Hi there! I’m Carol Ann and have I got a fun recipe for you.
Here it is.
Invite someone old, (an old friend) someone new, (a person you recently met and liked a lot) someone borrowed, (ask one of your guests to bring along a friend of their own) or maybe two, (ask both of your guests to bring along a friend). Add a little tea and lots of conversation and there you have it – A sharing Tea.
If you have a home which you love and enjoy why not share it? If you collect pretty things why not invite others to enjoy those things too? If you like to cook and bake why not share your recipes with friends? As you reach out to others in friendship you’ll be reaching into yourself and coming up with creative and fun entertaining ideas.
Any Afternoon Tea or Sharing Tea can be as simple or as fancy as you like. I enjoy hosting one tea every month choosing a different room or setting each time. The room dictates the number of guests I invite, the type of food I serve and the level of formality. If I’m serving at a table a high tea could be in order consisting of hot food (savories) as well as desserts. All sorts of dishes and glassware would be used to serve and dress up the table. Flatware would be needed too, but if I’m hosting in a room without a dining table the food would be simple and finger-friendly.
This month my Sharing Tea will take place in the living room of my 1853 home and since this room is small tea will be an intimate affair with only two guests – one old friend and one new friend. The refreshments will be limited to cookies, and of course the tea, though sherry and liquers might easily be offered as well.
Though I do enjoy cooking, baking, and presenting nice refreshments to my guests, I have learned that food is not the most important thing at a Sharing Tea. It’s not even the tea that’s most important. It’s the sharing. Guests seem to enjoy learning about each other, sharing their stories, passions and ideas. Guests are delighted by each other, inspired by each other, and they really seem to enjoy the opportunity to step out of their busy lives and share in a peaceful and personal setting. Restaurants have their place, but being invited into someone’s home is very special and doesn’t happen often enough in my opinion. Refreshments are nice but simply an accompaniment to all the fun we have in sharing.
As hostess it’s my job to see that everyone is comfortable and feeling welcome and relaxed. It’s a fun job! I believe hosting a Sharing Tea is a gift of hospitality given with a personal touch… and when you give good things come back to you – friendships.
So I pull out one of my favorite tea books, “English Tea and Cakes” and look up a recipe for gingerbread cookies which I’ll make for my guests…
Ingredients: 2 and 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour,1 tsp baking soda, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 stick of butter, scant 1 cup of soft light brown sugar, 1 egg, 4 tsp corn syrup, 4 tbsp royal icing, silver decorations, parchment paper decorating bag.
Process: Sift the flour, baking soda and ginger into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your finger tips until you have a mixture resembling fine bread crumbs. Add the sugar and mix.
In another bowl, beat the egg and corn syrup together. Tip it over the flour mix and stir well. Keep sprinkling over flour and working until you have a lovely smooth dough.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and leave in fridge to chill 30 minutes, but an hour would be better.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line 2 baking sheets.
Roll the dough out on a slightly floured board to a thickness of a 1/4 inch. Cut out required shapes and bake 12 to 15 minutes. Leave to cool slightly on baking sheet before transferring o wire wrack to cool completely.
I bake the gingerbread into the shape of the Hudson Clocktower, a famous landmark in my town.
Gingerbread is also shaped into stars which I decorate.
Together they make a simple, but pretty presentation.
I add some frosted molasses cookies…
Ingredients: 4 cups flour, 1 tsp salt,1 cup butter, 1 cup dark molasses, 1 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1/2 cup hot water, 1 and 1/4 tsps baking soda
Process: In a large mixing bowl combine flour and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender. In a separate bowl combine molasses and sugar, then beat in the egg. Dissolve the soda in the 1/4 cup of hot water and add to molasses mixture. Gradually stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture and beat until well blended. Cover bowl and chill several hours. Turn dough onto floured pastry board and roll to 1/4 inch thickness for a sift cookie. Cut rounds with a cookie cutter and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes. For frosting mix powdered sugar with a bit of water.
add some shortbread which was baked earlier and stored in an air-tight container
and select the tea cups and linen.
A Sharing Tea is the perfect time to share all those pretty things I love and collect.
And the table is set and ready for my guests.
And there’s the doorbell now!
It’s Joni, one of my dear old friends
and she’s brought me a pretty plant. How sweet of her.
Minutes later Kelly appears. She’s one of my new friends.
She too has a pretty plant for me.
Didn’t I tell you? – when you give good things come back to you.
So we all get settled in the living room, the candles are twinkling, I pour the tea
And the sharing begins!
Now that you have the recipe for a Sharing Tea isn’t it time you have one of your own?