Thursday, July 31, 2014

Strawberries and White Chocolate

It's dessert time!  Today I'm sharing the recipes for the strawberry tea.  Here is a reminder picture:

On the top, we have bonbon cookies.  I got this recipe from TeaTime Magazine. 

1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 tbls light brown sugar
3 1/2 tsp vanilla extra, divided
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tbls heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
dried fruit (for example, cherries, apricots, or strawberries!) or nuts
2 tbls gel food coloring (I used red to make pink)
Preheat oven to 350.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, butter, brown sugar, 2 1/2 tsp vanilla, almond extract ,and cream, stirring until smooth.  Add flour and salt, stirring until incorporated.  (If dough seems dry, add more cream, 1 tbls at a time until dough forms).
Using a levered 1 tbl scoop, to scoop up cookies.  Press dried fruit into dough while still in scoop, then drop 1 inch apart onto prepared baking sheets, rounded side up.
Bake until set but not brown, 11 to 12 minutes.  Remove cookies from baking sheet, and cool completely on wire racks. 
In a medium bowl, combine remaining 1 cup confectioners' sugar, milk, and remaining 1 tsp vanilla, whisking until completely smooth.  Tint to desired colors.  Dip tops of cookies into tinted icing.  Let dry.

On the bottom layer of the tiered tray, I made mini-strawberry cupcakes.

White Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 oz white chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 325 F. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl. Microwave white chocolate until melted and smooth.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the white chocolate and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture (in 3 additions) and milk (in 2 additions), starting and ending with the flour. Beat just until incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cupcakes cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan to cool completely.

After the cupcakes have cooled, core the middle.  I cut a round piece out deep enough to put a filling in the middle.  I used strawberry preserves for the filling.

Buttercream frosting:
I used my I used my go-to buttercream recipe to top these cupcakes, Wilton's recipe with a pinch of salt added.  See here for a previous post with the recipe.  I then topped with half a strawberry. 

And that's it for my strawberry tea!  Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Strawberries and cream

I thought I would start the recipe posts to go along with this week's strawberry tea with the savories and the scones.

These sandwiches were very simple.  The chicken salad I made as I normally would with rotisserie chicken pieces and mayonnaise.  I then added a bit of lemon juice and chopped strawberries to taste.  I thought about adding a bit of sugar, but the strawberries were the perfect amount of sweet/sour to make the chicken salad delicious.
The cucumber rounds are simply that--I used a 3 inch cookie cutter on wheat bread, spread cream cheese on top with some cut up fresh mint from my garden, toped with a cucumber followed by half of a strawberry. 

Next we have strawberries and cream scones that, I must say, were wonderful!  My taste testers also thought this was a good recipe.  I began with a recipe from TeaTime Magazine, but made some changes (some by mistake  because I wasn't paying attention) so I will share it here. 

Strawberries and Cream Scones

2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1/6 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbls cold, salted butter
1 bag dried strawberries, chopped
3 oz cream cheese, diced
3/4 cup plus 3 tbls cold heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp strawberry extract
1 extra large egg

Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt, whisking until blended.  Using a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Add strawberries and cream cheese, tossing lightly until coated with flour mixture.  Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine cream, beaten egg, and strawberry extract.  Add to flour mixture, stirring to combine. 
Drop scones by the spoonful onto sheet.
Bake until edges of scones are light golden brown, approximately 18 minutes.  Let scones cool on pan for 5 minute.  Remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.  Recipe makes about 20 scones.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Strawberries and champagne

At my Strawberry tea this week I served a very special tea--Teavana's Strawberry Blush Rose Oolong. 

Teavana's website describes the tea as follows:

"This French-inspired flavored oolong tea features luscious strawberries, pink rose buds, crisp rhubarb, white grapes, soft vanilla, and a hint of bubbly champagne. Deliciously romantic, it's a sumptuous combination that sparkles on the palate, conjuring up dreamy days ambling along Épernay's rolling vineyards and valleys.

Lush strawberry and soft rose sparkle in perfect balance alongside vibrant notes of white grape"

I think my roses and strawberry teapot is a good match for this tea.

This tea has so much going on!  It is very floral, with light fruity taste as well.  You can definitely taste the roses, but they are in perfect balance with the rest of the flavors.  As you can see in the picture above, there are fairly big pieces of dried strawberries, rhubarb and grapes mixed in with the tea leaves. 

The tea is very light and even slightly pink. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Strawberry Tea

Welcome to my home for this week's themed tea--a strawberry tea!
Just one plucked from beneath verdant leaves,
bright red, plump, washed in the morning dew.
A bite, sour and sweet, juicy and firm,
the taste of summer sun
and strawberry fields.
First let's start with the china and flatware. I have three different sets of china on the table.  On the left end of the table is Victoriana Rose by Paragon.

The silverware on the table is silverplate by Gracie china--I found two boxes of 4 each at Homegoods.  There are flowers on the end of these with a pearl in the middle of the bloom.

On the opposite end of the table, I placed a set of Royal Albert's Lavender and Roses.

 In the middle is one of my German sets by Rosenthal--this one in red.

Do you have a preference for which set you would like to use?  Please have a seat and I'll pour you some tea from my Gracie China teapot with pink roses and strawberries.

How do you take your tea?  I have cream and sugar in my pink glass creamer and sugar set:

I borrowed some of my mother's pink glass serving dishes to use for this tea.  I'm serving strawberry-cucumber-mint canapés and strawberry chicken salad croissants on my great-grandmother's pink depression glass sandwich tray:

I also placed a bowl of strawberries on the table in my mother's pink depression glass casserole.

This bowl has a matching lid, but I didn't want to cover up the bright red strawberries!  Below is a better look at the leaves in the bowl design.

I also borrowed my mother's small pink satin glass tray to hold these strawberries and cream scones:

If you're ready for dessert, we have bonbon cookies and white chocolate strawberry cupcakes.

Just a bit about the linens on the table: 
My mother gave me the embroidered tablecloth and matching napkins from her stash of goodies--she bought them from Hechts probably a couple of decades ago.
Recipes and more on the tea served will follow later this week, so please visit me again if you are interested :).
Thanks for joining me for my strawberry tea!  This week I'm joining these tea parties:
 Bernideen's Tea in the Garden
 Tuesday Cuppa Tea~

I linked this post at Home Sweet Home~

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Summer Sunday Iced Tea: Post 2, Blue Buddha

Today I'm highlighting an herbal iced tea by Blue Buddha.

This tea was really good.  The bottle says that it is an elderberry lemon flavored.  This is the Wellness blend, which is supposed to alleviate stress, and provide immunity support.
The tea says it includes lemon, elder flower, rose hips, and lavender and is inspired by Himalayan ancient traditions of blending herbs.  I definitely think it is worth trying, especially with only 35 calories in the entire bottle!  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Tea Finds at Cracker Barrel

I went to dinner today at the Cracker Barrel and saw so many tea things in their store that I wanted to share.

First, I saw a teapot hook:

The flat part in the back has a place for a nail head so it can be hung on a wall, and the teapot spout serves as the hook!  So cute!

Next, as I continued wandering, I saw little white and blue salt and pepper shakers with tiny owls, coffee pots, and a teapot:

 I thought an owl with a teapot was an interesting mix!  You could mix and match however you wanted; I looked and each design had both three holes for salt and two holes for pepper.

I turned one more corner and found another tea related display:

I thought the red and white transferware pattern was so pretty, especially with the white light-up tree in the background with the teapot underneath. 
This is my first time taking pictures for the blog with my Kindle Fire--I think it worked pretty good for a quick picture on the go!  I don't have a smartphone, so I usually have to lug the camera around if I want to take pictures, but this worked pretty well. 
By the way, for dinner I had one of cracker barrel's new summer bakes--delicious!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Silver Teapots and Diamond Jubilees

I recently ordered my favorite tea from Harney and Sons, Diamond Jubilee.

Harney and Sons created this tea to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's ascension to the throne.  Earl Grey is the Queen's favorite, and this tea blends lemony bergamot with black teas and grapefruit flavors.  Delicious!  Even the tin for this tea is pretty, trimmed in the crown jewels.

This tea made me think of a commemorative English breakfast tin I picked up in 2012 :

I bought this tea tin at an English style tearoom here in Virginia that I visited with my mom, aunt, and sister to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.

I thought these two Diamond Jubilee  teas would make for a pretty tableau on my deck with my new silverplate teapot.

I bought this teapot last weekend for under $15, which I thought was a pretty good deal.  I've been wanting a little silverplate pot for picture taking purposes.

Here it is starring in its first picture!  There is fancy scrollwork on the spout and the handle, as well as on the hinged lid.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cinnamon Praline Scones

I found a new scone recipe that I really wanted to try and make and share with everyone.

These are Cinnamon Praline scones I found on a bed and breakfast recipe website here.  The recipe is different from any other scone recipe I have ever made.  First you make a base scone recipe as usual (by the way, I added an additional tablespoon of sugar because I like my scones on the sweeter side).  Afterwards, the recipe says you roll it out into a triangle.  Then you brush the scone dough with melted butter...before adding a filing! 

The filing, which is the cinnamon praline part, is made up of sour cream, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans.  After spreading the filing on top, I rolled it up (starting at the point of the triangle) and pressed the larger side down.  It was a bit messy and the filing ran out some, but it did stay together.  I sliced the roll and then laid the scones on parchment paper so that you could see the filing.

They are delicious!  I highly recommend this recipe.  Aside from the extra tablespoon of sugar, I made no changes.  Temperature and bake time were perfect too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rosemont Blend

After the tea at Rosemont in yesterday's post, I took two of the teas home with me they were so good.  Today I'm going to share more about the Rosemont Blend.  This tea was blended by Tea for All Reasons for Rosemont Manor.

This tea is especially pretty with rather large green tea leaves, pieces of rose petals, and white sugar pearls.  The tea is flavored with strawberry and passion fruit. 

This tea is so light and delicious!  It is slightly sweet and fruity followed by light floral after tones.  This is one of my favorite green teas.

I didn't have any pretty china in my tea party post yesterday, so I thought I would do a follow up today with a pretty set--my newest acquisition actually :).  This cup and saucer is by Crown Staffordshire, and it is made in England.  There are all different colored flowers (including roses) with a couple of butterflies mixed in.  I thought it would be a good match with my Butterfly Meadow tablecloth (which is still on my dining room table because I've been too lazy to change it out!).

Update:  I'm sharing this post on Teacup Tuesday at
The matching plate is one of the stars in this post about cinnamon praline scones.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Tea at Rosemont Manor

A friend and I went to tea at Historic Rosemont Manor in Berryville, Virginia, located in the Shenandoah Valley.
Rosemont , originally built in 1811, is now a bed and breakfast and a popular wedding venue.  Rosemont is surrounded by a 60 acre park-like setting.  It was the home of a previous Virginia Governor and Senator, Harry Byrd. 

Tea is served in two rooms,  the one below being the prettiest.  The second one, which is green, is really more of a sun room but was also very nice.

One thing I really enjoyed about this tea was that a different tea was served with each course, and the teas were specially blended for Rosemont.

The food was very good and was brought out one course at a time on tiered trays.
First, the savories:  pimento cheese on cornbread, roasted red pepper hummus on pumpernickel, and cucumber with fresh herbs.
The scone course included peach scones as well as chocolate chip oat scones, served with fresh peach preserves and clotted cream.
Finally, for dessert we had dark chocolate caramel sea salt brownies, tiramisu bites, and lemon verbena ice cream (herbal tea inspired of course!). 
Here are some of the pictures inside the home:
(sitting area in the Bar)

(beautiful staircase in main entry--picture from the internet.  My picture didn't do it justice)

(drawing room)
And here are a couple of pictures of the grounds:

 (from the front porch)
(looking out on the mountains from a second floor balcony)
Berryville and Rosemont Manor were a wonderful outing. 
I'm sharing this tea experience on:
Tea Time Tuesday at Rose Chintz Cottage
 Bernideen's Tea in the Garden
 Tea Cup Tuesday ~
Tuesday Cuppa Tea~