Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sweet Tea Treats

Hello ladies! I apologize for not participating in last week's installment of the Gracious Hospital~i~ Tea Blog~a~ Thon, but things have been busy and priorities must be set. When my flesh and blood family needs me, that must take precedence over blogging. I'm sure all you wonderful homemakers understand.

This week's theme is, "The-Sweet-and-Savory-of-Yummy." I must admit that the very first thing that came to my mind when I was reading the description given on the Gracious Hospitality blog were not recipes for tea time treats. It was a memory of my late mother. When I was about 10 years old, she and I started planning for and having official "tea times." We did not have a lot of money, but we would take what we had and split it between us. Then we would set off to town on "grocery shopping day" with our pocket money. At the time, our mall had a Pepperidge Farm store. Back then, it was not just a small area in the middle of the mall walkway put up during the Christmas season. It was an entire store and it was open all year long.

The two of us would each take a basket and split up. (It was a small store and we could be within sight of each other the whole time.) Now it was time for the fun to start. We would pour over the selections. Picking out different or odd flavored teas, treats, and chocolates. Whatever hit our fancy and was within the budget of our pocket money. I especially remember that one of us would always pick out a Tolberone. The store had all manner of teas, goodies, and chocolates that could not be found on any ordinary grocery store shelf. We would enjoy looking at all the pretty teapots and teacups they had. I still have an affinity to unusual teas, gourmet chocolates, and beautiful teapots.

We would eventually consider ourselves done and checkout one behind the other. After we got home we would get all the groceries that were purchased put away and then lay out our tea time finds. Each ooing and ahhing over the other's choices. Then, all the items were packed into a basket and placed atop the refrigerator. We had our designated "tea time" marked on the calendar and so now all we had to do was wait. Sometimes the day we picked was far enough in the future that we would be able to make two or three trips to the Pepperidge Farm store before our special tea time arrived. This made it all the more fun because there would be that much more to choose from for our tea party. Sometimes we would get down our basket just to peruse it's contents and oohh and ahhh some more.
Then, once our special day arrived we would adorn our table with lace, teacups, and teapots. We would bring our basket down and choose what we wanted to use. A bit of this, some of that, and I've been dying to try this! We would arrange it all on the table in a pretty manner. Once the table was set, my mother would turn on some classical music and we would sit down to our long awaited tea time. It was such fun.

It's so strange the things you remember. I don't really remember any conversations we had during these tea times. What I do remember is all the fun we had preparing for them. (To this day I love nothing more than the preparations involved in any type of dinner event.) I remember the music and some of the tea flavors we chose. And, being female, of course I remember the chocolate!

My mother always taught me that it matters not how much money one has but how one chooses to use it. We did not have a lot of funds at all, but we were able to have some wonderful, almost elaborate tea times because we planned so much and did a bit here and a bit there. I'm so glad my mother taught me that.

I was in my late 20's when she passed. She has been gone now four years. Such a strange feeling really. But I am so thankful for the lessons I learned from her. They are enough to last my lifetime.

Now, in the spirit of this post and the topic given for this week, I have went through my mother's recipe files and picked something that I think would be just perfect for a ladies tea. They would look very nice on a pretty platter with a paper doilie underneath.

I hope you enjoy.*~*~*~*~*

Honey Almond Twist
6-7 C. bread flour
1/2 C. sugar
2 tsp. salt
2 pkg. dry active yeast
1 C. water
1 C. milk
1/2 C. butter
1 egg

1/3 C. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbls. butter, softened

1/4 C. sugar
1/4 C. honey
2 Tbls. butter
1/2 C. slivered almonds

Grease two cookie sheets. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In a large bowl, combine 2 C. flour, 1/2 C. sugar, salt, and yeast; blend well. In a small saucepan, heat water, milk & 1/2 C. butter until very warm. Add warm liquid and egg to flour mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat 3 minutes at medium speed. By hand, stir in additional 3 C. flour until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

On a floured surface, knead in remaining 1-2 C. flour until dough is smooth and elastic with blisters under the surface, about 10 minutes. Place dough in greased bowl; cover loosely with plastic wrap and/or cloth towel. Let rise in a warm place until light and doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down several times to remove all air bubbles. Allow dough to rest on counter covered with inverted bowl for 15 minutes. In a small bowl, combine 1/3 C. sugar and cinnamon; set aside. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 25x6 rectangle. Spread each with 1 Tbls. margarine. Sprinkle with sugar-cinnamon mixture. Starting with longer side, roll up tightly; pinch edges to seal. Twist each roll, stretching slightly. Form a pretzel shape; tuck ends under to seal. Place on greased cookie sheets. Cover, let rise in a warm place until doubled in size ~ about 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover dough. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheets; place on a wire rack. In a small saucepan combine all glaze ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Spoon hot glaze over warm breads, completely covering tops and sides.

Makes three 16 slice coffee cakes.


Kathy said...

Your recipe looks wonderful. Your mother must have been a very special woman. She left you with such lovely memories to cherish. Thank you for sharing the sweet story of your mother-daughter tea parties.
Kathy@ Mimi's Garden

La Tea Dah said...

What precious memories of your mother! And what a wonderful memory to have --- your special anticipation for tea and the great tea-times you shared together. It makes me teary just reading your post. My own mother passed away 3 years ago, and she was another 'tea lady' just like your mom. . .and you. . .and me. We had some very special tea times together. Usually our goodies were homemade (sometimes quite simple) but the table was always very well set and mom always had a bouquet of fresh flowers for a festive touch. Thank you for your sweet story. What wonderful memories to cherish and hang onto. And thank you, too, for the recipe.


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

It was so enjoyable to read about your special shopping trips culminating in beautiful teas. What comfort those lovely memories must bring of happy times shared with your mother and loved ones.

The recipe sounds delicious! I love coffee cakes.

Charli and me said...

What a great post! I love the story of you and your mother. What soecial times and memories you have. You are truly blessed!

Grace Yaskovic said...

such a wonderful post full of special memories, I can't wait to try your recipe

BumbleVee said...

Oh, yum!! a keeper. I have just begun to use yeast and try breads.... no longer a "yeastaphobe" this should be one to try.

ellen b said...

Blessings on your wonderful memories. Thank you for the recipe!!

Steph said...

What a wonderful memory of your mother and you, shopping for your tea time!

HisBeloved said...

Thank you for a beautiful post. It made me tear up and you are so right; it's not how much money you have but how you use it.

God bless you!

Jenn said...

What a special lady your mom must have been. How wonderful the memories she left you with. I wish I had purposely done the same with my girls when they were young, but then for me it was more surviving. As I didn't grow up around the arts of homemaking, I learned much later down the road. Thanks for sharing. I've learned a lot from fellow bloggers in the last 8 years!! =)