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English Scones/Teddy Bear Tea

It seems like tea time is catching on in the U.S.  There are tea shops and tea houses opening everywhere and articles extolling the virtues of tea time in numerous publications.  I always thought it would be nice to have tea time with my kids when they got home from school -- they always seem to be starving at that time of day -- but alas, I was a working mom when my children were that age, so they were left to their own devices for after-school snacks.  Had I been a stay-at-home mom, though, this is a recipe that would have made regular appearances at tea time -- simple, fast, not too sweet, filling, endless variations, and yummy!

Last fall I held a Teddy Bear Tea for my grand-daughters, their mothers, and my mother and mother-in-law.  Their invitations encouraged them to dress up (hats were required :) and to bring their favorite bear with them to the party.  It was a more formal English tea with three courses:  a savory course, a scones course, and a sweets course.  This recipe was part of the scones course.  We had a great time and the little girls especially loved it.  I think it may have to become a yearly event!

You can add anything to this basic recipe -- raisins, craisins, any snipped dried fruit (apricots or cherries are especially good), chopped nuts, chocolate chips, a layer of cinnamon sugar in the center, etc.  Let your imagination go crazy!  Or you can keep them plain and dress them up when serving with jams, jellies, nut butters, fresh fruit and whipped cream, etc.

A nice cup of herbal tea, hot chocolate, or milk goes great with them.  Start your own tradition!

English Scones

2-1/2 Cups regular gluten free rice flour mix or four flour bean mix
1/2 Cup granulated sugar
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 Cup (6-1/2 Tbsp) cold butter, cut into small cubes
1 Cup heavy whipping cream
1 large egg

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.  Using a pastry blender, cut butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, whisk together cream and egg.  Pour into flour mixture, and stir until dough is just combined.  (If it seems too dry, add a little more cream.)  Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead gently 4 or 5 times.  Pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick disk, and score into eight pie-shaped pieces.

Transfer to parchment lined cookie sheet.  Brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 15 to 18 minutes at 425, or until scone tops are golden brown.  Remove scones from oven and brush with melted butter.

Serve warm with toppings of your choice.  Enjoy!

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