Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Afternoon Tea

 Friend Sally and I are hosting a Downton Abbey Tea next Sunday at her house.     For guests and we're filled to the rafters.    (Well, not really, but all of her tables are full.)    You remember Sally -- she has the lovely Victorian house that was on the Homes Tour that I helped with.      Her lovely house at Christmas has been undecorated and tables set for tea.

Put an event just doesn't happen.    You have to plot and plan!      Last week, she came to Linderhof and because it was cold, we had tea in the parlor.    In front of the fire.     But tea in Downton Abbey style -- with real china (instead of my beloved blue and white), the silver and an antique cloth!

The wing chairs pulled up to the tea table.     They were soft and comfy as we sipped and nibbled and discussed tea food.

In true Downton Abbey style.    The silver, china, and good linens.    The Duchess would approve!

There is nothing cozier in my opinion that tea in front of the fire.     Especially on a cold January day. We did decide on all of the tea treats we will serve.     And we polished off a fair amount of these delightful "biscuits" (as Lady Mary would say).

High Tea Lemon Cookies, they're called and they're easy to make and oh, so good.    But I am especially fond of lemon!    Of course, at Downton, it's never High Tea -- it's always Afternoon Tea. High Tea is the "supper" of the common man, not elegant ladies sipping tea and nibbling wee sandwiches in the parlor!

The dishes are Aynsley Pembroke.    The cups and saucers date from the turn of the 20th Century.    The tea plates date from sometime after the 21st Century and were part of my bargain find last January -- a whole set of Pembroke for $40!

The lemon cookies I found on line.    I am extremely fond of frosted or glazed cookies.    And the lemon flavor was really intense.      These, however, did not make the cut for our Downton Abbey tea on January 18.


2 cups butter, room temperature*
2/3 cup powdered (confectioners') sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cornstarch**
Lemon Frosting (see recipe below)
* Very important - please read! You must use room temperature butter (not softened or melted butter).  The recipe is correct.

** Yes, this is correct - use 1 1/2 cups cornstarch.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy looking. Add powdered sugar; mix until light and fluffy. Add lemon zest and vanilla extract; beat well. Add flour and cornstarch into butter mixture and mix well until well combined. NOTE: At first the dough will look dry - but don't worry, as the dough slowly comes together as you mix it and the butter melts into the dry ingredients.
Do not refrigerate this dough, as the butter will harden and make the dough unmanageable for rolling to a ball.
Using your hands, roll cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets and bake 15 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Remove from oven, carefully remove from baking sheet, and cool on wire cooling racks (when warm the cookies are delicate).
When cookies have cooled, spread Lemon Frosting onto top of cookies.
Yields 6 dozen cookies. 

Lemon Frosting:
This recipe makes enough for a double batch of cookies.
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/3 to 1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
4 cups powdered (confectioners) sugar

In a medium bowl, combine butter, lemon zest, lemon juice, and powdered sugar; stir until well mixed. NOTE: Additional lemon juice may be needed to get the frosting thin enough.
You can also thin the frosting with additional lemon juice or water and dip the top of the cookie into it. This technique is much faster and easier.

It is Tuesday and I'm sharing my Afternoon Tea with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage for Tea Time Tuesday and with Bernideen for Friends Sharing Tea and Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday


Margie said...

I can just imagine the Dowager and Isobel having tea at your parlor. You can also celebrate Joanne Froggatt's Golden Globe Award win at your Downton Abbey tea on Sunday.

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Your tea looks very cozy in front of the fire, Martha. A wonderful way to spend a cold January afternoon. I like your silver and china and the cookies look delicious. Lemon is always a favourite. Thanks for joining me for tea and have a splendid week.


Bernideen said...

Oh how wonderful! You are the perfect person to have this too! I imagine the food will be incredible!

Bernideen said...

So glad you shared this perfect recipe too which I a printing!

Martha's Favorites said...

Everything is perfect! It was a lovely visit. Blessings, Martha

MomWaldsPlace said...

If that is how you are planning the party, we can just imagine what the actual party will be like!

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

Your cozy tea in front of the fireplace looks like the perfect place to inspire the planning of a DA tea.

Beth in NEPA said...

Beautiful tea setting. I did copy the recipe but after reading it I can see I will have to plan a bit of time to make them. They sound great.

Gentle Joy said...

What a beautiful tea time and room.... very cozy. :)

Rosemary said...

What an absolutely beautiful Downton Abbey style tea setting! Can't wait for the followup post with more photos!

Scribbler said...

This looks much like my recipe for shortbread (with the cornstarch), which are my favorite cookies. Just curious why it did not make the cut? I love intense lemon flavors, and will give this a try, perhaps this weekend.

Miss Jane said...

What a lovely setting for tea, it has inspired me to try something similar with a small table I have.
Thank you for your 'definition' of High Tea, it's perfect. Just one of those little peeves I have about the proper reference to tea or afternoon tea.
The cookies look delicious! It sounds like your Downton Abbey tea will be a big success. Have you seen all the DA items at World Market (aka Cost Plus)?

Pondside said...

What a cosy time you and your friend must have had, sipping and planning in front of the fire. I found this post rather inspiring, as our fireplace is in the dining room and I could never imagine lighting a fire during dinner - too, too hot. Lighting a fire for tea, though would be perfect!


Beautiful setting by the fire and a true Downton Abbey style, they would certainly approve!
I love the cookies. Thanks for the recipe, I always make yours.

Michelle said...

Beautiful! I love that you take the time to drink tea with pretty things in today's busy world!