Recently I tried to take up tea drinking. Ever since the great teatastophe of '97 I made the informed decision to henceforth swear off tea in all its guises. Iced tea. Green tea ice cream. Long Island iced tea. Matcha cake. It was just awful. I sipped a bit of my mom's green tea and made a funny face. I was traumatized.
Despite my tainted past with tea, over the years I have acquired a handsome collection of tea related things. Tea towels, tea cups, saucers, tea spoons, cream and sugar sets, cute napkins. It got me thinking, maybe I like tea after all.
I was going to give tea another chance. Maybe we could get reacquainted and become fast friends. I'm sure we just got off on the wrong foot. Perhaps it was high time for some high tea.
I had it in my head I was going to throw tea parties with all my civilized tiny hat wearing buddies. We were going to sit in my dining room all prim and proper with our ankles delicately crossed. We were going to sip fancy earl grey and chamomile out of dainty pink cups with our pinkies out. We were going to gossip and giggle and nibble on petit fours.
I mean what better place to show off my Royal Wedding worthy feather fascinator right?
Alas it was not meant to be. Tea and I just don't get along. I made the face again. It wasn't pretty.
There is one part of tea time I think we can all agree is the very best part. The treats. The tiny individual cakes, the gooey squares, the cute cookies, the powdery truffles, the glazed tarts. Because if you take away the tea isn't a tea party just a swanky buffet?
And none of that roast beef and shrimp crap. The good stuff. The end of the buffet we all save ourselves for. Let's all just admit it. You might have stuffed yourself with more than your money's worth, but you just can't refuse that spread of sugary bliss on top of everything. Even if it means that you don't feel physically capable of eating another bite for at least another week.
Here's my contribution to tea time. The best part. The star. The crowd pleaser. The treat. Cardamom Clementine Cookies. They're light and airy with the floral scent of cardamom and the subtle brightness of citrus. I'm guessing they'd go well with a steaming cup of chai tea, but I'm certainly no expert. You'll have to let me know!
I present to you the magnificent clementine. So sweet and adorable it fits in the palm of your hand. They appear tiny, innocent and unassuming but the scent and taste that explodes out of this fruit is a welcome surprise.
Everyone has a particular way of eating one. A routine. A ritual.
The glossy orange skin gives way when you pierce your fingernail through to the golden fruit hidden beneath. A fine mist of juice laces the air and fills your senses with the delicate orange fragrance. The skin is pulled back and discarded in one continuous spiral to reveal tiny sleeping segments huddled tightly together. Tenderly peel off the bits of pith clinging stubbornly to the fruit and separate the segments one by one to devour them in sequence.
I look forward to clementines every Winter. Our local grocery store has been unlucky enough to be devoid of any edible batch of mandarins or clementines all season. They've all been either unripe or overripe. Except now of course. Sweet relief indeed!
To celebrate I thought I'd make some cookies. White Chocolate Clementine Cookies.
Now please excuse me while I continue my love affair with this cute little orange.