Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are my all time favorite chocolate cookies.  Quite delicious with a nice cup of tea.  These freeze well.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 C butter
4 (1 oz ) squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 C semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1 1/2 C flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
4 large eggs
1 1/2 C sugar
2 t vanilla extract
1-2 C chopped pecans (optional)
1 T instant coffee granules (optional)

Combine butter, unsweetened chocolate & 1 1/2 chocolate chips  in a large, heavy saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring  constantly until  butter & chocolate melt.  Cool.

Combine flour, baking powder & salt in a small bowl; set aside.

 Beat eggs, sugar, vanilla in a mixing bowl, at medium speed.

Add cooled, melted butter & chocolate mixture & mix well.

Gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture beating well. 

Stir in remaining 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips  optional pecans & instant coffee granules.

Drop dough by 1-2 tablespoons approximately 1-2" apart onto parchment paper-lined cookie sheets..  Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until set.  Cool slightly on cookie sheets: remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Easy Christmas Tea Favors for Your Holiday Tea Table

Use this easy to make candy cane easel as a place card or menu holder.  It will embellish your Christmas tea table and your guests will be able to take it home as a  fond memory of  the good times you shared.

Here is what you will need.  With a glue gun,  glue the 2 candy canes side by side to form the easel.  Five inch candy canes were used here. Break the 3rd candy cane about halfway down the stem.  Hot glue it to the back of your candy cane easel to support it.  For the place card,  trace a teapot cookie cutter on paper to make a pattern.  You can have your pattern enlarged as much as you like at your local copy store. The card pictured is 4" from top to bottom and 5" from left to right.  Cut your teapot place card from scrap booking paper or card stock.   Do not use construction paper as it is not heavy enough. Using a hole punch, make a hole at the left for curling ribbon. Insert the ribbon, tie and curl.  To complete your place card use peel off  letters spelling out your guest's name or hand write it.

For another easy favor, using a pretty holiday themed ribbon,  tie a festive Christmas ornament around a napkin. Place it at the corner of each guest's plate.

Mark each guest's place setting with a small teapot made the same as for the place card above.   However, this one doesn't need to be enlarged. Place it between two plates putting a glass plate on the top.

These are several easy ideas for making your tea table more special.  All can be made ahead.  Use your imagination, enjoy and have fun!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Perfect Fall Tea Filled Afternoon

A few days ago I had the pleasure of joining some dear tea friends that I made during my days at Civil-La-Tea.  We met at The Joy Garden in New Freedom, PA for full afternoon tea.

A welcoming tea table with a beautiful fall afternoon view.

 A comforting bowl of mushroom wild rice soup to begin

Next,  tempting Cream and fragrant Cinnamon Chip Scones.  To be followed by delcious Cucumber tea sandwiches, Blue Cheese and Apple Bruchetta, Asparagus and Swiss on marbled rye, and a mini Quiche.

And for the grand finale a luscious Chocolate Brownie Cup with Chocolate Ganache, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and a Shortbread Cookie with Toffee Crumble. 

The special treat were the tea friends around the table sharing tea with me making it a perfect fall tea filled afternoon.  Where will you enjoy tea this fall season?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Orange Cream Candy Corn Kisses Oatmeal Cookies

Have your tried these fun  Hershey's Kisses Candy Corn this Halloween season?  This tasty recipe is a winning combination of cookie and candy.  Happy Halloween, everyone!

Orange Cream Candy Corn Kisses Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 C butter
1 egg
1 C light brown sugar
1/2 t  grated orange peel
1/4 C orange juice (The peel & juice are the approximate yield from 1 large orange
1 C flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
2 C Quick 1- minute oats

Cream butter & sugar with electric mixer.  Beat in egg, juice, & peel.  Mix together dry ingredients and slowly add to mixture.  Drop by teaspoon on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 10-12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Melt 18 kisses in microwave and drizzle or lightly ice cookies.  Before candy sets, place 1 kiss in center of cookie.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Teatime with A Whimsical Audrey Tea Infuser

Enjoy a touch of whimsy to your teatime with this whimsical bright pink and white flower Audrey tea infuser.  This eye catching plastic flower infuser is made in Germany by koziol.  It is a feast for all the senses.

Audrey fits in almost every cup and is the right size for a single serving. Simply add your favorite tea leaves and hot water and steep.

After a long hot aromatic soak with its tea leaves, the bloom takes a tidy time-out on its own drip-catching foliage. Ready and waiting to serve you again for another steep. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Bread

Difficult summer gardening and life have taken me away from blogging on a regular basis.  With the end of a long, hot and dry summer,  I've put my garden to bed and plan to blog more often. This Pumpkin Bread recipe is delicious seasonal fall treat.  You can make 5 small loaves with it (loaf pan measuring 6" X 3") or 2 large loaves.  It freezes well and is wonderful to have on hand for the unexpected guest and gift giving.  The recipe below calls for 2 teaspoons of cinnamon but you can use the spice that best suits your taste.  The original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of nutmeg.  You can also use Allspice and or Pumpkin Pie Spice. The addition of nuts and raisins are optional.  I personally think they are a tasty addition but again do what suits your own taste. Especially satisfying with your afternoon cup of tea.

Pumpkin Bread
3 C sugar
1C vegetable oil
4 eggs
2C canned pumpkin (16 oz)
2/3 C water
3 1/3 C all purpose flour
2 t baking soda
1 1/2 t salt
2 t cinnamon
1/2 to 3/4 chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 to 3/4 raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease and flour  loaf pans.  Mix together sugar & water with electric mixer.  Add eggs, pumpkin, water & blend.  Combine remaining dry ingredients and blend slowly.Blend in nuts & raisins.  Fill pans equally & bake 1 hour if using 2 large pans or 45-50 minutes if using 5 small pans.  Loaves are baked when inserted toothpick comes out clean.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Pink Lemonade Shortbread Bars

These buttery rich lemon glazed bars are delicious with hot or iced tea.  You'll want to grate the peel of your lemon before you squeeze the juice from it.

What you will need:
1 1/2 C butter
2/3 C powdered sugar
2 T grated lemon peel
1 T lemon juice
2 2/3 C flour

Lemon Glaze
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
2 T lemon peel

1/3-1/2 C lemon juice
1 drop red food coloring.

Heat oven to 350.  Lightly grease jelly roll pan with vegetable spray.  Beat butter, sugar, lemon peel,  & lemon juice until creamy.  Add flour.  Combine until well mixed.  Press batter into prepared pan.  You will have to flour your hands several times to prevent sticking. 

Bake 20-20 min.. or until light golden brown.

While bars are baking, prepare the lemon glaze.  Mix all the ingredients until spreadable.  Add the lemon juice a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency.  Pour over bars while they are still warm.  When completely cooled cut bars into small squares or diamond shapes.  Be gentle as bars are fragile. Store in a covered container.  Enjoy with a delicious cup of tea or a wonderfully cold glass of frosty iced tea.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Frozen Tea Cocktail

This refreshing tea cocktail  has been a family favorite for many years.   It was my mom's recipe and she kept a frozen container in the freezer to be served at a moment's notice when company dropped by.  We fondly call it "Slush".

2 C boiling water
4 teaspoons loose tea or 4 teabags
1 C sugar
1 large can frozen  orange juice concentrate
1 large can frozen lemonade concentrate
7 C water
2 C vodka

Brew tea in 2 cups of boiling water.  Add cup of sugar to brewed tea and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Stir in remaining ingredients and freeze in covered container.  Due to the alcohol content, it will not freeze solid but will be of a a "slushy" consistency. Use ice cream scoop to fill glasses and garnish.  You can also serve with a spoon.  Can be enjoyed any time of the year but is especially refreshing on a hot summer evening!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Tea in Paris

Recently, my husband and I were fortunate to celebrate our anniversary by taking a  week long river cruise from Normandy to Paris.  It was a fabulous trip and I absolutely adored Paris!  We will have to return some day as we simply didn't have enough time for everything we wanted to see and do. 

Even though our time was limited, I did my best to visit several tea spots. On our way to Paris, we stopped at Rouen.  Rouen is a charming town with plenty of shopping and historical points of interest.  Most notably where Joan of Arc met her demise.  Cakes was our first tea stop.  The tea maids  at Cakes wore  beautiful red toile aprons which I wanted to purchase.  But a $100 for an apron couldn't be justified so a picture would have to do. No one there spoke English but using the universal language of money I was able to purchase some French Breakfast tea. It was quite robust and satisfying.

 Next, was the famous Hediard in Paris.  The walls were a dizzying array of  red tea tins.  Hediard, purveyor of fine teas since 1854, offers more than 200 varieties of tea from many different origins to be enjoyed at any time of day.  They strive to impart the spirit of tea, to encourage the awakening of tastes, to stimulate the desire and satisfy the curiosity for the unknown.   We were able to be seated here for a delicious pot of tea and a to die for French apple tart. 

 At Hediard,  I chose the  famous Hediard blend, one of their most popular black tea blends from China with a delicious subtle bergamot, lemon and sweet orange flavor.

Mariage Freres was the last stop for tea. It was also established in 1864.   Here there was an overwhelming inventory of  600 choices of tea. With the help of a young French salesman,  I chose  Marco Polo.   Another wonderful black tea blend of  several varieties of Chinese and Tibetan fruit and flowers creating  a highly sophisticated bouquet.

And so our trip to France came to an end all too quickly.  I am still enjoying my French tea and dreaming of returning some day.  Have you ever been to France?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bake Some Tea Cookies for Your "Mum" for Mother's Day

Show your "Mum" some love and bake her a batch of these sweet tea cookies for Mother's Day.  These cookies are scrumptious to nibble with your tea and in between teatimes.  Given to me by a dear grad school friend many years ago,  this recipe has always been my "go to" sugar cut out cookie recipe.  You can decorate the cookies as you wish as shown in the picture above or serve them as is as shown in the picture below. They are equally delicious either way.   Will you be sharing tea with someone on Mother's Day?

Sugar Cookies
Mix together and reserve:
2 C flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Cream together:
2/3 C butter
1 C sugar

Blend in:
1 egg. beaten
2 T milk
1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t lemon extract

Blend in dry ingredients.  Chill in fridge 2 hours or until dough can be easily handled.  Roll 1/8" thickness on lightly floured cloth.  Cut  into teapot  shapes with floured teapot cookie cutters.  Bake on ungreased cookie sheet at 375 for 10-12 minutes.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Fresh Flowers for Your Tea Table

It's so wonderful that spring is here and with it the arrival of many beautiful spring flowers.  Though there are many lovely artificial flowers there is nothing like fresh flowers for your tea table.  It can be a simple bloom in a decorative vase or a more elaborate bouquet.  It is a good idea to keep the flowers low and unobtrusive.  They should complement the table.  If a tall centerpiece is used,  place it to the side of your table so that your guests will be able to see each other.  I adore Lilacs which are so prevalent right now.  They are an extremely fragrant flower so if you decide to use them,  you should know that your guests enjoy them too.

What flowers do you like to use for your teatime celebrations?  Sipping Union Blue Lady...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"Hello Dolly!" Bars

"Hello Dolly!" Bars are an easy and delicious teatime treat.  You may want to line your baking dish with parchment paper as they can be a little tricky to remove from the pan.

1/4 C melted butter
1 C graham cracker crumbs
1 C coconut
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C chopped walnuts
1 (14oz) can of sweetened condensed milk

Place melted butter in  9" X 9"  baking pan.  Sprinkle graham crumbs over  the butter, add coconut, then chocolate chips, and walnuts.  Pour milk over the layers.  Do not mix.  Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes.Cool and put in fridge to chill completely.  Cut into small squares.  These are very fudge-like.   Have napkins handy.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teacup Cupcake

What you will need.:
Your favorite scratch cake recipe or favorite cake mix
Frosting, prepared or purchased
Small flower shaped sugar cookies
Small jelly beans
Green chewy fruit snack
Paper doily
Wax paper

Prepare cupcakes and place on doily covered dessert plate to frost.  To keep doily frosting free, cut 2 pieces of wax paper to be placed between cupcake and doily.  Frost cupcake.  Make flower and leaf design with jelly beans and green fruit snack leaves on both sides of cupcake.  Insert flower shaped cookie on side of cupcake for teacup handle.  Very gently remove wax paper, one piece at at time.  Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Four Lily Soup

There are no lilies in this delicious soup.  However, the sweet onion, red onion, shallots, garlic, and the Easter Lily all belong to the same lily family.

What you will need:
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
10  oz. shallots, sliced
1 small bulb of garlic, peeled
1/4 C olive oil
2 1/2 C chicken broth
1 1/2 t chopped fresh thyme
1 C heavy crem
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

Toss onions, garlic, and shallots with olive oil.  Roast at 325  in preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Mix in blender with broth until smooth. Heat until simmer.  Blend in cream and seasonings.  Simmer until soup is thoroughly heated.  Garnish with croutons, fresh parsley, and grated Swiss cheese.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Making Scones with A Great Pastry Blender

Making scones is easy with this great pastry blender.  This was one of  our favorite tools in the tearoom kitchen.  It makes short work of blending the butter into your dry ingredients to the consistency of coarse oatmeal.  For us it worked much for efficiently than the pastry blenders with thin wires.  Be sure to use cold butter that has been cut into small pieces.  And remember the secret to delicious scones is not to overwork the dough!  Please view the video below to see how it is done.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

You Tube How to Make Irish Soda Bread Scones

Irish Soda Bread Scones

Enjoy these delicious Irish Soda Bread Scones with clotted cream and your favorite cup of Irish tea.  Scones are baked at 375 for 15-20 minutes.  They are ready when tops are browned and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.  See previous post for video on how to make these.  Recipe found in "Teatime in Gettysburg".

An Irish Blessing:  May your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow, and may trouble avoid  you wherever you go.  Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Chunky Chicken Salad with A Little Touch of Green

Chunky Chicken Salad with A Little Touch of Green

The peas, parsley and dill give the chicken salad "a little touch of green".

You will need:

1 C cooked, diced chicken breast
1/2 C diced, peeled apples or 1/2 C dried cherries
2 T minced onion 
1/4 C celery
1/4 C pecans or walnuts
1 t dill
1/2 T parsley
1/2 C frozen peas
1/4 C low fat mayonnaise

1 package puff pastry sheets

Mix all ingredients.  Chill.  Cut circles from puff pastry sheets with biscuit cutter.  Bake according to package directions. Slice puff pastry sheet rounds in half.   Serve chicken salad on pastry sheet rounds.

Friday, March 5, 2010

How to Keep Your Pot of Tea Hot

Over The Top Tea Cozy

Are you looking for a solution to keeping your tea hot while you enjoy your "tea time"?  First, be sure to warm your teapot before brewing.  Fill your teapot with boiling water for a few minutes before use.  Discard this water before brewing your tea.

After you finish brewing your tea, top with a tea cozy.  The tea cozy  provides one solution that at the same time enhances the beauty and interest of "tea time". 

                                          Hug-A-Pot Tea Cozy                           

There are several types of tea cozies. Two of the most popular are over the top and hug-a-pot cozies.  The first is placed over the teapot after brewing.  Brewing your tea with the tea cozy on is not recommended.  It causes the tea to become over brewed and become bitter.  The tea cozy is removed when the tea is poured.  Hug-a-pot cozies are tied onto the teapot after the tea is brewed.  There is no need for removal when the tea is poured.

Gold Colored Metal Tea Warmer

Tea warmers are another solution.  A tea light candle is placed in the tea warmer and the teapot sits on top.  Tea warmers are available in many shapes, sizes and materials.
Using a tea cozy or tea warmer can enhance your "tea time" and enables you to savor the warmth, beauty, and serenity that happens during those moments we linger over a pot of  tea...a refreshing, replenishing, respite beneficial to our well-being.
Do you use a tea cozy or a tea warmer to keep your pot of tea hot?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Butter Pecan Bars


These bars can be cut into small pieces as they are rich and buttery.

Butter Pecan Bars
2 C flour
2/3 C firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 C softened butter
1 C chopped pecans
8 oz pkg Cream cheese, softened
1/3 C firmly packed brown sugar
1 t vanilla
2 T flour
2 eggs
1 C butterscotch chips

1 oz square semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Heat over to 350.  Combine flour, sugar & butter & mix until crumbly.  Add chopped pecans.  Pat into 13" x 9" pan that has been lightly sprayed with vegetable oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.  

For filling, beat cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla.  Add flour & eggs.  Pour over baked crust & top with butterscotch chips.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Melt chocolate in microwave and drizzle over cooled bars. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Thinking Spring

While there is snow. snow, and more snow everywhere, I'm thinking spring.  My gorgeous  yellow dendrobium orchid is blooming beautifully keeping the memory of spring very much alive.  This afternoon, while enjoying the warm, winter sunshine bouncing off the lovely yellow petals, I'm sipping  a  cheerful, delicious cup of Chocolate Strawberry tea , a black tea with strawberry taste, strawberry pieces with leaves and chocolate bits.  It's just a little Valentine tea party treat to myself.  What  tea are you sipping today?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Double Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Chocolate dipped strawberries are a real treat anytime but especially on Valentine's Day!

What you will need:
12 medium strawberries
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
Chocolate sprinkles

Wash strawberries and let dry on paper towel. Melt chocolate in microwave on high for 60 seconds, stir. You may have to increase the time depending on your microwave. But increase time only for a few seconds at a time. Hold strawberries by the leaves and dip in chocolate. Place berries on wax paper. Sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles. Chill in fridge at least 10-15 minutes to set.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Valentine Favor

Type the recipe for the Tomato Dill Bisque on your computer and print on a card. Bisque recipe is in previous post. Combine the spices for the bisque in a cellophane bag purchased from a craft store. Use a hole punch to punch a hole in your recipe card. Attach bag with soup spices to your card with decorative ribbon. Place at each setting.

Tomato Dill Bisque

This delicious soup says "Happy Valentine's Day!

Tomato Dill Bisque

3/4 C onion,chopped
3 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1-1 1/2 t salt
2 T dried parsley
1/4 C butter
3 C chicken stock
1/2 C half & half
3/4 t dill seed
1 t dill weed
1/2 t white pepper
1 t oregano
1/4 C honey
1/4 C flour

Saute onion in butter. Add flour and spices. Stir in tomatoes, parsley and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add honey, and cream, and blend in blender until smooth. Return to pan to warm or place in crock pot on low. Do not boil. Serve

Make heart crouton by using heart shape cookie cutter. Cut heart from your choice of bread. Toast both sides under broiler. You can make these ahead and keep in sealed container.

This easy, delicious recipe and others found in "Teatime in Gettysburg" and "Lunchtime in Gettysburg".

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chocolate Truffle Tea Cookies

These Chocolate Truffle Cookies are a yummy treat for teatime and would also be a delicious treat for Valentine's Day. They are similar to the Mexican Wedding Teacakes only the chocolate

Chocolate Truffle Tea Cookies
1 C butter, softened
1/2 C powdered sugar
1 oz melted unsweetened chocolate, melted & cooled
1 1/2 t vanilla
2 1/4 C flour
1/4 t salt
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter & sugar. Mix in cooled chocolate and vanilla. Slowly blend in flour. Add chocolate chips. Roll into 1" balls and bake on parchment paper covered cookie sheet at 375 for 10-12 minutes or until set. When cookies are cooled completely, mix 2T baking cocoa & 1/4 C powdered sugar & roll cookies in mixture. Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.
2 1/2 Delicious served with Chocolate Mint tea.