I’ll admit that the food is my favorite part of throwing a tea party. It means I have an excuse to bake crazy amount of cookies, scones and cakes and I get to eat a lot because everything is smaller.
For my party I’ll be revisiting some of my staples, jazzing up a few favorites and sharing some of my go-to recipes.
Sandwiches (1-3 Different Types)
Scones (Usually 1-3 Flavors)
Cookies ( 1-3 Types)
Must have condiments: clotted cream or devonshire cream, lemon curd and jam
*Optional Crumpets, Petit Fours, Fruit Strudels & Macarons
For the sandwiches I like to keep them simple but flavorful and 3 different types it really my maximum. Salmon with Dill & plain cream cheese, cucumber and vegetable flavored cream cheese, PB&J, chicken-apple-walnut, turkey and cranberry, tuna salad and egg salad sandwich to name a few. To help people differentiate all the types try using different breads.
White and wheat are pretty obvious but there’s also rye bread and even mini croissants; for a completely different spin you could even serve something like the tuna in hollowed out cucumber cups.
Next up are the scones and what I would argue are one of the most vital parts of your tea party. I prefer my scones to be dense, rich in flavor and ever so slightly sweet; none of this sickly-sweet, light and fluffy stuff for me, save that for the cupcakes. Scones are meant to be eaten with spread and that’s where I want the sweetness to come from.
I’ve tried many recipes but I always come back to THIS recipe from Better Homes & Garden and for step-by-step instructions you can check out my post HERE. It’s the perfect basic recipe and I often switch up the basil and strawberries for orange zest & cranberries, or The Husband’s favorite, bacon-cheddar and chive scones. If you’re going to change it up just eye ball it (the recipe is pretty forgiving) and hopefully you’ll love it as much as I do.
*Tip: Double the recipe and hold off on adding any flavors; strawberries, bacon etc. until you divide the dough into balls. At this point go ahead and make each ball a different flavor if you want variety but not the extra work.
Cookies. Not necessarily something that all tea houses serve but I like having them because everybody likes cookies. Plus they double as another way for me to eat more lemon curd or clotted cream or both at the same time; I’m sure you get the picture.
I enjoy a good variety and usually go with a mix of something like a sugar or rosemary shortbread cookie, gingersnaps, madeleines, white chocolate-macadamia nut and chocolate chip. Each type of easy to make and sugar or shortbread cookies could always be made with cookie cutters that match the party theme or just circles. As an added bonus if your fridge is getting full from all the party food these cookies all freeze well; just be sure to pack them in flat layers separated with parchment paper and take them out to thaw at least 2 hours before the party.
For a salad I keep it simple and get a tub of pre-washed greens (I prefer the 50/50 blend of spinach and spring greens) and toss in a small can of mandarin oranges, a handful of dried cranberries and some sunflower seeds for garnish. Quick and easy with things I usually have on hand at the house.
If you’re not a fan of this type of salad a ceasar works too and the pre-made bags from the grocery store are perfect because really, people aren’t here for the salad but at least eating a little bit of it might make them feel better.
Cupcakes aren’t a must have items but they’re miniature and that makes them worthwhile. If you have the time these are a great addition to a tea party and you can use my go-to cake/cupcake recipe from THIS post (use the box instructions for baking times) to make any flavor you’re hankering for; top them with THIS buttercream recipe or THIS whipped cream frosting and you’re done. It may be worth mentioning that if you want leftover put a few of these aside before the party because afterwards there won’t be any.
Like the green salad I like to throw a little fruit into the mix and if you have time fruit salad served in little bowls is adorable and healthy but I also like these little pudding filled cookie bowls topped with fruit. Instead of cool whip I used instant chocolate pudding (made the night before) and ta-dah, another impressive creation and everything is edible!
Last but not least are what I’m calling the condiments. I don’t actually make the lemon curd or the clotted cream but if you want to there are lots of great recipes online; I just haven’t given them a go yet. Instead I’ve found that lemon curd can be bought at Trader Joe’s and devonshire cream can be purchased at Cost Plus World Market and it’s not cheap ($7.99) but it’s the only place I can guarantee will have it.
As for macarons, petit fours and crumpets, again I will leave this up to you. The macarons add a bit of fancy but they’re time intensive, expensive but still really, really good; same goes with petit fours unless you want to use THIS cheater recipe. I’ve tried making crumpets at home and it was a huge flop. Unfortunately for me that was right before a big tea party and they were a mess, I was a mess and it’s not something I’d recommend. If you have to have crumpets (they’re a cross between english muffins and pancakes) take my advice and purchase them from the refrigerated section at either New Leaf Community Market or Trader Joe’s; you’ll be out $4 for 8 or 6 but it’s worth it.