We just hosted our second annual cookie exchange tea, and it was a smashing success. The halls were decked and “fa la las” played quietly on the background while we sipped our cups of cheer. In this case the cups of cheer were a spicy cinnamon black tea and a blooming jasmine tea. The cinnamon tea went far in creating a warm holiday mood, and several pots were consumed. The menu included three types of tea sandwiches, two types of scones, and of course, cookies brought for exchange.
For sandwiches, I made a traditional cucumber sandwich, and discovered the joys of a mandolin slicer for those paper-thin slices. I also made salmon salad sandwiches on thin whole wheat bread. The salmon salad was very simple, and they were quite a hit. I just took a can of salmon, drained it and mixed it with enough mayo to moisten it and hold it together, and threw in dill until it smelled yummy enough. My five year-old niece may or may not have been responsible for the disappearance of several of these sandwiches. The third sandwich was a granny smith and brie sandwich on brown sugar cinnamon bread.
Our scones were pumpkin, from 1001 Cookie Recipes and saucer scones from The New Book of Tea. The pumpkin scones were a huge hit. They were wonderfully fluffy. The traditional scones were good, but the yield was quite small, only seven scones. So it’s great for a small family of two or three, but needs to be doubled for a party.
The lemon bars. Oh, the lemon bars. Lemon may not be the most wintry of flavors, but I couldn’t resist the recipe in a Better Homes and Gardens cookie magazine from a couple of years ago, The 100 Best Cookies. It was a fabulously easy recipe, with a press-in crust.
All in all, it was a great way to spend an afternoon with family.
By Stephanie Hanson