An Excuse to Make Teatime Delights

There are two things I simply love: hosting parties and baking excessively. You would think these two things would go together more often than they do. Sadly, I have a small home and a vaguely reclusive husband. As such, I only host once in a great while. And when I do, I can’t just make one thing. I must make all the things.

First, the bad news:

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When a recipe says to cool for half an hour before flipping, LISTEN. Or else you end up with this mess. Which is really, really, really depressing and basically made me cry. I now have nothing. I am very sad. I tried to salvage half of it. It didn’t work. I have nothing but crumbs. They’re delicious crumbs, though, so that’s nice. It was grapefruit and blackberry. Sigh. I was so sad I made my husband put on an episode of an old standby comedy. It helped until I tried to get the other half out. Sigh. Oh well. Not every cake can be perfect.

So instead, I made a grapefruit poppyseed loaf.

And heart-shaped chocolate cookies sandwiched together with jam.

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And lemon curd.

And mini scones.

And a veggie platter with herbed cream cheese.

I have a problem.

Also, I got a huge pile of new clothes that I have no room in my closet for. I DON’T CARE but there you have it.

Anywho, here are the recipes that I used today, if anyone has need of some teatime treats in the near future:

Grapefruit Poppyseed Loaf

  • Servings: 12 slices or so
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups AP flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • zest of 1 grapefruit
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup poppyseeds

Directions:

  1. Liberally grease a loaf pan (perhaps flour the bottom, as well, mine was a bit sticky). Preheat your oven to 350°.
  2. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt) in one bowl. In another, whisk together the wet ingredients (yogurt, sugar, eggs, grapefruit zest, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, and poppyseeds).
  3. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  4. Put in greased loaf pan and cook for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean in the middle. Allow to cool in the pan 10 minutes before flipping.
  5. If you want icing, mix a few tablespoons of grapefruit juice with a half a cup or more of powdered sugar. Pour liberally over the top.

Mini Cream Scones

  • Servings: 20-25 mini scones, depending on size
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 tbsps sugar
  • 1 1/4 baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsps unsalted butter
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (+ 1 tbsp for brushing the tops)
  • Demerara or Turbinado sugar, for the tops

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425°.
  2. In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
  3. Cut in the 4 tablespoons of butter with a pastry blender or your fingers (but be aware your fingers will heat up the butter, which you don’t want). When the butter is the size of peas, add the 1/2 cup of heavy cream and mix with a spoon until it forms a shaggy mess. Add more heavy cream as needed to make sure you sop up most of the excess flour.
  4. Sprinkle flour over your work surface. Gently kneading the dough, form it into a coherent blob, then roll it out to about 1/2″-1″ thick or so. You can make them fatter if you want, but you get less. Cut out as many little scones as possible. I tried to use a biscuit cutter but it was still bigger than I wanted, so I ended up using a miniature Moscow Mule cup I bought my husband for Christmas, heavily floured each time so the scones wouldn’t stick. They were delightfully adorable with the Moscow Mule cup, and rather large and clunky with the regular biscuit cutter.
  5. Once cut out and on your cookie sheet, put in the freezer or refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. This will help your scones retain that adorable shape you just made.
  6. Brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle with chunky sugar (Demerara or Turbinado) and bake for 5-8 minutes, or until they are golden brown on top.
  7. Allow to cool on pan for about 5 minutes before putting scones on a wire cooling rack.
  8. Enjoy with jam and lemon curd.

Lemon Curd

  • Servings: 1 cup lemon curd
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup juice and zest of 3-4 lemons.
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 6 tbsps butter

Directions:

  1. Stir all the ingredients together in the top of a double boiler set over medium heat. Whisk or stir constantly, being sure that nothing is sticking to the bottom.
  2. Continue to cook for 15-20 minutes, until the mixture starts to thicken. It should coat a spoon. The curd will thicken more as it cools.
  3. Remove it from the heat and spoon into a bowl. Rub a piece of butter over the top and then place plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use. Keeps 5-7 days.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies

  • Servings: 2 dozen or so cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups AP flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy (either a hand mixer or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat on high speed. Scrape down the bowl as needed.
  2. Sift together the flour and cocoa powder in another bowl. Whisk in the salt and baking powder.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients on slow speed.
  4. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll out each part in between wax paper, parchment paper, or cling wrap. Then put it in the refrigerator for 1 hour. You refrigerate the dough so the butter doesn’t melt too much in the oven (and make sad, misshapen cookies). You roll it out first because hard, refrigerated dough is hard to roll.
  5. After an hour, cut your cookies into desired shapes (I did adorable hearts). Preheat your oven to 350º. Bake your cookies for 8-10 minutes (mine were good at 8).* Allow to cool for 5 minutes on pans before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
  6. After they are completely cool, spread one cookie on the flat side with jam, then stick the flat side of another cookie on the jam to make a delicious chocolatey, jammy sammy.

*NOTE: Always, with cookies, never put them straight on the pan. I suggest investing in silicon baking sheets (these things have changed my life) but you can always do parchment paper (just make sure your oven isn’t too hot, otherwise it’ll burn) or definitely grease your pan.

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