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Valentine’s Day is well known for celebrating love between two people. I feel Valentine’s Day isn’t just for lovers, but for friends and family, as well. After all, these are people you love and cherish. Why not show your love and appreciation for them? Try our selection of Valentine’s Day gifts that are sure to brighten up everyone you love!teagsmg1000037835_-00_a-stash-of-love-gift-set

If you have a tea loving friend or family member, while tea is a good gift, but why not an accessory or an essential? By essential, try a tea kettle or a teapot. One can never have too many of those? If one ever breaks, you can always have extra! As always, our English Tea Store teapots come in many colors and you can choose from 2 cup or 6 cup teapot!

Perhaps the person you love is from the other side of the Pond? Wouldn’t you like to give them a taste of Home? We’ve got our selection of British sweets and chocolate to start off with. Some of our most popular candies include the world famous melt-in-your-mouth Cadbury Dairy Milk and the gooey but heavenly sweet Walkers Toffee. Let your love show their patriotism with their favorite items featuring the Union Jack. Give them a travel mug to sip their tea from or let the world know where they’re from with they’re shopping bag. Or surprise your Across the Pond Honey with a flag of Home! Great Britain, Scotland, and plenty more! Hang it in the kitchen or living room, it will bring a smile!

You can always put a steasvbf1000033494_-00_the-romance-of-tea-valentine-gift-basket_2urprise package together but if you’re strapped for time, try our gift baskets. They’re easy, convenient, and best of all, there’s just about one for everyone! If you know someone who is a fan of mint, we have a mint tea time basket featuring chamomile tea, or someone who is just getting into tea, there is the English Tea Store basket, and then the Deluxe Afternoon Tea for the full English tea experience!

There’s just about something for everyone. Take a look around our site and check out all of our categories!

-CD

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

 

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Christmas is a magical time for everyone but for the children, it’s especially magical. School is out, snow is falling, and presents are unwrapped under a beautifully decorated tree with loved ones. The most important memories are developed during childhood, so it is key to make the holidays special for them. Tradition is taught early on and it sticks with children for years to come. They learn of old family traditions, like bringing out an old family heirloom to hang on the Christmas tree, baking Christmas cookies, or decorating the house, especially hanging Christmas stockings.teatssc1000021391_-00_mars-and-friends-medium-selection-box-181g

teatssc1000015115_-00_cadbury-selection-pack-medium-81g_1Now, about those stockings: they’re usually left empty right up until Christmas, when they’re filled to the brim with goodies and toys! For children, sweets are a big deal, so when shopping for their stockings this holiday season, why not try a candy tube like Maltesers, Rowntree’s Fruit Pastilles, Pink Smarties, or Cadbury Buttons? They’re narrow enough to fit in the stocking and no one will ever see them! Candy tubes are popular during the holidays in the UK and nearly every confection company makes them!

Another popular candy creation in the UK are selection boxes. They range from small to large and they come with all sorts of chocolate. Milkybar and Galaxy also make variously sized selection boxes if you or your loved one fancies these more. Each box comes with a preselected mix of candy bars loved by fans. The hardest part is which one to eat first!

Now I know candy is not entirely good for children, but it’s the holidays and they only come once a year! Let them enjoy themselves before they go back to school and homework!

-CD

 

Come October, most love to say that these last three months of the year are the best. Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are some of the best times for celebrating. What better way to celebrate the upcoming holidays than with chocolate and who doesn’t love chocolate? Starting with Halloween, the sweet celebrations begin. As soon as October approaches, stores begin to not only sell Halloween candy but also Christmas decorations and a few sweets. You may say it’s too early but if you live in the UK and are a fan of chocolate, then it is tradition. This is because chocolate boxes and tins go on sale, and they are some of the most anticipated sweets of the holidays.

teatssc1000015120_-00_nestle-quality-street-tin-820-grams-2016Now these are no ordinary chocolates. These beautiful sweets are colorfully wrapped and in random shapes and sizes. Much like a box of standard chocolates, each package will tell you what to expect in each chocolate, except you can pick whichever ones you like!

Quality Street is made by Nestle, identifiable by the purple box or tub. Quality Street was created after a man named Harold Mackintosh inherited his father John’s toffee factory after his death in 1936 and Harold revolutionized Christmas chocolates. In the early days, only the wealthy could originally afford Christmas chocolates since they were made with imported ingredients but with Mackintosh’s plan to use local ingredients, it lowered the prices of his chocolate and made Chhxm_08_c133_-00_cadbury-roses-tub-2016ristmas chocolate affordable to everyone. His invention, Quality Street, is made in the original factory from 1936. In 1988, Nestle purchased the brand and has owned it ever since. In previous holiday seasons, Nestle has released entire single serve chocolate bars devoted to favorite flavors of Quality Street (like honeycomb crunch and even chocolate green triangle). There has even been a giant strawberry! Quality Street was named after a play written by Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, who was mostly known for writing Peter Pan.

Cadbury Roses are the Cadbury equivalent of Quality Street, launched in 1938 to compete with the main brand of Christmas chocolate. The Roses name apparently comes from “Rose Brothers”. Cadbury Roses have only 10 varieties of chocolates.

teatssc1000020922_-00_cadbury-heroes-11-39oz-323g_1Finally, another hit among chocolate lovers is the Cadbury Heroes. This is a mixture of Cadbury favorites like Dairy Milk, Fudge, Wispa, Dairy Milk Caramel, Twirl, Eclair, and Creme Egg Twisted. The best part of this is that they are all miniatures! These “fun sized” treats come in a range of sizes from small bags, to boxes, to large tubs.

All of these wonderful sweets are delicious and are enjoyed throughout generations. Their popularity is growing throughout the world so it’s no wonder it’s gaining attention here in the States. The tradition of Christmas chocolates have been well-established with British families and now American families can create new traditions with them. Try some today. You will wonder how your holidays ever did without!

-CD

 

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Julia Briggs (c)

Is it OK to say I do not like chocolate cake?  I do make chocolate cakes and I do eat some chocolates, like Maltesers but I have never been a fan of rich chocolate cakes so I make this orange flavour cake and put chocolate chips in and it is good.

You can of course use cocoa powder in place of some of the flour if you want a chocolate colour, you can also use milk, plain or white chocolate chips, I only had white chocolate in stock.  I filled half with orange marmalade and half with lemon curd and butter icing to satisfy the whole family!

You will need: Two 8″ cake tins well greased or one well greased 10″ cake tin. Oven 180 C  350 F  Gas Mark 4

  • 8 oz Butter
  • 8 oz Caster Sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • A few drops of vanilla essence
  • A few drops of orange essence
  • 8 oz Self Raising flour
  • Grated rind of an orange
  • juice of half an orange
  • 4 oz chocolate chips
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Julia Briggs (c)

Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy then add the beaten eggs with a spoonful of flour and the vanilla and orange essence.  Fold in the flour, grated rind, juice and chocolate chips.  Pour into two 8″ cake tins or one 10″ tin.  Cook for 35 minutes until well risen and firm to the touch.  Leave in the tin to cool slightly, using a cake tester or needle prick all over the top of the cake and then mix the other half of the orange juice with a little hot water and pour onto the cake. When slightly cool take from the tin and place on a wire rack until completely cold.

Slice the cake, or not if you have made two!  Spread orange marmalade or lemon cheese on the bottom half then cream or butter icing onto the underside of the top half of the cake.  Sandwich them together and enjoy a piece with a cup of tea.

 

–  JAB

A recipe for those people who have asked for gluten free cake.  I just hope they are okay with cocoa powder!

IMG_5624This is not an airy well risen cake as you can imagine but it does taste nice and especially if you warm a piece in the microwave and serve it with fresh cream or ice cream. It is cooked at a fairly low temperature.

 

 

 

You will need:

  • 5 oz dark chocolate
  • 5 oz butter
  • 6 oz caster sugar
  • 2 oz  cocoa powder
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • An 8 inch cake tin well greased and dusted with cocoa powder

Oven  150 C  300 F  or gas mark 2

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or the microwave and allow to cool slightly.  Stir the dry ingredients together, that is the sugar and cocoa powder and mix in the eggs and vanilla essence then the melted chocolate and butter until well combined.Pour into the tin and bake for 30 minutes.  Cool in the tin for 10 minutes. then turn out onto a wired rack.  You can decorate or just leave it as it is and serve with cream.  It is a very moist cake and delicious with a nice cup of tea.  JAB.

 

 

IMG_5307Who likes Bounty Bars?  Well I do and I did not have any so I decided that I would make some.  They do not need baking and do not take long to make at all.

 

 

 

You will need:

  • 1lb Milk chocolate (I used a big block of Cadbury’s)
  • 3 cups of coconut
  • 1 cup of sweetened condensed milk
  • Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.

Mix the condensed milk with the coconut until you get a thick sticky paste!  The kids will love this bit!  Then using wet hands squeeze and shape into logs and place on theIMG_5305 baking sheet.  This amount should make about 12.  Put the whole thing in the freezer for about 20 minutes, this makes them easier to handle when covering with chocolate.

Melt about two thirds of the chocolate either in the microwave or in a bowl over a pan of hot water and stir well.  Remove from the heat and stir in the last third (if it is still there!)   of chocolate and keep stirring.  By adding the chocolate gradually you can get a better shine on the bars.

IMG_5306Remove the bars from the freezer and using two forks place the bars one at a time into the melted chocolate and cover the whole bar.  Use one fork to lift out a bar and the other fork to remove the excess chocolate.  Place the covered bar back on the baking parchment, do not put on a plate and leave it, I only put them on a plate to take a photo, if you leave them on a plate they will just stick to it!

Allow the bars to set for a couple of hours and then store in an air tight tin for up to five days but not in the ‘fridge because they dry out too quickly.  Five days you say, they will not last five minutes!!  Mine have all gone now but they were very moreish!

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Chocolate cake always goes down well for afternoon tea and my dentist, (whom I saw on Saturday) is very partial to chocolate cake so this is a new recipe just for her.  It is a take on lemon drizzle cake but chocolate cake with a Mars bar drizzle and a chocolate butter cream filling.  I discovered that you could melt Mars bars and drizzle onto cake when I went to the cupboard and found the chocolate gone but one Mars bar left.

Oven 180 C, 350 F or gas mark 4  A greased loaf tin or a sandwich tin.

4 oz butter

4 oz caster sugar

2 large eggs

4 oz self raising flour

1 oz chocolate powder

1 tablespoon golden syrup.

1 Mars bar.

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then add the eggs one at a time with a little flour, fold in the remaining flour and chocolate powder and golden syrup and spoon into your tin.  Bake for 20-25 minutes for a sandwich tin and about 35-40 minutes for a loaf tin.  Always test with a cake tester or needle before taking out of the oven though because chocolate cake always looks done even when it is not.   Leave in the tin to cool slightly before transferring to a wire rack to cool.  Meanwhile make the butter cream with:

2 oz butter

4 oz icing sugar

1/2 oz chocolate powder.

Mix all the ingredients together and beat until smooth.

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(c) Julia Briggs – English Tea Store

Slice the cake and spread all but one tablespoon of the butter cream on the bottom half.  Prick the top half of the cake all over and place on top of the butter cream.  Melt the Mars bar in the microwave for 30 seconds and beat hard with the tablespoon of reserved butter cream.  It will be liquid still.  Pour over the cake and leave to settle.  I made some plain buns and poured it over so you can see how it trickles down into the cake itself.​

Once everything has cooled down the top of the cake looks sticky but not actually covered in a chocolate icing so you can, if you want, cover the top with icing or leave it as it is.  I left mine and it was voted a hit by the dentist!

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(c) Julia Briggs for English Tea Store

Now I know we have already made shortbread but that was some time ago and this is a slightly different recipe because it contains a pinch of salt which does change the taste quite dramatically and then with the addition of the chocolate covering it makes for a whole new taste experience.  You will need:

6 oz softened butter

4 oz caster sugar

8 oz plain flour

a pinch of salt

a small bar of chocolate for covering.

Oven 180 C, 160 C for a Fan oven, 350 F or gas mark 4

Mix all the ingredients together and knead well.  Place in the ‘fridge for half an hour and then roll out onto baking paper to about 1/4 inch thick and slide the paper onto a baking sheet.  Prick the shortbread all over with a fork  and cook for about 20 minutes checking after 15 minutes that it is not too brown. If it is too dark cover with aluminum foil for the remaining cooking time.  Cut the shortbread into strips while still hot and leave to cool.  Once cool, melt any chocolate that you have not already eaten in the microwave and spread on top of the individual strips of shortbread, leaving some uncovered so you can taste the difference between the two.  Enjoy with a cup of Assam or Earl Grey Cream.

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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Back in the 1970’s when we held dinner parties they all seemed to consist of prawn cocktail for starters and Black Forest Gateau for dessert (At least the main course was usually different!)! I, personally, never liked Black Forest Gateau because I am not keen on sickly chocolate but my daughter, Nicola, loves chocolate. In fact anything sweet and sickly is fine by her, so, this week I made a chocolate cake that resembles a Black Forest Gateau and some chocolate buns. Some of the chocolate cake will be going to the dentist because Nicola has an appointment this week but there should be plenty left for her. But there are a lot of recipes out there for chocolate cakes and this is one I have used for some time now. The main problem with chocolate cake is the dryness so I use golden syrup to counteract that. You will need:

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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Oven 180 C, 350 F, Gas Mark 4

An 8″ sandwich tin greased or lined.

6 oz Butter
6 oz Caster Sugar
3 eggs
6 oz Self Raising Flour
2 oz Cocoa Powder
2 tablespoons Golden Syrup
a few drops of Vanilla essence

Cream the butter with the sugar and add the eggs separately with a spoonful of flour, then beat in the golden syrup and Vanilla essence. Fold in the flour and cocoa in a figure of eight motion and pour the mixture into your prepared tin.  Bake for approx 35 mins. Test by pressing your fingers on the top or use a cake tester. Leave in the tin for a few minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool.

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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

For the fudge icing you will need:

4 oz butter
4 tablespoons of Milk
4 tablespoons soft Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons of golden syrup or black treacle
1 lb Icing Sugar
2 oz Cocoa Powder

You will also need half a jar of black Cherry jam.

This amount will sandwich a cake together and coat the top and sides. Melt the butter, milk, sugar and treacle and beat in the icing sugar and cocoa. Allow to cool slightly.

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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

Slice the cake into two and spread the bottom half with black cherry jam and the top half with the fudge. Sandwich together. Use the rest of the fudge to cover the sides and top of the cake. Decorate the top with whatever you have, I used chocolate chips and small marshmallows. This is good for an afternoon tea.

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(c) Julia Briggs for The English Tea Store, all rights reserved.

If you want to make some buns as well you can use a 6 inch cake tin and a six bun tray or make more mixture, 8 oz of butter etc., instead of 6.

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(C) Julia Briggs for the English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

With the end of Lent we have Easter eggs and other such niceties and one of our favourites at this time of the year is Easter nests.  They are so easy to make you can even get the children involved, although watch out for things being popped into mouths!  My daughter loves to help with these but she like licking the bowls out best of all!

You will need:

8 oz Cadbury’s milk or plain chocolate bar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 oz butter
3 ozs cornflakes or rice crispies
36 mini chocolate eggs (plus extra for eating whilst making!)
12 paper cases.

No baking is required; they are just chilled in the ‘fridge when done.

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(C) Julia Briggs for the English Tea Store. All rights reserved.

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt together with the golden syrup and butter, either in the microwave or over a pan of hot water.  Stir until smooth, be careful not to get the chocolate too hot!  Stir the cornflakes in until they are all coated in chocolate and divide the mixture between the 12 paper cases.  Put the paper cases into bun tins otherwise they spread too much.  Press three chocolate eggs into the centre of each nest (always assuming there are 36 eggs left!)  They should resemble bird’s nests with eggs in.  Chill in the ‘fridge for about an hour or until set.  They keep well in an airtight tin but only if you hide the tin away from prying eyes and fingers – otherwise they will all be eaten on the same day that you make them!

~JB

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