Ok. So, I lied. But I have a good excuse…seriously, wait until you see how busy I’ve been. You won’t see it all today of course, because it’s the kind of busy that will take me a week to explain adequately enough to do justice to all the wonderful things I’ve been doing these past few weeks.
Boyfriend and I got back from across the pond last night, and it took me four shots of espresso plus a cup of tea to get through work today. Not only was my body clock five hours ahead and a week’s worth of sleep behind the rest of the world, but I could not stop pining away for a glass of mulled wine and some scones.
I’m getting a little ahead of myself though, because Londontown isn’t the only item on the list of things to share – far from it, in fact. We’ll start way back when, with the fact that I, being possibly the most annoying unborn child ever, was two very frustrating weeks late when Mom was pregnant with me. I figure it’s a lot like my desire to stay in bed on cold, dreary Mondays (I’m looking at you, frigid NJ weather)…it’s loud and cold and hectic out there in the real world, and I’m perfectly happy riiiiiight here. Overshare? I think so.
Anyway, when I finally decided, in my tiny, mischievous brain, that I was ready to greet the bright, shiny world, it was New Year’s Eve. The doctors asked Mom if she wanted to wait it out and have the first baby of 1986, and I think it would be an appropriate guess that her response was something to the effect of “HELL NO.” And so here we are, 24 years later, still torturing my relatives with the fact that my birthday falls just six days after Christmas, and yes you do have to celebrate my birthday as its own distinct holiday and not merely as an addendum to Christmas or New Years.
As I’ve mentioned, my family hosts a mean birthday party. And, being just as childish and demanding about my birthday at age 24 as I was at age, um, four, my birthday party this year had a theme. Yes, you read that correctly: a themed 24th birthday party.
The theme, in honor of my approaching trip to London (combined with the teeny detail that the only time we could have said party was at 1pm the day after Christmas), was British High Tea. If you’re thinking this means we broke out the 3-tiered serving tray and cut the crusts off of eensy little cucumber sandwiches…….then you are correct. If you think this means that I wore something more sophisticated than my fuzzy teal slippers to the party, you are incorrect. It’s my party and I’ll [do what] I want to….
I also took this opportunity to try out a scone recipe I’d been eyeing for, I don’t know, a year? I mean, if you’re going to have a High Tea, you had better make some scones. And they had better be flaky, creamy, and decadent. And fortunately for both party-goers and the Birthday Girl, they were just that. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.
Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen
2 cups AP flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbsp (chilled) butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup heavy cream
Heat oven to 425. Whisk together all dry ingredients except cranberries. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (you can do this in a food processor as well, but I did it by hand) until it is mostly blended into the dry ingredients (there will still be some chunks of butter). Stir in cranberries. Mix in heavy cream until a dough is formed, then turn out the dough and all of the floury bits onto a countertop.
Knead just until it comes together in a sticky ball, then press it into an 8-inch cake pan. Turn the dough back out of the pan and onto your countertop. It will retain the shape of the pan, and you can then cut the dough into 8 (I made 12 instead) equal wedges.
Place wedges on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper) and bake 12-15 minutes (scones will just be turning brown).