Thursday, May 6, 2010
Mad as a Hatter
What do you do on a gloomy day, when you feel as cloudy inside as the world is outside? If you're neurotic like me, you have a few options. You can clean, organize, or bake.
Since I feel mad as a hatter, I figured I'd take a cue from him and set up my very own tea party. Before you start to ponder the pathetic nature of a tea party for one, I'll remind you I have three cats as well. Who's pathetic now??? The answer is still probably me. I hope when I go truly mad, they have croissants and tea wherever they send me.
While I may be a bit looney, I do have some fabulous tea party tips. Tea parties and garden picnics are my specialties. A good old fashioned tea party requires good tea of course. If you think tea is tea, you are gravely mistaken. High quality tea makes a world of difference. For today I have lavender Earl Grey from Teaz. I also baked up a small storm. The following recipes are my favourites for spring. Light, airy, and delectable. Doug and I also made a red velvet cake last night, the recipe I'll include as well.
The true secret to a good tea party besides yummy treats is all in presentation. China tea cups, flowers, and sweet napkins. They don't all have to match, in fact the theme can be no theme, but I'm a big believer in these three elements. For a garden party place cards are optional, but they do add charm. Party favours are also popular. Handheld fans are cheap, and always adorable. I also have specific garden party dresses and shoes. The biggest irony of this being I don't actually have a garden. Still, I look darn good on the patio. I know it's hard to believe I'm 32 and not 132. I like traditions though.
Besides, no one listens better than a homemade scone. No one... xx
Lavender Tea Bread
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lavender
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Combine the milk and lavender in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat to a simmer, then remove from heat, and allow to cool slightly.
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg until the mixture is light and fluffy. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk and lavender until just blended. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a wooden pick inserted into the crown of the loaf comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.
Rose Water Cookies- I like these after they've been frozen even better.
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tbs rose water
3 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cream sugar and butter until smooth.Beat in yolks and flavourings.
Combine baking soda and sour cream and stir into sugar mixture.Add rose water. Sift flour and salt and mix with batter.
Roll out on floured surface and cut with cookie cutter. Bake on greased sheets for 15 to 20 minutes.
Red Velvet Cake
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canola oil
2 cups white sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 cup milk
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grease two 9 inch round pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Make a paste of cocoa and food coloring. Set aside.
Combine the buttermilk, salt and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the cocoa mixture. Beat in the buttermilk mixture alternately with the flour, mixing just until incorporated. Stir together baking soda and vinegar, then gently fold into the cake batter.
Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
To Make Icing: In a saucepan, combine the milk and 5 tablespoons flour. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Set aside to cool completely. Cream together butter, 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until light and fluffy, then stir in the cooled milk and flour mixture, beating until icing reaches spreading consistency.
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 cup butter
1 cup whipping cream
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter until crumbly. Slowly add the whipping cream until a dough is formed. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a 1/2-inch thick disc. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out scones. Place in lightly greased muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees F about 15 minutes. Cool.