Bee Mine Tea Party

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Normally I would save this draft to share next year closer to Valentine’s Day (which I might forget to do and it will be lost will all my other drafts!) but I can’t wait to share this, it was too much fun.  For Valentine’s Day this year me and my girls threw a “Bee Mine” themed tea party.  But these ideas would work well for a spring tea or party as well.    I have thrown tea parties for over a decade now, but as my daughters have gotten older I knew I wanted to give myself a little break and have more tea parties that involve them.  Luckily I am friends with all of their friends moms so it makes it fun to have their friends along with the moms so we can enjoy it together.  It was so much fun, I don’t know if I could have another tea party without them!  While my tea parties have always been special to me and I still really enjoy that time with friends, there is something about little girls at a tea party that makes my heart happy!  And I know my girls won’t be young for long, and I want to enjoy this while I can.  I involved them in all the planning, cooking, and decorating too.
I made the invites by printing the wording on pink cardstock and adding some embellishments made with my Silhouette cameo.  The bee and hive I found in the Silhouette store but the heart I made by fusing hexagon shapes together.  Don’t ask about how much time I wasted getting that right…

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I have lots of flowery tea party linens so we used those to decorate, along with some flowery teapots and a beehive pot as well.
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The girls helped make a pinata using a 12″ balloon (I think?) and we cut strips of crepe streamers to glue around, cutting fringe on the bottom half.
I hung it from our light with a grapevine wreath and some bees we made from yellow pom poms.  We wrapped them with black pipe cleaners and attached vellum heart wings.  They were hung with some thread, or you could use fishing line too.
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I printed the menu out and added a cute bee clipart to the top, and made the lettering in grew, yellow, and black.  I like putting the sweets and savory in different colors.
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I used the “Sparkling Nectar” recipe from Lucy’s Fairy Garden party, found here.  I am always amazed at how much the kids love this.  A 2 liter of 7 up mixed with a bottle of cranberry juice.  Easy!
For the adults I made Hibiscus tea.  You can buy this in bags, I just steep dried hibiscus, it’s the same thing.
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I made some “honeycomb snack mix” using my old monster munch recipe, using honeycomb cereal instead of chex, and dipping half the pretzels in black meltys with yellow sprinkles, and the other half of them in yellow meltys with black sprinkles and using valentines m&m’s in place of the reese’s pieces.
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Bumble bee pretzels were a big hit.  Just dip large pretzel twists in white meltys and sprinkle with sanding sugar for some wing sparkle.  Place close together on wax paper.  Let dry.  Dip the top third in yellow meltys and place on top of 2 twists.  Carefully add strips with yellow and black nonpareil  sprinkles.  Let dry.  The yellow should “glue” the rod to the wings.
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And of course honeycomb candy!

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And bee themed sugar cookies of course.  The wings had to get a little luster dust too 🙂
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Cupcakes were chocolate with yellow buttercream, and a bumble bee made from marshmallow fondant.
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Scones and honey butter!  Just whip butter with a little honey for the honey butter.
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For the sandwiches I made Artichoke, Radish, and Curry Chicken.
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Plus some kid sandwiches.  I made all of them using this bee and hive Tovolo sandwich cutter we had.
Some I made with P”BEE” and honey, and the others into fairy bread.

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For fairy bread, just spread bread with frosting or butter and liberally coat with nonpareil sprinkles.  I did yellow for the hives and black for the bees.  Fairy bread is ALWAYS a hit with kids.
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I was excited to put my “Bee happy” cookie mold from House on the Hill to good use too!
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This was the best part.  I didn’t even take many pictures, I was enjoying watching the girls have fun so much!
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If you have never had a tea party with little girls, you are missing out!
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You can see them in the background a little, I forgot to take a picture, but we made “roses” from hershey kisses for each guest to take home along with a plastic ring that had a bumble bee with a heart that said “bee mine”.  My little one found them at the cake decorating store and couldn’t resist. 🙂

Curry Chicken Tea Sandwiches

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Tea parties or not, these are good anytime.  The curry butter is optional, but it does keep the bread from becoming soggy and also gives more curry flavor.  I dare say these are a favorite at any tea party I’ve ever thrown.
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CURRY CHICKEN TEA SANDWICHES

wheat bread
sliced almonds

For Curry Chicken:
2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 cup currants
salt and pepper to taste
mayo, enough to make moist and spreadable

For Curry Butter:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp curry powder
salt to taste (if using unsalted butter)

Make curry butter: Combine butter with curry and salt if using.  Mix until well combined and soft.
Make curry chicken spread:  Combine everything in a medium bowl until well combined.
Spread bread of choice with a thin layer of curry butter.  (I like wheat best with this spread).
Generously spread curry chicken spread on one slice and top with another slice of bread, cut off crusts and into triangles or fingers.
Spread curry butter on ends and press sliced almonds into butter.

Curry Chicken Tea Sandwiches

Ingredients

  • wheat bread
  • sliced almonds
    For Curry Chicken:
  • 2 cups finely chopped cooked chicken
  • 1 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 cup currants
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • mayo, enough to make moist and spreadable
    For Curry Butter:
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • salt to taste (if using unsalted butter)

Instructions

Make curry butter: Combine butter with curry and salt if using. Mix until well combined and soft.
Make curry chicken spread: Combine everything in a medium bowl until well combined.
  • Spread bread of choice with a thin layer of curry butter. (I like wheat best with this spread).
  • Generously spread curry chicken spread on one slice and top with another slice of bread, cut off crusts and into triangles or fingers.
  • Spread curry butter on ends and press sliced almonds into butter.
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    Pimento Cheese Tea Sandwiches

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    The first time I made these I wasn’t sure how everyone would like them, but the number of requests for the recipe assured me everyone loved them.
    This spread keeps well and can be made a day or two ahead of time.

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    PIMENTO CHEESE TEA SANDWICHES

    8 oz cream cheese
    1/4 cup mayonnaise
    1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
    A few drops hot sauce, optional
    4 oz jar pimentos
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    2 T chopped fresh parsley
    1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    1/2 cup chopped pecans

    In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayo, Worcestershire, hot sauce, minced garlic, and the liquid from the jar of pimentos (reserving pimentos).  You can also combine this in a food processor.
    Stir in the reserved pimentos, parsley, cheese, and pecans.
    I like to serve this on white or sourdough bread.

    Pimento Cheese Tea Sandwiches

    Ingredients

    • 8 oz cream cheese
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1 1/2 tsp Worcestershire
    • A few drops hot sauce, optional
    • 4 oz jar pimentos
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 T chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

    Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, mayo, Worcestershire, hot sauce, minced garlic, and the liquid from the jar of pimentos (reserving pimentos). You can also combine this in a food processor.
  • Stir in the reserved pimentos, parsley, cheese, and pecans.
  • I like to serve this on white or sourdough bread.
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    Radish Tea Sandwiches

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    One of my favorite tea recipes!   You may think… radish sandwiches?… RADISH?!  But trust me, this is one of those recipes that nobody understands until they try it.
    I love them and have never served them to anyone and they not agreed.  The raw radish and green onion is very refreshing and while you could serve them on any bread you like, I never like them quite as much as when served on dark rye bread.  Plus, they look so lovely on a tray with other sandwiches for some contrast.
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    RADISH TEA SANDWICHES

    8 oz pkg cream cheese
    mayo to make spreadable (usually a couple spoons)
    salt and pepper to taste
    2 green onions, thinly sliced
    1 bunch radishes, ends trimmed
    Dark rye bread

    Beat the cream cheese, mayo, and salt and pepper until softened.   Shred the radishes and squeeze extra moisture from them.  (Either squeeze them in a tea towel or take a handful at a time and squeeze out the moisture.)
    Fold the green onions and radishes into the cream cheese mixture.   Spread on dark rye bread, top with another slice of bread, and trim crusts.  Cut into fingers or triangles and serve or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate no more than a day until serving.
    If making ahead of time you can mix up the cream cheese mixture and add the green onions a day or two ahead, but I wouldn’t add the radishes until the day of, or spread on bread until the day of as well.  The radishes, even when squeezed of extra moisture, will make the spread watery and bread mushy.

    Radish Tea Sandwiches

    Ingredients

    • 8 oz pkg cream cheese
    • mayo to make spreadable (usually a couple spoons)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
    • 1 bunch radishes, ends trimmed
    • Dark rye bread

    Instructions

  • Beat the cream cheese, mayo, and salt and pepper until softened. Shred the radishes and squeeze extra moisture from them. (Either squeeze them in a tea towel or take a handful at a time and squeeze out the moisture.)
  • Fold the green onions and radishes into the cream cheese mixture. Spread on dark rye bread, top with another slice of bread, and trim crusts. Cut into fingers or triangles and serve or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate no more than a day until serving.
  • If making ahead of time you can mix up the cream cheese mixture and add the green onions a day or two ahead, but I wouldn't add the radishes until the day of, or spread on bread until the day of as well. The radishes, even when squeezed of extra moisture, will make the spread watery and bread mushy.
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    Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

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    While cucumber sandwiches are some of the most basic, they are also a big favorite.
    The nice thing about cucumber sandwiches is that you can easily adjust the seasonings.  I’ve even done chopped fresh mint and orange zest in the butter, or used a variety of fresh herbs instead of just parsley.  Fresh baby dill and cucumber always go well together, especially with a little lemon zest.  The herb butter not only adds flavor, it also helps keep the bread from becoming soggy from the cucumbers.

    Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

    1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
    2 T white vinegar
    1 tsp kosher salt

    1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
    2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
    salt and pepper, to taste

    white or wheat bread

    Sprinkle the vinegar and salt on the cucumbers in a bowl and toss to coat.  Let sit for at least 20 minutes, up to 2 hours.
    This step could be completely skipped and they will still be great.  Sometimes I marinate the cucumbers, sometimes I don’t.  Especially if I will be serving them when I don’t have a lot of time for extra steps I leave this part out and just use plain thinly sliced cucumbers.
    Drain cucumbers and pat dry with paper towels.
    In a medium bowl combine the butter, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper together.  Mix until well combined.
    Spread 2 slices of bread with herb butter and layer some cucumber slices on one of the slices.  Top with remaining piece of bread.  Trim crusts and cut into rectangles or triangles.  If making ahead of time, wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.  I recommend serving the same day these are made.

    Cucumber Tea Sandwiches

    Ingredients

    • 1 English cucumber, thinly sliced
    • 2 T white vinegar
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • white or wheat bread

    Instructions

  • Sprinkle the vinegar and salt on the cucumbers in a bowl and toss to coat. Let sit for at least 20 minutes, up to 2 hours.
  • This step could be completely skipped and they will still be great. Sometimes I marinate the cucumbers, sometimes I don't. Especially if I will be serving them when I don't have a lot of time for extra steps I leave this part out and just use plain thinly sliced cucumbers.
  • Drain cucumbers and pat dry with paper towels.
  • In a medium bowl combine the butter, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper together. Mix until well combined.
  • Spread 2 slices of bread with herb butter and layer some cucumber slices on one of the slices. Top with remaining piece of bread. Trim crusts and cut into rectangles or triangles. If making ahead of time, wrap well with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. I recommend serving the same day these are made.
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    Pink Tea Party

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    Is there anything better than a tea party? How about a tea party with little girls?  Last year we made some fancy invites (I’ll add a picture when I find it!), there really is something about kids receiving an invite in the mail that makes them feel special!  I kept it small, just invited 2 friends and their daughters, so we could really enjoy it while keeping it simple.  It was such a fun day, and I know we’ll do this again!  It would also make for a fun Valentine’s Day Tea Party as well.

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    For an activity, I made some felt crowns for the girls to decorate.I just cut out a crown shape and topstitched 2 together to make them firmer.

    I put out some silk flowers, jewels, ribbon, etc for the girls to decorate them with (the adults used a hot glue gun to glue in place for them).
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    They were pretty happy with their creations!

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    For the food I made the following: (along with some regular tea sandwiches for us moms!)
    PINK FLOATS
    A scoop or 2 of vanilla ice cream with strawberry soda
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    We also had water for the teacups, because you can’t have a tea party without teacups!

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    PINK DEVILED EGGS
    Made just like my usual ones but the egg whites were placed in some tinted water for 10-15 minutes.  I used food coloring, but you could use pretty much anything pink, like beet juice.

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    PINK PINWHEELS
    Cut crusts off bread, spread with strawberry cream cheese, roll up, and slice into pinwheels.
    I also made some by rolling out bread with a rolling pin to flatten it, then spreading with raspberry jam, and making pinwheels the same as above.
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    MINI PINK RUFFLE CAKES
    Directions here
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    MARSHMALLOW POPS
    Insert popsicle sticks into pink marshmallows, dip the top half in melted white chocolate or melties, and place a red m&m on top and sprinkle with sprinkles.

    COCONUT ICE
    Recipe here, but made with just pink and white layers

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    I didn’t do alot of decorating for it, but me and the girls did make a giant pink pompom (directions here), and I put some pink tulle on the tablecloth.

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    French Lemon Cream Tart


    I love curds.  With scones, in cakes, anywhere.  I’ve made it with limes, lemons, cranberries, strawberries, and rapsberries.  But this puts all lemon curds to shame.  It is like lemon curd whipped to pure satiny, buttery, lemony heights like unlike ever before.
    You just won’t understand until you try it.  I have a big love for all things citrus… especially things with lemon zest, one of my favorite ingredients.  (And I have a stash of bald lemons in my fridge at any given time to prove it!)
    While this is a very rich and buttery dessert, it is also very light and citrusy (is citrusy a word?)  so it works well for spring and summer.
    You can pair it with some fresh berries if you really want to make a presentation as well.

    FRENCH LEMON CREAM TART

    For the Lemon Cream:
    1 cup sugar
    grated zest of 3 lemons
    4 large eggs
    3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
    10 1/2 oz (2 sticks plus 5 T) unsalted butter, at room temperature

    Put a pot of water on and get it simmering, and set a heatproof bowl on top, making sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.
    With the bowl off the heat, put the sugar and lemon zest in and rub with your fingers until fragrant and sugar becomes moist.
    Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice.
    Set bowl back on top of water and start whisking as soon as it is warm.
    Leaving a thermometer in the mixture and whisking constantly, heat to 180 degrees.  This should take about 10 minutes.  It will start out light and foamy, and then become thicker.

    At 180 degrees, remove from the heat and strain into a blender.  Discard the strained zest.  Let cream cool to 140 degrees (stirring occasionally), which should take about 10 minutes.
    With blender on high, add the butter in tablespoon sized pieces, about 5 at a time. After all the butter is added, blend for another 3 minutes.
    (If your machine needs it, give it a break every minute).

    The cream should be light in color and very silky, buttery, and velvety.
    Pour into a container and press a pleace of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream and chill at least 4 hours or longer.
    Keeps in the fridge for 4 days, or you can freeze for up to 2 months, just thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

    For Sweet Tart Dough:
    1 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
    1/4 tsp salt
    9 T unsalted butter, very cold or frozen
    1 large egg yolk

    Combine the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
    Cut butter in small pieces and scatter on top.  Pulse until butter is size of peas or so.
    Add the egg yolk, and pulse for 10 seconds at a time until dough starts to pull together.  Knead dough by hand sparingly to bring together.
    Butter a 9 inch tart pan and press dough evenly over the bottom and up sides of pan, being careful not to press too hard.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes or more before baking.
    Bake for 30-38 minutes at 375 degrees, then cool to room temperature.
    VARIATION: Press dough into individual tart pans or mini muffin tins for individual tarts.  Bake for less time, depends on size of tin as to how long.  Usually start checking around 15 minutes.

    Recipe Source: Baking from my home to yours, by Dorie Greenspan

    Lime Poppy Seed Scones

    Breakfast in bed.  It sounds like such a nice idea.  Unless you have kids.
    And then there’s kids jumping, crumbs flying, syrup on pillows… you get the picture.
    Well, my alternative is tea and scones for a mid-day light meal.  On Sundays we usually have dinner a little early, so scones and some herbal tea is perfect to have after church for a light lunch.
    You could use lemon instead of lime in this recipe, but I really love the flavor of lime, so that’s always my first choice.  And since I don’t always have fresh limes on hand, I always keep some lime juice powder from King Arthur Flour on hand, and also some powdered lemon peel from Penzey’s Spices.  Both work well for replacing lime or lemon zest.
    Just remember you are basically making biscuits here, so don’t overwork your dough, and check out my Biscuits 101 for more tips.
    LIME POPPY SEED SCONES
    Recipe by My Stained Apron
    2 cups flour
    1/4 cup sugar
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 1/2 tsp baking powder
    6 T unsalted butter, cold and cut in cubes
    zest from 1 lime, optional
    2 tsp poppy seeds
    1 T lime juice
    1 egg
    1/2 cup plus 2 T cream
    For egg wash:
    1 egg
    1 T cream
    2 tsp sanding sugar
    Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
    Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until resembles the size of peas.
    Stir in the zest and poppy seeds.
    Combine the lime juice, egg, and cream in a small bowl or measuring cup, then make a well in the flour mixture and pour in.
    Stir with a fork just until combined.
    If needed, gently knead just to make dough come together.
    Pat into a circle about 9 inches.
    Cut into 6 wedges (you could also cut with a biscuit cutter as well).
    Place on lightly greased baking sheet, spacing wedges so they are just barely not touching.  (1/8 to 1/4 inch space between).
    Combine the egg and cream for the egg wash, and brush tops of wedges.
    Sprinkle with sugar, and bake at 425 for about 12- 14 minutes or until golden brown.
     
    Lime Poppy Seed Scones

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 6 T unsalted butter, cold and cut in cubes
    • zest from 1 lime, optional
    • 2 tsp poppy seeds
    • 1 T lime juice
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup plus 2 T cream
      For egg wash:
    • 1 egg
    • 1 T cream
    • 2 tsp sanding sugar

    Instructions

  • Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl.
  • Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until resembles the size of peas.
  • Stir in the zest and poppy seeds.
  • Combine the lime juice, egg, and cream in a small bowl or measuring cup, then make a well in the flour mixture and pour in.
  • Stir with a fork just until combined.
  • If needed, gently knead just to make dough come together.
  • Pat into a circle about 9 inches.
  • Cut into 6 wedges (you could also cut with a biscuit cutter as well).
  • Place on lightly greased baking sheet, spacing wedges so they are just barely not touching. (1/8 to 1/4 inch space between).
  • Combine the egg and cream for the egg wash, and brush tops of wedges.
  • Sprinkle with sugar, and bake at 425 for about 12- 14 minutes or until golden brown.
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    Lemon Shortbread

    Tis the season for sweets! I love shortbread for gift-giving, I haven’t met a soul who doesn’t love it.
    This is my personal favorite, the creaminess of butter and freshness of lemon go together so well.
    Sometimes I add a tsp of Penzey’s Spices powdered lemon peel for a little extra citrus zing as well.
    For some reason the older I get, the more I love citrus and bitter flavors!
    LEMON SHORTBREAD
    1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    3/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 cups flour
    1/2 tsp salt
    zest of 1 lemon
    Combine everything in a mixing bowl.
    Beat with a wooden spoon until combined. (Don’t let it get too creamy.)
    Pat dough evenly into an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden.
    Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then remove from pan, transferring to a cutting board right side up.
    Either cut in small shapes or use a large knife to cut in 1 1/2 inch squares.
    Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.
    Lemon Shortbread

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • zest of 1 lemon

    Instructions

  • Combine everything in a mixing bowl.
  • Beat with a wooden spoon until combined. (Don't let it get too creamy.)
  • Pat dough evenly into an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden.
  • Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then remove from pan, transferring to a cutting board right side up.
  • Either cut in small shapes or use a large knife to cut in 1 1/2 inch squares.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.
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    Chocolate Chip Shortbread

    Nothing says “I love you” like shortbread.  Don’t believe me?
    Just put some of these in a little box and give to someone you love.  Trust me, they’ll agree with me. : )
    As I get ready for my annual Christmas Tea, I know I’ll be making a couple different batches of shortbreads.  I love that I can either quickly cut them in bite size squares with a knife (works well to serve them in some cute mini muffin liners as well), or I can use a mini heart cutter if I want as well.
    And that way you’ll have some scraps for…. well, you know.
    These are melt in your mouth yummy, buttery, and all around perfect!
    CHOCOLATE CHIP SHORTBREAD
    1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    3/4 cup powdered sugar
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
    Combine butter, powdered sugar, flour, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl.
    Beat with a wooden spoon until combined. (Don’t let it get too creamy.)
    Stir in chocolate chips.
    Pat dough evenly into an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden.
    Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then remove from pan, transfering to a cutting board right side up.
    Either cut in small shapes or use a large knife to cut in 1 1/2 inch squares.
    Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.
    Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
    Chocolate Chip Shortbread

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 cups flour
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

    Instructions

  • Combine butter, powdered sugar, flour, vanilla, and salt in a mixing bowl.
  • Beat with a wooden spoon until combined. (Don't let it get too creamy.)
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Pat dough evenly into an 8 or 9 inch square pan. Bake at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until just beginning to turn golden.
  • Let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then remove from pan, transfering to a cutting board right side up.
  • Either cut in small shapes or use a large knife to cut in 1 1/2 inch squares.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for about 5 days.
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