January 05, 2021
Tea can be served year-round. But there’s something especially cozy and comforting about a warm cuppa on a cold winter’s day.
Share some snuggled sentiments and host a tea party, whether it’s an intimate gathering for your immediate family or a virtual event with friends near and far.
To accompany the tea, you’ll need light treats that can be sweet or savory. Remember that tea party foods are not designed to be a meal. Think of them as finger foods, no silverware required. If you’re serving tea at the traditional British time, around 3 p.m., you don’t want to spoil your dinner, either.
We asked Rebecca Proctor, our creative director and chief brand officer, for one of her favorite tea party sweet recipes, Maple Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Scones, from the website floatingkitchen.net. She loves these scones, which have roasted cranberries and bits of dark chocolate, because they’re sweet but not too sweet.
For savory, we’re going with classic Cucumber Tea Sandwiches, with a few variations on the ingredients.
Maple Cranberry and Dark Chocolate Scones
1 cup fresh cranberries, thawed if frozen
2 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup quick-cooking oats
2½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
¾ cup cold buttermilk
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chopped dark chocolate
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread the cranberries out onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Then drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the maple syrup. Transfer to your preheated oven and roast for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool completely.
- In the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the cold butter and pulse until you have a coarse crumb.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract, and the remaining tablespoon of maple syrup. Then add this liquid mixture to your food processor and pulse until the dough has just barely come together. Be careful not to overmix the dough.
- Transfer the dough to a large bowl and use a wooden spoon to fold in the roasted cranberries and chopped dark chocolate. Then turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper dusted with flour and use your hands to shape the dough into a round disk, flattening it so it’s about 1 inch thick. The dough will be slightly wet and tacky. You can flour your hands to help prevent the dough from sticking to your hands.
- Using a round biscuit or cookie cutter (I used a 2¾-inch biscuit cutter), cut out circles and place them on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Reshape the dough scraps and continue cutting out circles until all the dough has been used up. Sprinkle the tops with sugar, then transfer the baking sheet to your preheated oven and bake the scones for 17 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Remove the baking sheet from your oven and allow the scones to rest for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to continue cooling.
These are best when enjoyed on the day of baking. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for one to two days and rewarmed slightly before eating.
Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
1 English cucumber
Sliced bread of your choice
Herbed cream cheese
Fresh herbs for garnish (dill, thyme, mint, basil, etc.)
- Thinly slice cucumbers. Dab with a paper towel to remove moisture.
- Spread herbed cream cheese on sliced bread.
- Place slices of cucumber on half of the bread slices, overlapping to cover bread completely.
- Cover with remaining bread slices, remove crusts, and cut in quarters.
- Garnish with fresh herbs and serve immediately.
- Instead of cucumbers, use thinly sliced radishes.
- Make tea sandwiches with ham salad, chicken salad or egg salad. Enhance each of these with additional herbs and citrus zest.