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Some recipe suggestions for tea time

July 25, 2012
By ESTHER MCCOY - Food editor ( , The Herald-Star

There are many accompaniments to go with tea.

There are flavored syrups, for example, to add to iced tea that makes trying to dissolve the sugar a thing of the past; flavored ice cubes; and ingredients that can be blended and added to tea for a different taste.

In 2003, Eileen Cozart, a fan of my food column, sent me a little book called "Tea Temptations," with recipes compiled by Shannon Jeter Gridley.

Article Photos

Dainty cookies, miniature muffins and tiny sandwiches are all part of a tea party, along with a perfect tea and accompaniment. The Smithfield United Methodist Women held a fancy tea in June, and this was part of the display.
-- Esther McCoy

I have some ideas and recipes to share with you from it, as well as recipes from the "Favorite Recipes Cookbook" from the Friends of the Weirton United Way that was sent to Summer Wallace-Minger, Weirton Daily Times community editor.

The tea book notes that all those clover blossoms on your lawn can be put to use in a flavorful tea. Gather tender leaves and blossoms when full grown and dry at room temperature. When dry, rub into small particles. Seal in a jar to help retain flavor. Use 1 teaspoon of the clover particles in each cup of boiling water. Brew in cup or teapot as usual for any tea. Sweeten with clover honey.

Simple syrup has been around for ages, but the recipe specifications might not be known. It is simply 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar mixed and boiled together for 10 minutes. This can be cooled and stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed jar. It makes a quart to be used as a liquid sweetener according to taste and sweet tooth.

A mint-flavored syrup for iced tea is made from 1 cup both sugar and water boiled together for 5 minutes and then 1/4 cup chopped mint added. Add 1/3 cup lemon juice with mint for a lemon-minty syrup.

A syrup with a more citrus flavor can be made from 2 cups sugar, 2 1/2 cups water, mint, juice and rinds of 2 oranges and 6 lemons. Dissolve sugar in water and boil 10 minutes. While hot, pour over unstrained fruit juices and rinds. Add two large handfuls of bruised mint. Cover with a tight lid overnight. Strain and store. Suggested proportion is to use 1/4 cup syrup for an 8-ounce glass of tea. Makes a quart.

This is a recipe called Blender Ice Tea from the "Tea Temptations" book.

Blender Ice Tea

2 cups cold water

1 1/2 tablespoons instant tea

2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice

4 maraschino cherries

2 teaspoons sugar

1 cup cracked ice

Put all ingredients except for the ice in a blender until smooth. Serve over the cracked ice.

Now for all the delicacies served at a tea. This is a banana bread with butterscotch morsels added, and it makes two loaves, so one can be frozen for another tea party. It is a recipe from Kathy Castelli of Weirton from the Friends of Weirton United Way Cookbook.

Butterscotch Banana Bread

3 1/2 cups flour

4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teapoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups ripe bananas

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup melted butter

1/2 cup milk

2 2/3 cups chopped pecans or walnuts, divided

12 ounces butterscotch morsels

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. In a large bowl, beat banana, sugar, eggs and butter until creamy. Gradually add flour mixture, alternately with milk. Mix until well blended. Stir in 2 cups nuts and butterscotch morsels. Pour batter equally into two well greased 9-by-5-inch loaf pans. Sprinkle top with remaining nuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes and remove from pans. When cool, wrap in foil or cling wrap and let rest for 24 hours, as it will improve the cutting and flavor.

Here is another quick bread recipe. It is from Earl Ray and Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, governor of West Virginia and first lady.

Strawberry Bread

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon

2 cups sugar

3 eggs beaten

1 cup vegetable oil

Two 10-ounce packages frozen sliced strawberries

Combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Mix well. Combine eggs, oil and strawberries. Add to dry ingredients and mix well. Pour into two greased 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pans. Bake an hour at 350 degrees or until wooden pick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.

This is a dainty cookie and is from Eulah Hawkins of Colliers. I didn't make the cookies as yet but it looks as if it will make a large amount.

Apricot Cookies

1 1/2 cups margarine

8-ounce package cream cheese

2 tablespoons lemon juice

4 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon peel

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Jar apricot preserves

Powdered sugar

Combine margarine, sugar and cream cheese until well blended. Blend in eggs, lemon juice and lemon peel. Add combined flour and baking powder. Mix well. Chill several hours or overnight. Shape level measuring teaspoons of dough into balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheets, flatten slightly. Indent center and fill with preserves. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Marian Houser and I have always liked biscotti, and this recipe from Lori Hurd of Weirton looks like a winner.

Best Biscotti

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

1/2 cup craisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour and baking soda in a large bowl with mixer on medium speed until combined. Add chips and craisins. Mix well. Divide dough into two parts. Roll each into 12-inch logs. Place on ungreased baking sheet 3 inches apart. Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. Place upright on baking sheet. Return to oven for 10 to 12 minutes until golden. Cool completely.

This recipe has been around for awhile, but it always looks attractive on a tray of cookies. And they are really tasty. The recipe is from Rose Goettel.

Mini Cheesecake Cookies

Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Vanilla wafer cookies

Can cherry pie filling, or any fruit filling of your choice

Place mini-cup cake paper liners, preferably ones that are very firm so they won't collapse, on a baking sheet. Put a wafer in each cup. Fill 3/4 cup with cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and when cool, top each cookie with the filling.

Here is a no bake cookie that my sister, Dorothy Toth, makes at Christmas time. This recipe is from Teddi DiStefano of Baltimore, originally from Weirton.

No Bake Rum Balls

8 ounces toasted and cooled pecans

9-ounce package chocolate or vanilla waters

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup rum

2 tablespoons corn syrup

Zest of an orange

Decorating sugars or granulated sugar

In food processor, pulse pecans until finely ground. Add cookies and pulse until fine. Add powdered sugar, cocoa powder, run, corn syrup and zest. Pulse until thoroughly mixed. Roll mixture into balls. Decorate by rolling in sugars. Store in air-tight container.

This is another no-cook cookie that is almost like a candy. The recipe is from Mary Walters of Weirton.

Oreo Balls

One package Oreos

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

White chocolate for outside coating, melted

Crush Oreos and mix with cream cheese. Make into balls. Put in freezer for 15 minutes or until firm. Take out and place a toothpick in bottom of ball and dip in melted white chocolate. Slide tooth pick out between fork blades and place on a dish or cooling rack until it dries.

(McCoy can be contacted at

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