Vickie, one of my officemates, brought in some little olive sandwiches and I got to try one. Delicious! I thought they would be perfect to serve at my Mother’s Day Tea Party. She told me what all she put in hers (cream cheese, garlic powder, a little ranch dressing….) but I can’t remember what all the ingredients were that she used and I didn’t write anything down so I decided to try and make my own version when I got home. My sandwiches are simpler with less ingredients in the filling, but I think they came out just as good.
OLIVE TEA SANDWICHES
- 1 pkg. (8 ozs.) cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup chopped pimiento-stuffed Spanish olives
- ½ cup chopped pecans
- 1 tbsp. olive juice
- 1 loaf soft white or wheat bread
- Combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, olives, pecans, and olive juice.
- Cut crusts off bread.
- Make sandwiches with olive filling.
- Cut sandwiches into little shapes.
I decided to try making petit fours for my Mother’s Day Tea Party this year. I found this Betty Crocker recipe, so armed with all the ingredients and my daughter, Bashful, by my side, we set to work. While I baked up the petit fours and got them glazed, Bashful set about rolling the gummy candies and cutting out adorable little flower and leaf shapes to place on top of each one. Don’t they look cute? I think she did an excellent job!
Petit Fours (pronounced peti fur) are a confectionery typically made of tiny little pound cakes or sponge cakes that are glazed and decorated. The name petit fours is French in origin and literally means “small oven.” They can be covered with fondant or coated with any flavor of frosting or glaze. Sometimes they’re filled with jam, chocolate, buttercream frosting, or whipped cream. Decorated with piped rosettes, hearts or ribbons, chocolate swirls, fondant flowers, dragees, nonpareils, or any tiny edible ornamentation, they make a sweet and elegant addition to a baby or bridal shower, afternoon tea, or dessert table.
ORANGE PETIT FOURS
(Makes 54 petits fours)
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp. grated orange peel
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. orange-flavored liqueur (can substitute orange juice)
- Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Spray bottom and sides of 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan with baking spray with flour.
- In large bowl, beat all cake ingredients except liqueur with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally.
- Pour batter into pan, spreading evenly to edges.
- Bake 22 to 28 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in center.
- Brush liqueur over top of cake.
- Cool completely, about 20 minutes.
- To avoid cake crumbs when adding icing, freeze cake 1 hour before cutting.
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup pulp-free orange juice
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
- 2 tsp. almond extract
- In large bowl, beat icing ingredients on low speed until powdered sugar is moistened.
- Beat on high speed until smooth.
- If icing is too thick, add more orange juice, a teaspoon at a time, until icing is pourable.
- Sprinkle sugar onto work surface.
- Roll gum drops and orange jellies flat with a rolling pin.
- Cut out tiny flower and leaf shapes with a sharp paring knife,
- Place cooling rack on cookie sheet or waxed paper to catch icing drips.
- Cut cake into 9 rows by 6 rows.
- Working with one piece at a time, remove cake square from pan and place on cooling rack.
- Spoon icing evenly over top of cake square, letting icing drip down sides till cake is completely coated. (Icing that drips off can be reused.)
- Place a little gum drop or orange jelly flower on top of cake square.
- Let stand until icing is set, about 2 hours.
- Store in single layer in airtight plastic container.
Every Halloween, I make a big crockpot of Spiced Tea so that the kids have something hot to drink when they come in from the cold after trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. I’ve been making it for years. I used to make it from scratch with tea bags, fresh orange juice, fresh lemon juice, and some other ingredients. Then I learned how to make spiced tea using orange drink mix and powdered instant tea. Super quick and easy! The kids loved it so I started doing it that way ever since because it made it one less thing on the Halloween menu to worry about. You could actually make the spiced tea mix way ahead of time and just stir it with water in your crockpot on the day you’re serving it. It’ll keep forever stored in an airtight container.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I stumbled on a post on marthastewart.com on how to make shrunken apple heads and thought how perfect would it be to float shrunken heads in my spiced tea this Halloween? I asked my daughter, Bashful, to carve the spooky faces for me and she did an awesome job, don’t you think? I was in a bit of a hurry so I skipped the part where you bake the heads and I also left out the clove eyes. Did I say I was in a hurry? We just floated the heads in the tea directly after carving and I think they looked great!
(Makes a little over 2 cups mix)
- 1⅓ cups orange drink mix (like Tang)
- ⅓ cup instant tea (like Lipton or Nestea)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground cloves
- Combine orange drink mix, instant tea, sugar, and spices together.
- Store in tightly covered jar.
- Stir desired amount into boiling water and serve hot. I put it in a crockpot so it stays warm.
- Use ½ cup mix for every quart of boiling water. Add more or less mix till it tastes to your liking.
- For a single serving, measure 1 tsp. of mix into a cup of hot water, adding more or less to your taste.
To Make Shrunken Apple Heads:
- 4 large Granny Smith apples
- 1 cup lemon juice
- ½ tbsp. coarse salt
- 16 whole cloves, optional
- Preheat oven to 250ºF.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together lemon juice and salt; set aside.
- Peel and core apples; then cut each in half.
- With a sharp paring knife, carve a face on the rounded side of each apple half.
- Place apples in lemon mixture for one minute; transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Arrange apples face-side up on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until apples are dry and begin to brown around the edges, about 90 minutes.
- Remove apples from baking sheet and, if desired, press cloves into the “eye sockets.”
NOTE: If you’re putting the shrunken heads in spiced tea, you can skip soaking them in the lemon-salt mixture and baking them. Just float them in your pot of spiced tea right after carving. Put them face down for the first half hour or so, then flip them face up.