Monday, 19 May 2014

Tea Cakes and Tea

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy Victoria Day!  Today we had a small picnic to celebrate.  In Canada, Victoria Day was established to honour all present and past ruling Monarchs of the British Empire, which Canada is a part.  The holiday is held dear to Canadians as it marks the beginning of summer planting, the beginning of the final month of school, but most importantly, it heralds the beginning of the glorious warm months ahead.

Being an American, transplanted in Canada, I am always willing to celebrate.  Any holiday is good with me. Why not celebrate the Monarchy of Canada. On this day, tradition calls for fireworks, bonfires, a pack of 24, and being with family (which by the way I do think is all very grand).  But, I would like to propose a new tradition. How about serving tea cakes with tea? Sound very Monarchy-like, doesn't it? What do you think? Why not give them a try! I hope you love these treats like we did. 
Here is our Victoria Day Tea inspired picnic...

Tea Cakes(from The Kitchen Scoop )
makes about 2 dozen

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling cakes
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup sour cream

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and well blended. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, and mix in vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg and add to butter mixture, alternating with tablespoons of sour cream and mixing well. Wrap dough in plastic wrap or sheets of wax paper and chill 4 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Dust a cutting board with flour and roll out dough until it’s about 1 inch thick. Cut out cookies with a 3-inch round cookie cutter or use a drinking glass about the same size. Put tea cakes on a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove cookies from baking sheet and cool on a rack. Store in an air-tight container.

Raspberry-Lime Mint Tea 
makes about 8 cups

4 mint tea bags
8 cups of boiling water
1 cup of raspberries
1 lime, juiced
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar

1. In a medium size container (I used a saucepan), pour boiling water over the 4 mint tea bags. Set aside to brew.
2. In another small saucepan, over medium heat, combine 1 cup of water, sugar, lime and one cup raspberries.
3. Allow the mixture to come to a boil. Lower heat to allow the mixture to simmer for a 5 minutes to ensure that the raspberries are cooked through and to infuse the taste of raspberry throughout the sauce.
4. Remove raspberry sauce from the heat source and mash with a potato masher or fork.
5. Remove tea bags from the brewing mint tea.
6. Through a medium mesh sieve, pour raspberry sauce into the mint tea (This step is to remove the large chunks of pulp).
7. Allow the tea to come to room temperature then refrigerate.
8. Serve cold.

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