it is "just us." But that can be fun too! A lot of a 'tea party' is talking about it, planning it, looking forward to the feast that is soon to arrive, then sitting back and savoring the tasty bites and sipping that second cup of tea, as you take it all in.

We have been to London, England and have been blessed to experience tea there. (Ask my oldest about getting the tablecloth tucked into her hook-n-eye boots and the fun that was when she stood up to leave the table ! * She wants you to know that the added touch of spilling the vase of real flowers, along with all the remaining tea goodies was quite the moment! )

There are so many teas to try and if tea isn't your thing, than do it with some other beverage. Try cucumber sandwiches, cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, try new kinds of breads, and tea breads along with your favorite scones. I would urge you to give it a try, you will surely enjoy it!

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Here is a scone recipe that is really easy and is pretty much fool-proof. I found it in The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion (The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook), which I love.
This is a recipe for:
Basic Scones...makes 16

3 cups flour (all purpose is fine)
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. nonfat dry milk or buttermilk powder
3/4 c. raisins, apricots or other dried fruit (can leave out entirely!)
1 Tbs. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla or other extract
1/2 c. milk, water or buttermilk
8 Tbs. cold butter (or can be a combination of butter and shortening)
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water, (egg wash/for topping)
Coarse sugar or cinnamon-sugar (optional, but yummy)

preheat oven 450 degrees

In a medium bowl stir together all dry ingredients, including fruit. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, vanilla and the milk (milk makes richer scones than water- even can use cream...double YUM!)
Next cut the fat, (make sure it is cold fat- a combination is best), blend in until pea size pieces coat the dry ingredients.
Add the liquid ingredients to the flour-fat mixture. DO NOT overmix or you will have tough, brick like scones (unless you like brick-like scones!) Just moisten, some dry flour can remain.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and gather it together with your hands. Divide the dough in half, placing each onto a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Pat each half into a 7 inch circle 1/2 inch thick, then cut into 8 wedges. Separate wedges a little, leaving about a 1/2 ince between each at the outer edge; at the center, they'dll be about 1/4 inch apart. You can also cut them with a biscuit cutter or a floured drinking glass top (don't overhandle though!) (if you do that you would want about 2 inch rounds) Sometimes I just carefully shape them into little hills, making sure they are roughly all the same size.
Brush the scones with the egg wash, sprinkle on sugar if desired. Bake them for 7 minutes, then trun the oven off and without opening the door let the scones remain in the oven for 7-10 more minutes or until golden brown. (Use the middle rack in the oven!)

Remove and let cool on a wire rack.
Serve immediately or within a few hours, for best flavour. (notice the English 'u' I left in flavour- this is a British Tea after all! You can make the dough ahead overnight and refrigerate it, also can freeze it shaped-add 2 minutes to baking time if frozen before turning off the oven.


cranberry orange: use cranberies as the added fruit, add 2 Tbs. grated orange jest or use orange juice for the liquid.

lemon-poppy seed: add 3 Tbs. poppy seeds and 1/4 tsp lemon oil or extract or 2 Tbs. grated lemon peel to the dough.

cherry-almond: substitute almond extract for the vanilla, add 1/2 c. dried cherries (sweet or sour) to the dough.

ginger-chocolate chip: add 1/4 c. finely diced crystallized ginger and 1 tsp. ground ginger or 1 tsp. fresh ginger to the dough, along with 1/2 c. chocolate chips.

cinnamon-pecan: add 3/4 c. chopped toasted pecans to the dogh, substitute 2 tsp. cinnamon for the vanilla.

If you never have eaten a scone with clotted cream certainly put it on your ,"to do list." Serve your scones with unsalted butter, lemon curd (you find it in with the jellies and jams at the market), some jam or even marmalade. My kids always hope there are left over scones, as they are a wonderful treat the next morning if warmed up for a few seconds in the handy-dandy microwave.

Hope you will try this, let me know about your tea party!


Jenny said...

Posted by HandsRaisedToHeaven (IP Not Logged)
I love scones!! Especially with lemon curd. :)

Having a tea party sounds like a good spirit booster. Maybe we should try that around here.

Blessings, Jenny

Stacy said...

Um... YUM! You *know* I'll be trying that scone recipe! :)

Love ya!

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