Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tea parties

I whole-heartedly prefer a 'proper' cup of tea to coffee. My mornings usually begin with a cup of strong English tea with a splash of milk. No sugar of course. And often the evenings come to a close with another cuppa.

It should come as no surprise, that I adore tea parties. But seriously, who doesn't? I remember my first tea set was a tiny porcelain Barbie set that I arranged around a little table for my stuffed animals. No we didn't have tea... my childhood tea parties featured Coke. But hey, its still a brown liquid, so I think that counts for something.

High tea, wherever its origins may stem from, are the epitome of a tea party with dainty finger sandwiches, scones, and pastries. I'm fortunate enough to have a niece who loves tea parties (or maybe its just the desserts) as much as I do.

Recently, I had to throw a baby shower for my best friend and she requested a Mad Hatter tea party theme. Naturally, I was in charge of decor, sweets, and a few baked savories.

I've recently found a lot of recipes, or rather recipe ideas from Pinterest. Though some aren't all that successful, I found an idea for colorful lollipop cookies that were super festive and appropriate for our mad hatter tea.

They were quite easy, but just a little tedious. They can be made with any good rolled sugar cookie dough, or even the pre-made sugar dough that comes in tubes. 

Since the baby shower was in the afternoon, I made an assortment of pastries that included  blueberry and banana muffins.

I really wanted to make some desserts using puff pastry, but as I had already been baking for a couple days, I decided to go with some pre-made dough. They rolled up nicely into some sugary caramelized palmiers.

The spread included muffins, scones, madeleines, sugar cookies, mini blueberry cheesecakes, mini chocolate cheesecakes, chocolate mousse, gougeres (cheese puffs), cheese straws, finger sandwiches, and an assortment of hot teas and chilled beverages.

Overall the baby shower was a huge success. I also made a gender reveal cake, and guests were able to guess the gender of the baby. Though it was a tea party on a grand scale, I thoroughly enjoyed the variety of baking, and at the end of the day was able to kick up my feet with a cup of tea.

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