Labor Day Weekend Sweet Snack

Labor Day is right around the corner, and for many the last days of summer before school starts back. When my kids were in school, I always tried to have a treat for them on the last ‘weekend of summer’.  In that spirit, I am posting one of  my family’s ‘updated’ summer sweet treats. Ice cream sandwiches, you can make these at home, as much from scratch as you choose! I recently made these at my home and photographed my progress.

Now, I would say I only did about three- quarters of this from scratch, choosing to let the store help me with the ice- cream, and preparing the cookies in house. Now, if my youngest had been making this, the ice cream definitely would have been being churned in our kitchen, and it would be a toss up if she would have made the cookies from scratch, purchased pre-made dough, or just flat bought the cookies…. I think it would have depended on her day. 🙂 For me, the home made cookies and really good quality ice cream is the way to go – always.

First step : choose your flavor combination. Which cookie and ice cream pairing suits your fancy today? You are only limited to what is available in your pantry / store. For today, I’m taking chocolate chip cookies, as it’s a classic, with a new classic, (Im sure), banana peanut butter ice cream. Want something not chocolate? Try sugar cookies with strawberry ice cream. Or snicker doodles with classic vanilla ice cream. For a spin on death by chocolate, use your richest chocolate cookies with mint chocolate chip ice cream. ….Yum!  Again, the options are only limited to your imagination, what’s in your pantry or at the grocery store !

Once you’ve made your selection, then you need to decide how you are making the cookies and ice cream. And when I say that, I mean if you are working from scratch, semi-scratch or purchased all the way.  It’s important to decide to plan your timing. The cookies have to be baked and fully cooled before being made into sandwiches if from scratch or semi scratch. The ice cream needs to be made and allowed to set for a few hours before being scooped. (Tip: remember basic, good quality vanilla ice cream, allowed to soften slightly can be easily modified by simply mixing in your favorite flavor, cookie crumbles or candy).

"The cookie dough that wasn't eaten from the bowl"

Cookie Dough Ready for Oven

A key with the cookies (if you are baking them) is to use a round ice cream scoop or similar utensil to get the batter onto the baking tray – as they all need to be about the same size and shape. Just remember to drag your utensil against the side of the bowl to make it level. Once the cookies are cool, look at them and then choose which are most similar to be pairs.

Cookies Still on the Cookie Sheet

The poor singles just waiting to be paired 😉

The consistency of the ice cream is part of the ‘trick’ to the assembly process. You want it barely softened; not runny, not firm. You don’t want the ice cream to “run out” when squished, and if it is still hard the cookies will break when being squished into a sandwich. So, if the ice cream’s too firm leave it on the counter for a few minutes (checking it frequently), and if it’s too soft back into the freezer it goes for a brief time! The worst part about this is  the almost certain cookie casualty you’ll have to eat, or the too soft ice cream which has run away on to your  hands and you must lick it off! 🙂

Once you have something resembling a sandwich, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and put it back in the freezer for about 15 min – 1 hour. As magic is occurring, as the cookie and ice cream mold themselves into a fabulous sandwich! Then- Voila!(Tip: Don’t miss this last step of letting the cookie and ice cream become one!). You have a cold delicious updated childhood treat! Enjoy!


High Tea (Part I)

High Tea Part I

Tomorrow my daughter and I are hosting a high tea for some of our friends. I decided to use this blog to give some thoughts about proper high teas. As a strong believer and lover of tea, this is one of the things I am most looking forward to once we have our storefront.

One of my favorite aspects of tea is that it can never be rushed and that it is done in such a way as to make you (each and everyone), feel special. Whether in the dressing of the table, the variety of selection or the fact that someone is serving you; what makes it special, particularly with today’s hectic schedules and societies general rush, is that someone takes the time to have it with you.

 Now here are some thoughts for you to consider when hosting your next tea: 

Presentation :  In the spirit of making you feel special, setting of the table is key. And there’s no reason to break the bank on it. Mismatch different coffee saucers you have and use them as plates (remember, everything is in small portions, with a variety of different choices). Or go to a thrift / antique store; often they have vintage, yet reasonably priced platters and plates.

The table is set

Need a table cloth? For my youngest daughter’s 5th birthday she had a ‘teddy & tea’ party; I took a solid plastic pink picnic table cloth that I bought at Walmart. Then to add the party theme I sponge painted white teddy bears around the border and down the middle. Viola; a custom table cloth 🙂 . Other times I have used some of my favorite (clean) dish towels and set them as runners down the center of the table, which works perfectly for having the pot of tea and small plates of treats. Other options which work well – a part from handed down or thrift store linen cloths – are quilts, or sheets tied at the legs with bows or simply cut fabric.

Try and anticipate what your guests will need. People often want milk or lemon, and or sugar with their tea. So, have a small pitcher of warm milk (you don’t want it curdling, as well as it blends better) all ready to go. Have the wedges of lemon sliced and strainer ready to catch those pesky seeds. If the lemon is not used toss it in a zip-top plastic bag and it will keep in the fridge for at least a few days. For a refreshing change drop one in your water glass as a way to give a zesty zip to it!

Now, you may be reading this and thinking I do not want to have to clean up all those extra dishes. Spare yourself; there are no shortcuts to a really good tea, and unfortunately conserving space in the dishwasher was not a priority for the British. So, my advice? Don’t think about it until it’s over. 🙂 Tea is well worth the effort and plastic is not an option!

The Food: As tea is the spirit of ‘feeling special’ and indulged, having a variety of tasty treats plays a direct part in producing the charm. As a rule of thumb, I stick to a minimum of threes. Three savory sandwiches or mini quiches  (and remember we’re talking small portions; nothing is served more than 2 bite size), one or two varieties of scones with topping options, and three sweet desserts- truffles don’t count.

The food, kept on a ‘buffett side table’ until each course was ready to be enjoyed!

Try to keep in mind the flavors used in your selection; remember, we’re not trying to give anyone indigestion. Portions are a mini, or two bite size, as tea is a nibbling affair and was designed to hold you over until dinner, which was served at 8pm or 9pm. Scones should always be served with a type of jam (traditionally a berry jam) and clotted cream, which is found at any reasonably good grocery store these days, usually where cut cheese is.  You can also add a lemon curd and orange marmalade if you would like to be truly authentic.

A Basket of Scones,

For the dessert sweets, try to think of what you want to pair with the tea being offered

. Everything eaten is to highlight the tea being drunk, so having a rich decadent brownie might not necessarily be the best choice, as it might overpower your taste buds for the tea. (Even then that depends on the recipe, supposing you have a dark and spice blended brownie it could be lovely).

Part II : The Tea itself , as well as Fashion, Music & Proper “Tea” Etiquette

We’re changing our name!

It’s sad and exciting to announce that this is our last blog as Sweet Memories Heirloom Pastries. Due to our federal trademark laws we are having to change our name. This paperwork, labor intensive task has been a full ‘side’ task that my team and I have fully embraced. While the ownership, staff and values are remaining the same, we decided to take this change and embrace it as the opportunity that it is. So, with the new name, new website, new blog space, we have also given it a ‘made over’ look.

Officially launching on Monday, take a first peak at Eloise’s Pastries. I am so proud of it! Not only did my cyber fluent team give Eloise’s a new and improved look, it has also made our online shopping experience easier, and given our products a spiffy make over! So we look forward to seeing you there soon!

We’re so excited, so releaved to have it done, that no cakes or cookies got burnt or lost in the making of the absolute work frenzy, and so proud to be sharing it with you!

Keep following us at our new blog site: Eloise’s Pastries Blogs.

We look forward to sharing with you there!