By Jenny Harper
Mix It Up With Jenny
It's true — the kitchen is the heart of the home. Ever notice how people always gather there? Whether baking treats, making dinner or spending time with family and friends, the kitchen is my favorite place to be. Since my day job is Consumer Test Kitchen Project Manager for the NestlÈ Test Kitchens, you can bet I love to stir things up. This column lets me pass along to you some of my best recipes, tips and baking secrets.
Ok, ladies, when was the last time you had a tea party? It might have been when you were little, dressing up dolls and teddy bears for pretend tea and cookies. Well, I'm excited to relive some of that simple joy and host a real tea party as a bridal shower.
I'm looking forward to showering the bride-to-be with the affection of good friends and a delightful array of tea-time treats. And it will be fun to dress up a little, too.
If you'd like to host a bridal shower tea, try some of these easy ideas:
* Set out your best dishes and silverware. If you can, mix and match vintage pieces for a charming, old-fashioned look. Add some pretty floral napkins and fresh flowers and you'll have a beautiful table in no time.
* Food for a tea party should be light and fresh. An assortment of finger sandwiches, scones or muffins, fresh fruits and a vegetable tray could be set out buffet style. Serve fresh juices, sparkling ciders and, of course, a good selection of teas. And don't forget dessert! These Zesty Orange Cookie Cups are simple to make and are just the right size to serve with tea.
* Send each guest home with a special-tea souvenir. Give them each a colorful teacup filled with packets of tea. And for an extra touch, add a flavored honey stick, too.
For more bridal shower recipes worth celebrating, visit VeryBestBaking.com.
Zesty Orange Cookie Cups
Makes 48 cookie cups
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups (12-ounce package) NestlÈ Toll House Premier White Morsels
2 large eggs
1 can (14 ounces) NestlÈ Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon orange extract
1 tablespoon grated orange peel (1 medium orange)
PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 48 mini-muffin cups.
BEAT butter and sugar in medium mixer bowl until creamy. Add flour; beat until mixture is evenly moist, crumbly and can be formed into balls. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Press each ball onto bottom and up side of prepared muffin cups to form wells. Place 5 morsels in each cup.
BEAT eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk. Stir in sweetened condensed milk and orange extract. Spoon almost a measuring tablespoon of mixture into each muffin cup, filling about 3/4 full.
BAKE for 15 to 17 minutes or until centers are puffed and edges are just beginning to brown. Upon removing from oven, gently run knife around each cup. While still warm, top each cup with 8 to 10 morsels (they will soften and retain their shape). Cool completely in pans on wire racks. With tip of knife, remove cookie cups from muffin pans. Top with grated orange peel just before serving. Store in covered container in refrigerator.
Love lemon but not crazy about orange? Simply substitute lemon extract for the orange extract and use grated lemon peel (2 lemons needed).
Nutrition Information per serving: 130 calories; 60 calories from fat; 7g total fat; 4.5g saturated fat; 20mg cholesterol; 50mg sodium; 15g carbohydrate; 0g fiber; 11g sugars; 2g protein
Source: NestlÈ, Family Features