Creating Memories With Tea Time
After reading Gigi Lori's blog post on having tea with her granddaughter, I decided to write about having a "grown up tea" with your older grandchildren. Because this tradition is several courses (scones, tea, sandwiches and dessert), you will be able to enjoy a good amount of time with your grandchildren - which is what us grandmas want.
When my daughter was three years old, I took her for her first afternoon tea with my mom. At that early age, she learned how to handle fine china, sit for a while like a "big girl", learn great manners and above all else: have one-on-one time with her grandma and mom. From that point on, we all enjoyed our yearly afternoon tea parties and all the things that go along with it. Because it can be quite expensive to go out for tea, I researched how to have a proper tea at home. Throughout the years, I have hosted many tea parties for my daughter, my friends and now I look forward to continuing this tradition with my granddaughters.
Things you will need to gather:
China cups and plates (you can easily get this at Salvation Army or Goodwill). Mix and match is the style so it should be easy for you to find a few different place settings. I was fortunate enough to have both sets of my grandma's china dishes so these are my go to when hosting a tea party and it's a wonderful opportunity to tell my grandkids about their great-great grandparents.
Tea - you can either use loose tea or tea bags. I normally serve three teas: a black tea (such as Lavender Earl Grey), an herbal tea or caffeine-free tea (Mint Chamomile or Vanilla Cinnamon Spice) and a green tea; however, you can serve whatever sounds good to you. Depending on the time of year, I would also serve a seasonal tea: white chocolate peppermint tea for a Christmas tea.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter - chilled
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes and blend with pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
In a small bowl, stir together the buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine.
With lightly floured hands, pat the dough into an 8" diameter circle on an ungreased baking sheet. With a serrated knife, cut into 8 wedges. Bake for 18-20 minutes. You can make and bake these ahead of time and freeze. When ready to eat, defrost at room temperature. Serve scones with Devonshire cream and jam.
My husband and I live at 6,224 feet altitude in Colorado so it's important to get the right ingredient conversions for high altitude baking. The next two recipes were taken from my new favorite cookbook, Sugar High.
High Altitude Orange Cream Scones
2 cups plus 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp chilled buttermilk
1 Tbsp sour cream
1 - 2 Tbsp heavy cream
For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 Tbsp heavy cream
1 Tbsp finely grated orange zest
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or nonstick mats. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Use a pastry blender to cut in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. There should still be chunks of butter throughout about the size of peas.
In another bowl, mix together the buttermilk, sour cream and egg. Then pour the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. Use a spatula to mix until the dough mostly holds together. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a disk about 1/2 inch thick. Use a 2" cutter or a large knife to make round or square scones, and place on your baking sheets. Brush the heavy cream over the tops. Bake until just golden brown: 10-12 minutes. Let cool.
For the glaze: In a bowl, mix together the powered sugar, cream and orange zest with a fork. Dip the cooled scones in the glaze and let it set completely before serving, about 20 minutes.
1 Tbsp unsalted butter, plus 6 Tbsp, chilled and cubed
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning mix
1/2 pound bulk pork breakfast sausage: cooked, crumbled & drained
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp heavy cream
1 Tbsp sour cream
In a skillet over medium heat, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter. Add the diced onion, 1 Tbsp of the sugar, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir and cook until the onions have reached a dark caramel color, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, the remaining 4 Tbsp sugar, the baking powder, the remaining 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper, the garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Using a pastry blender, cut the 6 Tbsp cubed butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles coarse meal, with butter pieces the size of peas. Stir in the cooked sausage, cheese and caramelized onions.
In another bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup of the cream with the sour cream and the egg. Pour the cream mixture into the flour mixture, and stir until a dough starts to form. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick mat. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a floured work surface. Use your hands to press the dough together into a cohesive round. Form the dough into a long rectangle about 1" thick. Using a large serrated knife, cut the dough into triangles and transfer them to the baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining 1 Tbsp cream. Bake until the tops are golden brown, 12 -15 minutes. Cool before serving.
Makes 8-10 scones
Afternoon Tea Sandwiches
Some of my favorite sandwiches to make are: English Cucumber, Salmon & Dill and Egg Salad. PB & J are a must for all grandchildren no matter the age!
Tip: If you need to make tea sandwiches in advance and need to keep them from drying out, cover them loosely with a sheet of wax paper and then place a damp kitchen towel over the wax paper (never place a damp towel directly on top of the bread because the sandwiches will become soggy). Refrigerate until serving time.
I usually buy petit fours; however, you can make any cake and cut it into small bites
When hosting a tea party, you can either have scones and tea or a full tea, which includes tea, scones, sandwiches and dessert depending on the time you have. No matter what you choose, tea time is a time to slow down, enjoy the company of your grandchildren and create special memories to cherish for years to come.