Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Red Queen's Tea Party

My awesome craftster book/swap club read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass last month. If you've never actually sat down and done it yourself, you really should. That's doubly true if your only experience with the story is the Disney movie, or even worse, that made for TV version featuring Whoopie Goldberg. I highly recommend the definitive edition, even with its snobby name. The notes take as long to read as the story, but it's well worth it!

I decided to send a tea party kit to one of our organizers, Jennifer, designed to fit her favorite character, the Red Queen. I realized that after the debacle at Alice's celebration dinner, it was only right that the Red Queen should make amends and host a proper tea party. I made her a set of invitations using one of the original Tenniel illustrations, mulberry paper, stamping, and flat cards from PaperSource in blossom (you'll recognize the color later!). I also made her an embellished tea tin full of tea, a little note book made of library card catalog cards for jotting down party info, a menu full of recipes for foods from the book, a jar of my Gingered Asian Pear jam (for "you can have jam yesterday, and jam to-morrow, but never jam today!"), and a batch of The Queen of Hearts' Raspberry Tarts. I hope she likes everything!

The cookies are almost too pretty to eat, but I didn't take a really pretty picture of them. I felt bad manhandling food that I am sending to someone as a gift, so the assembled cookies on a rack will have to do! These are essentially the same as the Pumpkin Maple Buttercream Sandwich Cookies, but with a different shape and filling.

The Queen of Hearts' Raspberry Tarts:
For the cookies:

Roll chilled dough on a lightly floured surface to a 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into rounds with a scalloped biscuit cutter. Cut small hearts from the center of half of the rounds and remove. (You can bake the hearts up and use them like little confetti cookies to decorate your plate later!)

Put the solid rounds on one cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat, and the heart cut-out rounds on another. The cut-out rounds bake a minute or two faster! Bake for 5-7 minutes or until just golden. Allow to cool on cookie sheets for five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

For the Filling:
You can always use a store bought raspberry jam! I just happened to have made raspberry jam this summer using a bunch of berries from our farmer's market!
4 cups granulated sugar
5 pints raspberries, washed and picked over
Juice of one lime, plus 4 strips of lime peel

Place berries, lime juice, and peel in a large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a full boil over high heat, mashing berries with a potato masher as they heat. Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sugar, return to a boil, and boil until mixture will form a gel , about 5 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jars clean, seal, and process in a canner or large pot of boiling water. If you are using a pot, make sure the water covers the jars entirely and heat at a full boil for 10 - 15 minutes. Remove jars with tongs and set aside to cool.

* If you want to learn more about canning, freezing, or preserving fruits and vegetables, this is a great resource!

Assembling your cookies for eating at home:
Just spread a teaspoon of raspberry filling over the top of a round cookie and place a cut cookie on top.

Assembling your cookies for shipping:
Shipping jam filled sandwich cookies can be a little tricky. They can slip around and turn into a hot mess. I use a tiny smear of royal icing on the bottom of a cut cookie to glue it to the top of a round cookie. Then I spoon a little jam into the heart shaped hole on top. Allow them to set for an hour before packaging. You'll want to seal the cookies in an air tight container or bag to preserve their freshness and ship them priority if not over night! They'll last about 3 or 4 days before getting stale!


Spryte said...

Nice! That's so creative!

cookies and cups said...

those look yummy! I have never made one like that...I saw your comment on my site..did you run the marathon? I would say that is the bigger of the endeavors!

DDpie said...

I love your blog girl! And what a wonderfully thoughtful and beautiful gift.

Michelle G said...

oooh wow, those cookies look yummy

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Those cookies look so perfect!

sheribobbins said...

truly the most thoughtful gift ever. those cookies are ADORABLE. i would never be able to eat them! i love hearts - so cute!! awesome job, crafty.

Michelle said...

What a cute idea! Love the Queen of Heart cookies too and I bet they were delish!

Katie said...

Very cute altered tin, I'd be interested in seeing how you made your book!