Apricot Scones 

I headed out to run a few errands this morning and couldn’t believe how chilly it was. Just yesterday I was out in a sweater. I found myself longing to be home baking these scones I’ve been dreaming about and sipping a cup of my favorite loose tea. I love dried apricots and have enjoyed them in a moist cake I bake called Swedish cream cake, in my chicken salad, and just popping them in my mouth. I could just picture The apricots peeking out of the buttery dough. Beautiful for serving in the spring at tea time. I’ve baked many scones over the years and never tire of the experience. Looking forward to sharing these.

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Swedish Cream Cake

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The first tea room I ever had the pleasure of taking afternoon tea was in the beautiful town of Poulsbo, Washington. Judith’s Tearooms and Rose Café was located on the main street going through the town. There were lots of little shops and an aquarium that my daughter, Stefanie loved to visit. After enjoying all over favorite shops we would stop at Judith’s for afternoon tea. Even at the age of five Stefanie loved having afternoon tea, especially when her Grandmother Janet was visiting. Stefanie always sat in the princess chair. It was a wicker chair with a high back and had fancy pillows on it. Janet loved this tearoom as much or maybe more than we did. On one of her visits we went to the tea room three times. We were in love with the Swedish Cream Cake on the menu. It was the only dessert we ever ordered. It was a moist yellow cake soaked in cream sherry then topped with dried apricots soaked in sherry and freshly whipped cream. To this day the cake is still one my favorites. Judith had a cookbook printed of all her tea time recipes. To my delight the Swedish cream cake recipe was in my hands. I usually bake the cake once a year; I love to have it in the spring while sipping a cup of tea. It brings back such a beautiful memory.

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Swedish Cream Cake

Yellow cake, you will need the batter of 2 homemade cakes or 2 boxed cakes without pudding

4 tablespoons sour cream

1/2cup cream sherry

Dried apricots, soaked in cream sherry for 24 hours

Freshly whipped cream

Grease and flour a tube pan.

Follow your recipe for yellow cake either homemade or boxed doubled add the sour cream. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place in center rack in preheated 350 degree oven 55-60 minutes depending on the amount of batter. Remove and let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Pour the ½ cup of cream sherry slowly over the cake. Let cool 1 hour and remove from pan. Cool cake completely. Place cake on a serving plate. Cut a slice of the cake and top with apricots and whipped cream.

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Chicken Salad With Apricots

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These delicious tea sandwiches are the favorite at every tea party I have hosted to date. The chicken is baked with fresh herbs and chicken stock, which boosts the flavor and tenderness of the chicken. The red onion and celery are tradition flavors. The surprise ingredient of dried apricots gives a sweet note and makes this chicken salad unique. I learned the recipe by making it over and over again at the Mulberry Tea Room where I worked several years ago. I have many of the recipes stuck in my head. I enjoy using them for tea parties and special lunches. I never measure ingredients, I go by sight.  The chicken is topped with fresh chopped thyme, sage, kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Chicken stock is poured over, but not covering the chicken and then baked. I chop some red onion and a stalk or two of celery, then grab a handful of dried apricots from the bag and chop 4 or 5 of them. When the chicken is finished baking, it rests for a few minutes, then chopped and cut into a small dice. Then toss the onion, celery, and apricots with the chicken to see if the amounts look balanced. I generally add less onion then celery. I don’t want to overpower the other ingredients. I then add a tablespoon of the stock that the chicken was cooked in, and give it a toss. Add the mayonnaise now a few tablespoons at a time. You want it to be coated nicely but not too heavy. Adjust your seasoning of salt and pepper to taste. For the tea sandwiches you will want thin bread. I like using white and wheat. The bread should buttered with room temperature butter, then heap a big spoonful of the chicken salad in the middle of the buttered bread and smooth it out. I like to cut the sandwiches into triangles; rectangles would be nice as well. They look so pretty on a serving platter. The crusts don’t usually go to waste; anyone helping with the cutting of the sandwiches gets to snacking and sharing with whoever’s hanging around. There always some left over salad hanging out between the crusts.

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Chicken Salad with Apricots

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts

½ -3/4 cup chicken stock

Fresh sage and thyme, chopped, enough to sprinkle over the chicken

Kosher salt and Fresh cracked pepper to taste

1 small red onion, chopped finely

2 stalks of celery, chopped finely

4-5 dried apricots, chopped

3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Place the chicken in a baking dish. Top with chopped herbs, kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, and chicken stock. Bake the chicken at 350 degrees till the internal temperature is 160 degrees. Remove from the oven, cover with foil and rest 10 minutes. Chop the onion, celery, and apricots. When the chicken is cool enough to handle cut it into a small dice. In a medium bowl add the chicken, onion, celery, apricots, 1 tablespoon of the chicken stock, and mayonnaise. Toss to coat evenly; adjust the seasoning of the salt and pepper to your taste.

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