Are you a coffee or tea drinker? Tea is my drink of choice and I’m fairly knowledgeable about various teas and their health benefits. Honestly, I’ve become a bit of a snob about my tea and definitely prefer brewing loose tea over using purchased teabags.
A new tea shop recently opened in our neighborhood and I’ve been intrigued by their tea blending classes. I am always able to talk myself out of taking the time or money to treat myself to this, however. So I am pleased when a staff member gets me a gift certificate for the tea blending experience for Christmas. I get to try another “new thing”.
It takes about 6 weeks to organize this event on my calendar but I finally arrive at my tea blending class. We hear some history of tea and the health benefits of the various ingredients on our table to blend with our tea.
We have scales to measure 1 ounce of a tea base: black, green or green rooibos. Then we can add various ingredients and taste the tea until we have a blend that is our “cup of tea”.
The class provides for two 2-ounce bags of our blended tea creation. There are so many intriguing ingredients to blend with the tea bases. There are cards on each ingredient that list health benefits and suggest pairings. Available ingredients include: chamomile, hibiscus, lavender, rose petals, safflower, lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint, allspice, star anise, cocoa nibs, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and rainbow peppercorns. There is also bee pollen, licorice root and stevia for natural sweeteners.
I make a green rooibos blend with cocoa nibs and cinnamon chips and name it Mexican Green Rooibos. My green tea blend is blended with lavender, rose petals and cardamom and I name this blend Floral Green. I think they are both delicious!
What drink is your proverbial “cup of tea”?
My next “new thing” is not a brand new thing but rather a resurrection. I revisited a recipe I tried at least 15 years ago and decided I could not make – scones. I was always so disappointed in my baked scones since they were nothing like I’d had in England and not even as good as American scones. Since I have acquired some baking and pastry skills over the last 10 years, I decided to try one last time to make scones that taste like the scones I had in England.
The thought started in January when I received my first issue of Tea Time magazine as a Christmas gift from one of my staff members who also takes great pleasure in a cup of tea. This is a fun magazine to wallow in on a weekend afternoon – with tea of course!
There are several scone recipes to try in the issues I’ve received so I start with the recipe that seems most basic. I followed the ingredient list exactly, however, I used some techniques that make other baking and pastry endeavors successful for me.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons cold salted butter, cut in pieces
- 1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon cold heavy whipping cream
For starters, I use my food processor to mix the dough. This appliance led to my success with pie pastry since mixing manually was leading to overworked and tough pastry.
Next, rather than rolling the dough and using a biscuit cutter, I form the dough into two disks and cut wedge shaped scones. I’m the only female in the house so there is no need for fancy scones. Again, less handling of the dough produces better results for me.
I brush the tops with a hit of cream, as called for in the recipe and bake as directed.
These scones turn out exactly as I hoped and are delicious with some lemon curd or jam. Although it’s been many years since I ate scones in England, these have the texture and taste that I remember and I will definitely make this recipe again.
What recipe have you given up on over the years? Maybe it’s time to try again…