Tag Archives: scones

Downton-inspired tea for “Downton Day”.

1920s silver teapot and cup and saucer on display at the Ainsley House in Campbell, CA.

1920s silver teapot and cup and saucer on display at the Ainsley House in Campbell, CA. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Today is the last “Downton Day” of the year  – the final episode of Downton Abbey Season 5 airs tonight on KQED/PBS at 9 p.m. Pacific time. This season’s plot has brought the Crawleys and their servants into the mid-1920s, and nobody’s lives are settled and secure, as usual.  What better way to catch up on the doings and happenings in this fictional world than with a cup of tea and some treats at the ready?  Look in the tea party pantry for some English tea-time favorites, like scones (you can use a mix or buy them ready-made), cream, jam, and cakes.  You can make an elaborate spread suitable for the Dowager Countess, or a simple tea table that would make Mrs. Patmore and Mrs. Hughes, or Lady Rose’s Russian refugees comfortable.

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Last chance this weekend for tea at the Dickens Fair!

Brochure and complimentary teapot from High Tea at Cuthbert's Tea Shoppe.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Brochure and complimentary teapot from High Tea at Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace in Daly City closes this weekend, and tea at Dickens is still as popular as ever!  The Dickens Fair runs weekends only, between the Friday after Thanksgiving and the Sunday before Christmas; it’s open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today (Saturday) and tomorrow (Sunday, December 21).  General Admission is $30 at the gate, but you can get disounted tickets if you know one of the workers or performers. Take a look at these other articles for more information about having tea at the Dickens Fair:

“How to have afternoon tea at the Dickens Fair in San Francisco”
“Review: Cuthbert’s Tea Shoppe at the Great Dickens Christmas Fair”
“Take tea with Charles Dickens for two more weekends at the Dickens Fair”

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Review: Sticky Fingers Red Raspberry Scone mix

Sticky Fingers Red Raspberry Scone mix.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Sticky Fingers Red Raspberry Scone mix. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach

Scone mixes are a good item to keep in your tea party pantry for those times when you don’t have 30 minutes to make a batch of scones from scratch, but you still need something to eat with tea, and you want something a little more special than toast.  Enter the packaged scone mixes!  With the company tag line “homemade taste for modern lives,” Sticky Fingers was the first brand of scone mix that I saw in San Jose-area stores, and it has expanded to include several flavors that are available in local Safeway, Target, Nob Hill, and Cost Plus World Market stores, as well as Lisa’s Tea Treasures in Campbell and at Santana Row.  The scone mix is packaged in a foil-lined paper sack, and includes enough dry ingredients for 12 medium-sized scones; the only ingredient that the user needs to add is water, but you can enrich the scones by adding milk, cream, or a combination of those and water when you mix up the scones.

The company website says that all their mixes contain no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, trans-fats or saturated fats.  Ingredients for the Red Raspberry mix include: unbleached enriched flours (wheat flour, malted barley flour, niacin, iron, thiamin, mononitrate, riboflavins, folic acid), sugar, canola oil (with ascorbic acid and rosemary added to preserve freshness), buttermilk powder, leavening (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate), freeze dried raspberries, natural flavor, and salt.

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Review: Sconehenge Original English Tea Scones

Sconehenge Original English Tea Scones 4-pack. Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.

Pre-made scones make an appearance in the San Jose area! For those who don’t know, scones and biscuits are very similar, and they can both be either sweet or savory; they contain most of the the same basic ingredients (scones usually have eggs, while biscuits don’t), but they are combined differently and result in different textures — scones are crumbly and biscuits are flaky. Pre-made crumpets have already been offered in upscale grocery stores like Trader Joe’s for several years, but up until last year, scones had to be homemade, or ordered at a local tea or coffee shop. Last year, some Safeway stores in the Bay Area started selling pre-made scone dough in the refrigerated food aisle, but Whole Foods stores in Campbell, Cupertino and Los Gatos are now carrying pre-baked, packaged scones from Sconehenge Bakery. Sconehenge Bakery is a family-owned bakery and cafe in Berkeley, California, which has actually been around for several years, but their products are only now appearing outside the Berkeley and San Francisco areas.

I received a 4-pack of Sconehenge’s Original English Tea Scones as a gift recently; they had been purchased at Whole Foods in Campbell. Sconehenge Original English Tea Scones contain unbleached flours (it’s not specified what kinds of flour are used, but I suspect pastry flour and all-purpose flour), buttermilk, butter, eggs, sugar, baking powder, and salt. That is the ingredient list for just about any basic homemade scone – no chemical preservatives – so that’s good to see. The package label reads, “The recipe for SCONEHENGE hand-made scones contains no artificial additives and is adapted from that used by an English monastary to attract long lines of appreciative patrons.” The whole “baked by monks” story could be debatable, but the taste and texture of the scones aren’t: they’re really good!

The scones had good flavor, and tasted homemade, with no chemical preservative off-flavors; they are crumbly like a scone should be, and sweet, but not covered in frosting like scones sold at coffee shops. They are sweeter than I make my scones (I tend to make my scones only slightly sweet, so you can pile jam or lemon curd on them and not be overwhelmed by the sweetness), but tasted surprisingly fresh for a packaged baked good. Even after a few days (in the fridge), the scones didn’t taste stale, and although they had a firmer texture, they were still crumbly and had good flavor. I wouldn’t say they are better than homemade, but I will say they’re just as good!

For those who want to taste Sconehenge scones fresh from the oven, (or are attending the Berkeley Coffee & Tea Festival this weekend!) visit their bakery and cafe, located at the corner of Shattuck Ave.. and Stuart St., where you can sit and eat breakfast and lunch, as well as buy their baked goods. Their menu offers Mexican breakfasts, as well as American pancakes, waffles, and other favorites. Be advised that the cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays.

Sconehenge Bakery and Cafe
2787 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA, 94705
510-845-5168

Sconehenge products include 16 scone flavors, including Raspberry, Crystallized Ginger and Lemon, Peach, and Honey Pecan, as well as English muffins, galettes, cookies, brownies, and shortcakes. They all sound like good additions to the tea party pantry. The scones are highly recommended, for convenience (even though making scones is not really complicated) and for flavor. I will definitely look for these again, and try some of the other flavors. When you don’t want to heat up the house by turning on the oven, and can’t take the time for afternoon tea at a local tea shop, but you crave a scone, Sconehenge scones are a great solution!  Pair them with lemon curd, jam, or clotted cream, make a nice cup of tea, and you’re set!

Copyright 2012, Elizabeth Urbach.

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For more information:
Sconehenge Bakery website
Sconehenge Bakery Cafe menu
Sconehenge Bakery and Cafe review on Yelp
Sconehenge Bakery and Cafe review on Chowhound
Review of Sconehenge’s Honey Pecan English Tea Scones on Snacktion
Basic scone assembly video with Chef John on YouTube
List of Bay Area treats
“What should I keep in the pantry for tea parties?”
“Favorite tea-time recipe from Gourmet magazine: Meyer lemon curd”
“Slightly spooky savory black olive scones for Halloween”
“Review: Lisa’s Tea Treasures – Campbell location”
“Tea 101: what do we mean when we talk about tea?”
“Tea and food pairings for black teas”
“Review: afternoon tea at Satori Tea Bar”

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