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Come Party With Me: Tea Party - Menu (Sweet Appetizers)

Today I am putting together a menu for an afternoon tea party. I've invited over some of my girlfriends and am praying that Saturday afternoon will be beautiful and sunny so we can sip tea and eat finger sandwiches in my courtyard patio. Tea parties, which until recently were reserved for old ladies and little girls, are making a huge comeback and modern makeover for 2007. Tea bars and tea tastings are all the rage so a tea party is timely and appropriate. Tea parties are also a sophisticated way to host a bridal or baby shower: if you are throwing one in the future, bookmark this plan to help you organize your event. I'm doing my event buffet style with an assortment of savory and sweet treats. Scones and classic tea sandwiches, puff pastries filled with chocolate and shortbread cookies round out the light, nibble-friendly menu. For the sweet appetizer recipes,

I've made these
Petit Pains Au Chocolat

for lots of my parties and they are too easy for the rave reviews they receive. The puff pastry filled with creamy chocolate is a bite sized treat and the
Almond-Orange Shortbread

cookies can be made in advance and baked the day of the event.

Petit Pains Au Chocolat
From Epicurious

2 sheets frozen puff pastry (one 17.3-ounce package), thawed, each sheet cut into 12 squares
1 large egg beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)
4 3.5-ounce bars imported bittersweet or milk chocolate, each cut into six 2x3/4-inch pieces

  1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Brush top of each puff pastry square with egg glaze.
  3. Place 1 chocolate piece on edge of 1 pastry square. Roll up dough tightly, enclosing chocolate. Repeat with remaining pastry and chocolate.
  4. Place pastry rolls on baking sheet, seam side down. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover pastries with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Cover and refrigerate remaining egg glaze.)
  5. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  6. Brush tops of pastry rolls with remaining egg glaze. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake until pastries are golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  7. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 24.

Almond-Orange Shortbread
From Everyday Food magazine

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
Grated zest of 1 orange, (about 2 teaspoons)
3/4 cup sliced almonds

  1. Make the dough: In a mixer bowl, beat butter, sugar, almond extract, and salt until smooth. With mixer on low speed, add flour and orange zest; mix just until a dough forms.With a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or your hands, gently mix in almonds.
  2. Freeze the dough: On a piece of waxed paper, form dough into a rectangular log, 12 inches long, 2 1/2 inches wide, and 1 inch thick. Wrap log in the paper, and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour and up to 3 months. If freezing longer than 1 day, wrap log again, in plastic wrap.
  3. Bake the shortbread: Preheat oven to 325 degrees; remove dough from freezer. (If dough has been in freezer a long time and is frozen solid, let it sit at room temperature 30 minutes so it slices without crumbling.)
  4. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheet at least 1 inch apart.
  5. Bake until edges just begin to turn golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheet; transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely.

Makes 40 cookies.

What would you serve at an afternoon tea? Please share with me below. Come party with me tomorrow when I discuss drinks (an essential part of a tea party!).

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