food

Time to Par-Tea!

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I have always loved the idea of dedicating a part of the day to enjoying tea and little snacks that look too perfect to eat, like British people traditionally do (or so I’ve heard). Americans have their own version of high tea, but we enjoy our liquid energy boost to-go in Styrofoam cups or in those familiar paper cups with that infamous green mermaid. If the logo that I’m referencing has not already been ingrained in your head with native advertising, for your information, it represents Starbucks.  I love the idea of quick and easy, but it is nice to sit down and enjoy this tradition in a more slow and relaxed manner.  As much as we try, we will never be British, so we might as well adapt “tea time” to our own American culture and taste. The three types of cookie recipes included have Italian, Irish, British, and American influence.  Although they taste amazing alone, it is best to eat them with tea or coffee on the side and with good company.

DSC_1252DSC_1296DSC_1257Pistachio and Cranberry Biscotti
Ingredients
1/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pistachios
Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  • In a large bowl, beat together oil and sugar with an electric mixer until well combined. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat in the eggs.
  • Combine flour, salt, and baking powder; gradually stir into egg mixture. Mix in cranberries and nuts by hand.
  • Divide dough in half. Form two logs, about 12×2 inches on a cookie sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. If the dough is sticky, cover your hands in flour.
  • Bake for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until logs are light brown. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 275 degrees F.
  • Cut logs on diagonal into 3/4 inch thick slices for longer biscotti or cut it across to make smaller biscotti. Lay the cut cookies on the sheet and bake approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until dry; cool.
    Yield varies on how you cut them.

Biscotti are normally known as “the boring cookie”.  I’m convinced that once you make this recipe, your perspective on this forgotten Italian cookie will change.  The combination of pistachios and cranberries is great and the faint taste of olive oil adds an interesting flavor.  I’m not a biscotti fanatic, so maybe this is just how they are usually made.  Either way, this recipe is amazing.  By making them from scratch, you aren’t going to knock your teeth off from biting into one either. What are you waiting for?

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Lemon Glazed Cookies
Yields 2 dozen
Ingredients
1 cups butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered (confectioners’) sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup cornstarch (it seems like its a lot, but this amount of cornstarch makes the texture better)
Lemon Frosting (see recipe below)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy using an electric mixer. Add lemon zest and vanilla extract and beat well.
  • Add flour and cornstarch into butter mixture and mix until well combined. The dough might look dry, but give the butter time to “melt” into the dry ingredients. If its too wet looking, you can refrigerate it for ten minutes or so.
  • Roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Place onto parchment paper cookie sheets and bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven, carefully remove from baking sheet, and cool on wire cooling racks since they break easily before being cooled.

Lemon Frosting:
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
⅛ cup lemon juice
1 cup powdered (confectioners) sugar

  • In a medium bowl, combine butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar and beat with a fork.  If the mixture is too dense, microwave it for a few seconds.  If you microwave it too long, no worries.  Just put it in the fridge for a few minutes.  Additional lemon juice may be needed to get the frosting thin enough too.
  • Carefully dunk the cooled cookies into the frosting, since they break very easily.  To make the cookies look even better, grate some more lemon zest and place it on to the tops of the cookies you just dunked.

Even though the fact that these cookies look adorable should be enough motivation to make them, there are many other reasons.  These literally melt in your mouth and sweet and sour glaze is perfect for the otherwise boring shortbread cookie.  The combination is heavenly and nothing short of perfect especially when accompanied by tea, of course.

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Mini Chocolate Chip Scones
Yields 32 mini scones
Ingredients
Scones
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup very cold unsalted butter (frozen)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Glaze
1 cups confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
    In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
  • Cut in butter (It is better to freeze the butter, grate it using a box grater, and then cut it in that way. This method yields the flakiest scones). Stir in heavy cream and vanilla.
  • Carefully stir heavy cream/vanilla mixture into flour mixture. You do not want to over-mix, but due to the amount of dry ingredients it may be tricky to well incorporate the liquid and the dry mixes. You will need to use an electric mixer on a low setting to help coax the dough to cling together.
  • Once dough is beginning to cling together, add chocolate chips and incorporate, and then transfer to a very lightly floured surface
    Knead the dough and chocolate chips together until you are able to form a ball.
    Break the dough into 4 even pieces and round each one out into a disk about 5 inches wide.
  • Cut each into 8 wedges and transfer to cookie sheet.
    Bake for 14-16 minutes.
  • Prepare your glaze by whisking together milk, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. Start with 1 cup powdered sugar, and if it still seems too runny you may increase the sugar amount. If it is too stiff, you can add more milk.
  • Once scones are cooled, drizzle icing on the top of each scone. Allow it to sit and harden before serving.  If you are extra like me, put the icing into a pastry bag or plastic zip lock and cut a very tiny part off of the tip.  Use the piping bag to drizzle the icing on for a neater look.

Out of all of these recipes, this one is the fan favorite.  I have made these a number of times for get-togethers, bake sales, or just given them out to friends.  It was actually the inspiration for this post, as so many people have asked me for the recipe.  These scones are sort of like the fancy version of a chocolate chip cookie but better.  See for yourself and recreate these scones!

 

 

4 thoughts on “Time to Par-Tea!”

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