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Post by Ashley from mode of grace
source: ManhattanMaven

A crisp chill in the air is all the excuse needed to cozy up on the couch with a good book and a cup of your favorite tea, flavored with honey, of course.   In the words of Alexandra Stoddard, who calls tea the “way to serenity”: “Tea.  Say the word and begin to breathe deeply.  Sigh, knowing you’ll experience a moment of tranquility and elegance.  With ever-greater chaos and noise all around us, we desperately need moments of peace, contentment and grace.  Tea… can satisfy this yearning.”  A cup of tea can calm a nervous stomach, bring peace to a restless interior, relax an over-active mind, enrich a cozy chat, and warm a hardened heart.  Its perfect compliment, in my opinion, would have to be: scones.  While many may consider themselves too busy to stop for a lengthy chat over a tea and scone, there seems to be something rather noble about such a practice, and I encourage everyone to try it out.   That means you, too, Fence-sitters.

It just so happens that on a busy street corner in upper Manhattan sits, what I consider to be, an undiscovered treasure where dreams come true.   Alice’s Tea Cup is the quintessential haven for young ladies wanting to revisit their child-hood days, children ready to enjoy a blissful afternoon of fantasy and great food, or that artsy couple looking for a whimsical spot for a lunch date.  

Step off the street, trot down a few steps into the cozy interior, and what would meet your eyes but pretty tea things and butterfly wings.  This Tea Cafe boasts a charming decor based off of “Alice in Wonderland” and everything is designed to transport you to a world of imagination and wonder, from the vast assortment of tea, blended to suit the tastes of even the most seasoned connoisseur, scenes featuring the Mad Hatter and the White Rabbit, right down to the pleasant waitresses, who serve you in a skirt and apron.   If you’re ever in New York, please stop by — and take me with you!  The gold-embellished porcelain china and tea pots are sure to please.  May I recommend the “Chapter II” branch

In this atmosphere, disconnected from the hustle and bustle of busy New York life, I had the best scone I have ever tasted.   Made fresh, it was thick, with a perfect textural combination of moist and scone-like, dribbled with heavy cream and sprinkled with sugar.  The only improvement could be a sizable slice of fresh butter to complete the delight.   

Fortune smiled upon me this week.  I found the recipe for their “Mixed Berry Scones” online and rushed home from work to try my hand at making them.  Voila!  Success!  A batch of 20 scones, flavorful, moist, and surprisingly easy.   I had to share the recipe with you.  Pair the scones with your cup of hot tea and weather out the winter.  Now that’s something to sink your teeth into.  Bon Appetit!

Mixed Berry Scones by Alice’s Tea Cup

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/4 cup hulled and quartered strawberries
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (for brushing)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for sprinkling)

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

2. With clean hands, work the butter into the dry mixture until it is thoroughly incorporated and has the consistency of fine breadcrumbs.  (I used an electric food processor with fine results).  Add all the berries and stir well.  

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour buttermilk and vanilla extract into well.  Still using your hands, combine the ingredients until all the dry mixture is wet, but do not knead!

4. Turn mixture onto a floured surface and gather dough together.  Gently pat the dough into a disk 1 1/2 inches thick.  Using a 3- or 3 1/2 inch biscuit cutter (a knife works well, too), cut out as many scones as you can and lay them on a nonstick baking sheet.  Gather remaining dough together lightly to cut out more scones.  

5. Brush the top of each scone liberally with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake the scones for about 12 minutes, or until lightly browned.  

Do YOU have a favorite scone recipe to share??

*Alexandra Stoddard’s quote is from: “Tea Celebrations: the Way to Serenity.”

*The recipe is also available online here

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