Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Time For Tea

Unsurprisingly, I am one of the bajillions of people throughout the World who loves a good cup of tea! It really is so comforting and can fix about anything.

I also happen to have a newly formed obsession with tea cups and tea pots. I love them. There is something so delicate and pretty about a good tea set. And they just make you feel you are doing something really special when you are having a cup of tea; it turns it into an occasion. (No, I don't get out much.)

For my birthday this year I decided to hold an afternoon tea party and I used this as an excellent excuse to start a collection of vintage teacups, saucers, plates and tea pots. My main source was eBay; I did trawl though charity shops but they were sadly lacking in what I wanted. I also borrowed a beautiful tea set from my Nanna, which she gave me under strict instructions that it was not to be broken because it was an engagement present for her and my grandad when they got engaged FIFTY YEARS AGO! Needless to say I informed everyone of this and no one dared use them! It's one thing breaking an eBay find but another breaking something so special and with so much meaning.

But did you know in all my searching I did not find a tea pot that I loved? I was very disappointed in this. I think I have mega high tea pot expectations and also imagine some perfect vintage specimen that may or may not exist. 

I am getting to the point I promise...

So in lieu of an actual tea pot, I went to my happy place (Hobbycraft) and purchased a tea pot cookie cutter. Hooray! And I was rather pleased with the results!

So, for the biscuits, I used a recipe from the BBC Good Food website and it looks a little like this:

140g icing sugar, sifted
1tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
250g butter
375g plain flour

- In a food processor, pulse together the icing sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolk and butter
  until combined
- Add in the flour, mix it in, then bring it altogether to a firm dough
- Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20-30 minutes
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 fan/Gas 5
- Roll out the dough to the thickness of two £1 coins
- Bake for 10-12 minutes
- Decorate!

I love this recipe because it is super simple - anything that reduces the amount of mess I make by using a food processor is fine with me. I also halved this recipe because I knew I was just going to practice the decorating and didn't need a mass of cookies. Half the recipe made 10 cookies.

So, being new to this, I have no photos of those steps, but I did remember half way through the decorating process. Hurrah! :D

There is some fondant on the cookies but I mostly used royal icing for the decoration but cheated slightly! Did you know Silver Spoon do a quick royal icing sugar that you just have to add water to? Best invention, EVER!

I got my design in mind and set to putting it together, starting with the fondant, which I plonked in the middle of the cookie.

Ta da!! I then edged the cookies with a thicker icing and then flooded with a thinner batch. I'm not so great with the flooding so I had to shimmy it about with a cocktail stick.

Sadly one teapot lost its spout along the way so it was only right and proper that I ate it....

I then waited until the green bits had dried and then added the white bits.

I then waited again for more drying to occur and added the last little details - some beading and liney things.

For the finishing touches, I added some pink fondant roses and flowers, and a bit of leaf, and voilĂ ! Tea pot cookies! 

I enjoyed making these even if they are a little time consuming, And I love the taste of the crumbly biscuit against the smooth icing. Yum! In the absence of a vintage tea pot, I would happily make do with these!

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