Tea and Scones

The Tea Shop Girls c. 2008
The Secret Ingredient c. 2011
by Laura Schaefer

Two stories about Annie Green, her grandmother and her grandmother’s tea shop in Madison, Wisconsin.  Having grown up as a Green and a Midwestern girl myself, I just had to like Annie; it was like meeting a long-lost younger cousin.

In the first title, grandma’s tea shop is not doing well.  Business has been hard hit by the corporate competitor down the street.  Annie and her friends help grandma save the tea shop.  In the sequel, Annie experiments with various scone recipes to enter into a baking contest.

In addition to recipes for tea and other tea time treats, The Tea Shop Girls has scrapbook pages of tea lore and vintage tea ads.

Blueberry Scones, Plain Scones, Toffee Apple Scones

I tried three different scone recipes:  Louisa’s Very Best Spiced Blueberry Scones (Tea Shop Girls), Plain Scones (Secret Ingredient) and Toffee Apple Tea Scones (Secret Ingredient).  All the recipes called for specific brand-name ingredients, which I did not have. I just used the generic brand items I had on hand.

The directions for all three recipes called for rolling out the dough, but I don’t know if I measured wrong or what, but none of the doughs were stiff enough to roll out.  They were all very wet and sticky so I just patted them down into a pan and scored the dough before baking.  The Toffee Apple Tea Scones turned out more cake than biscuit-like.

All the recipes from The Secret Ingredient contained a small amount of tea leaf (the secret ingredient!).  I was a little leery about adding tea leaves, but went ahead using my favorite Earl Gray, which added a lovely scent to the Plain Scones and was not really noticeable in the Toffee Apple Scones.

All the scones got a thumbs up from my family.

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