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Review: The Garden View Tea Room at The Grand Floridian Resort, Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World’s The Garden View Tea Room at The Grand Floridian Resort

Afternoon tea is not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Walt Disney World. You think of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, monorails, princesses, and Mickey shaped EVERYTHING. I expected that if there were a tea in WDW, it would be a character princess meal catering to the little ones. So imagine my surprise and delight when I learned that The Grand Floridian Resort—one of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever seen—had a traditional afternoon tea! And of course, in Disney fashion, the tea quickly surpassed all previous teas to take the top spot of Favorite Afternoon Tea.

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First Impressions and Service

White Chocolate Chip Scones

Basic doesn’t always mean plain or boring or bland or simple or unsophisticated or straightforward or adequate or unadorned or spartan or…okaaaayy I need to stop using the thesaurus because half of those synonyms aren’t even making sense anymore. I guess I just want to instill in you that an easy recipe of 6 ingredients with only a few minutes of real work can be amazing.  Because it can be. I only speak the truth 😉

White Chocolate Chip Scones

White Chocolate Chip Scones

Review: The T Room

It all started when some friends and myself needed food after a round of mini golf and found ourselves driving past a tearoom that wasn’t on my To Review list. So when my best friend and fellow tea aficionado came back from a trip to England, what better way to catch up than over afternoon tea at this little find?

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First Impressions and Service

Why Is There No Real Clotted Cream in the US?

We all know my obsession with authentic, legitimate clotted cream. It’s well documented on the blog! But usually it shows up in the form of me lamenting during a review about some tea house or another’s makeshift clotted cream just not cutting it compared to the British stuff. Sorry if you get sick of those little cry tests.

But it’s a sad, sad, sad fact that the US is lacking true clotted cream.

Am I saying that clotted cream literally does not exist in the United States? No, obviously. I have found some grocery stores that sell Devonshire or Clotted Cream in their dairy sections and know of a few tea houses that import their clotted cream from England in order to be authentic. There are also millions of recipes that claim to make clotted cream, findable with a simple Google search. Yes, many of these recipes mimic the glory of clotted cream–some even come close to matching it–but there is one simple difference that is extremely difficult to overcome here and without overcoming it you cannot make authentic clotted cream. (If you are looking to make Devonshire cream, there are two.)

You have to use unpasteurized milk. Most technically it’s unpasteurized, unhomogenized milk, but for sake of easy argument let’s call it unpasteurized.

Pasteurizing milk heats it to kill off bacteria and other disease causing microbes. Pasteurizing milk became a federal requirement in 1924, aka The Year Clotted Cream Died. I’m not going to go into the long explanation and history of the Raw Milk Debate, so if you’re curious, there are lots of great articles on the Interwebs. Pasteurizing and homogenizing milk changes the structure of the fat globules, which sound disgusting but are the most amazing thing ever because they form clotted cream.

Now over the last five years, many states are legalizing the sale of raw milk again (thank you advances in medical science) so true clotted cream can make a comeback! Unfortunately most tearooms still use a version of glorified whipped cream and call it clotted. Restaurants are not allowed to use unpasteurized milk for “health and safety reasons” so I guess it isn’t really their fault. But still…

So there you have it: the reason clotted cream at tearooms is not real clotted cream has all to do with Federal regulations prohibiting the use of raw milk, false advertising, and if you are looking for Devonshire cream the lack of cows from Devon living in the United States.

Makes you wish we hadn’t declared independence, hmm?

A tearoom review and more scone recipes are coming soon! Plus some fun new featured recipes and topics, so stay tuned and sign up for email notifications so you don’t miss anything!

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Scones

Let’s take a quick break from the banana, shall we? There’s only one more (for now) but it’s officially embarrassingly late to post a photo with Easter decorations so I don’t want things to get any more awkward for me. I don’t want to have to wear a paper bag over my head with ‘I’m Not a Scone Baker Anymore” (is it too late to make that joke too?).

Strawberry Vanilla Scones

Strawberry Vanilla Scones

One of my first recipes on this blog was Strawberry Vanilla Scones. I went on and on about how amazing Gaviota strawberries were and how I was afraid that my usual scone recipe would be too strong of a flavor to work with the Gaviotas. So I used a mascarpone based scone instead. Well it’s well into strawberry season again, but this time I forgot my earlier qualms and decided, “Hey! I’m going to make strawberry vanilla scones!” also forgetting that I already had a strawberry vanilla scone recipe on the blog. Oops. Shows you how many scones I make. 

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

Don’t judge me for my Easter decorations in photos that are posted after Easter. In my defense, I was inspired by Easter and spring to make these scones and made them and photographed them before Easter. So even if I didn’t post the recipe until after Easter, it is still perfectly acceptable, nay necessary, to have Easter decorations in my photos. I probably intended to post this recipe before or on Easter but was distracted by these. Have you made them yet? If you have, you can’t blame me. You completely understand.

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

I was never a lemon poppyseed person growing up. I think it was a combination of the poppy seeds looking like little things that should not be in baked goods, the word “seeds” being associated with savory in my head, and the episode of Mythbusters that showed that you can fail a breathalyzer test by eating a huge amount of poppyseed bagels. I’m the ultimate good girl so I probably was afraid that of what would happen if a cop happened to pull me over after the one time I would have ever eaten poppy seeds. Still have never been pulled over by a cop though so I’m just being a little overzealous.

Recipe: Orange Chocolate Chip Scones

Get ready for some Easter themed photos accompanying some Spring inspired scones. Yes, Easter was yesterday, but a holiday featuring a magical bunny, soft pastels, adorable baby animals, fun crafts, and lots and lots of chocolate and jelly beans should be celebrated year long, right? Or at least all Spring? Or at least until I run out of sunny scone recipe ideas (never going to happen I seriously have over 50 recipes lined up) and my mom puts away the Easter decorations photography props? Come on, I thought you were on my side!

Orange Chocolate Chip Scones

Orange Chocolate Chip Scones

Recipe: Triple Berry Scones

If two is better than one, than three is better than two, right? Well that answer is a resounding yes when berries are involved, that much I know! Scones with one berry (with me it’s usually strawberry)? Awesome. Scones with two berries? Amazing. But scones with three berries? Transcendent!

I’ll be honest, I really struggled with the desire to turn these into Quadruple Berry Scones. But that just seemed like a slippery slope to Bazillion Berry Scones or Scone Berries where the dough became more berry than scone. Though would that really have been a bad thing? It’d certainly make getting one of your five a day easier if all you had to do was eat a scone. Eat five scones (so not hard to do) and you’re all set for twenty four hours.

Triple Berry Scones

Triple Berry Scones

Recipe: Spiced Peach Scones

Well, my friends, today is the last peach recipe in my short series of peach scones. Are you sad too? I wish sometimes that all fruit was available ripe and perfect year round so that if I had a hankering for–let’s say–peaches in winter because my Spiced Peach scones would be the perfect holiday baked good, I could find peaches to make them as tasty in December as they would be in the height of peach season.

The agricultural world is so not fair.

Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

Then again, if we had the full spectrum of fruit available year round, maybe we wouldn’t appreciate the excitement and delight of each fruit coming into season. Would I cherish each carton of fresh strawberries if they were always as delicious as they are in the blush of spring? Maybe not. Maybe seasonal produce is nature’s way of giving us something to look forward too (though it definitely stinks that all my favorite fruits are spring and early summer fruits).

This recipe was a challenge for me because I had nothing to base it on. Even some recipes that I create are based in part on recipes in books, like the peach basil ones of last week were adapted from a strawberry lavender scone I found somewhere else. But none of the recipes I have bookmarked or saved used compote as its primary source of liquid. I really was flying blind here.

Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

I wanted to try cooking the fruit before incorporating it into the scone, so I decided to make a heated mixture of those fresh peaches we’ve been working with and some spices. The only problem is that I had no idea how to do it! I knew it wouldn’t be as simple as putting peaches in a saute pan and just letting them heat up. Yet I still had never made a compote before so was clueless as to how much sugar to add to the peaches, when to boil versus simmer, and how long it would take.

After some research and a little bit of math (real world application!) I attempted to make a spiced peach compote. It was so easy, I wondered why I haven’t been making fruit compotes my whole life. I feel like a whole new world of oatmeal toppings and desserts was just shown to me. Seriously, compotes are now a revelation for me: a thick, spiced syrup of gooey ripe peaches and melted sugar…are you drooling yet? You better be peeling those peaches at least!

Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

Probably because the main liquid here is a thick syrup, these scones are very dense unlike the majority of scones I make. The first time I made these I also overworked the dough, and I think it was because I didn’t add enough other liquid to incorporate the ingredients without kneading too much. Lesson to all scone makers: it is more important to lightly handle the dough than using less flour on your workspace or having less cleanup. Add more liquid to the dough so you have to knead it less. You won’t regret it.

The peaches are wonderfully soft and sweet with the spices mulling about them. Your kitchen will smell incredible, making these not only one of the best tasting scones you’ll ever make, but also one of the best air fresheners you ever used. More incentive to make multiple batches!

Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

Ingredients for Compote

  • 10 ounces chopped peeled peaches
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Ingredients for Scones

  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 50 g ultrafine sugar
  • Compote
  • 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Making the Compote
Put peaches in a small saucepan. Add sugar, stirring to coat completely. Turn stove to medium heat.
As the sugar dissolves, the peaches will release a lot of liquid. Bring this liquid to a boil. Add nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon. Stir well. Once mixture is boiling, leave over heat for 4 minutes to reduce liquid, stirring frequently.
Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Pour into a glass bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Bask in its incredible smell. Resist urge to grab a spoon and dig into the compote. Do not pour over vanilla ice cream. Do not spoon over oatmeal. Do not do anything with it but let it cool.
Making the Scones
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make sure everything is well mixed.
Add the COOLED compote (I didn’t let mine cool enough and my hands were definitely heating up when incorporating it to the dry ingredients). Once fully incorporated, add whipping cream one tablespoon at a time until dough has formed and is very moist. DO NOT OVERWORK THE DOUGH. The compote already adds a heavier element to the dough so it will be denser than most scones, but overworking it will result is very tough scones. And that would be no bueno.
Turn out onto a floured surface and pat down to desired thickness (1 cm). Cut out (5 cm) rounds and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until they are puffy and beginning to turn golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Spiced Peach Scones

Spiced Peach Scones

Yes these are good with clotted cream :)

Recipe: Peach Basil Scones

Unsurprisingly, the basil in my mom’s backyard is still growing like a weed. A ridiculously pleasant smelling, sweet tasting, very welcome weed, but a week nonetheless. She is almost desperate to find uses for it (okay not that desperate, caprese salads are a frequent occurrence at mealtimes) so I volunteered to add my mom’s basil to my dad’s peaches in my scones. See how scone making can become a family affair?

Peach Basil Scones

Peach Basil Scones

Peach and basil have an affinity for each other; in fact, basil is like vanilla in that it has an affinity with almost all fruit. I would say basil is like the social butterfly of herbs. It really is friends with everyone and is very inclusive. Our kindergarteners would do well to learn from basil.

The best way to check if you used enough basil in a recipe is the good old-fashioned smell test. Once the basil is all stirred in, sniff the flour (be careful not to snort up the flour as I’m sure that would be unpleasant and nasty) and use your judgment. Can you smell the basil, or do you have to struggle to get a whiff? If it isn’t a clear smell, add a little bit more. Don’t worry, it mellows as it is heated so it won’t overwhelm your little peaches.

Peach Basil Scones

Peach Basil Scones

In fact, the basil is almost an aftertaste. Think about how in wines, you describe the end of the taste as the “finish”…these scones have a basil finish. Unless of course you happen upon a large piece of basil in a single bite and then that bit is going to be basil forward. These also work well with clotted cream, like most scones with two or less flavors, but the heavy cream runs a risk of taking over the light and airy texture of the scone.

These puff up nice and high, and their flavor follows in its perkiness. Peach basil scones truly are the summery butterflies of scones!

Peach Basil Scones

Peach Basil Scones

Peach Basil Scones

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp ultra fine sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped fresh peaches
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, or to scent
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

 In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Add the peaches and the basil (you may need to add more basil depending on how strong your leaves are). Toss to combine.
Add whipping cream and begin to knead together until dough forms. If mixture is too dry, add one tablespoon of cream at a time. Turn out onto a floured work surface.
Roll or pat out dough to desired thickness (1 cm) and then cut out scones with a scone cutter (5 cm). Place on baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until scones have puffed up and the edges are golden brown. Turn out immediately onto a wire rack to cool.

 

Peach Basil Scones

Peach Basil Scones

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