Colonial Kitchen | Lavender Lemon Tea Biscuits
I am fascinated by history and my ancestors. I think this statement comes as no surprise to you, and it shouldn't as I tend to bring it up quite often. While I find that this interest of mine really has no correlation to our business, I can't help but include it here because it is the very essence I feel of who I am inside and why things interest me at all. Do you feel that way? Or do you feel so disconnected from your family that you can't possibly imagine thinking about what your ancestors did, and there's no way that what they did then has anything to do with what you do now. I don't know - sometimes I feel both of those things! Mostly because I never really got to know my family much outside of my immediate relatives, my parents and my grandma.
I recently bought Tad (and let's be honest, myself) the movie Moana. We'd never seen it, and now I have to admit that we've probably watched it at least fifty times. It was so good! And I swear, every single time we watch the sequence for the song, "We Know The Way" I start crying. What a cool way to display the ancestral history of Moana's people. The entire fade of father to son to Moana just makes me get emotional thinking about it! I started to realize that every single one of my favorite fictional stories has something to do with genealogy or time travel. Why am I so intrigued by the thought of time travel and what the people of my relative past were up to? Will there ever be a way to find out who they were as people?
If you've been following along with Colonial Kitchen since it began, I like to bring in discussions about my personal family history as well as general history on the subject of which recipe we're making. I recently made some lavender and lemon sugar cookies, which I thought fit really well with the idea of "High Tea." It's something that I have read and watched many times. Anyone a fan of Downton Abbey? ME TOO. But High Tea or any sort of tea break during the day is just not a thing here in the states. It's a foreign concept to me, to my family, but I have to wonder if it was always that way. Of course, it wasn't. My family hails mostly from Great Britain where the idea of breaking for tea did not originate, but became a sophisticated art.
Taking tea in England began in the late 1600s when Catharine of Braganza, the new wife of Charles II, brought along a casket of tea with her from Portugal. At that time, tea was only taken in a lady's chambers with her friends. This was fairly common as well in the 18th century where highborn women would take tea early in the morning, talking with visitors while still in bed.
It was during the 18th century that tea gardens were created. Men and women would stroll about the ornate gardens listening to entertainment and chatting away. These were frequent and made tea much more interesting to drink, especially when it gave men and women an opportunity to meet without having be incredibly formal. Were the colonists having a high tea? We all know about the Boston Tea Party, or at least most of us know the basics: Great Britain implements an act on the American Colonies no longer allowing them to smuggle tea into the colonies outside of using the East India Trading Company. This led the Boston Tea Party and so forth. Did you know that the colonists drank almost 2 million pounds of tea in 1768?! That means, on average, every man, woman, and child was consuming three and a half cups of tea a day. Wow!
By the time the boycott on tea came around, it was more common for Americans to consume coffee or herbal teas infused with peppermint, sage, or dandelions. Isn't that interesting? I feel like there are very few people I know personally who consume teas other than herbal ones, and we all mostly drink coffee! It's amazing that we've kept up this tradition, or stubbornness, for almost three hundred years. Though I have to say, the south must consume a majority of our tea because sweet tea is EVERYWHERE down there! Ha!!
So which do you prefer? Coffee or tea? I am a coffee drinker myself and have never been a fan of tea. I don't mind a green tea with cream, but iced tea? No thank you, sister! Get that stuff out of here. No matter which you prefer, I think these lavender lemon biscuits will partner with your drink of choice just perfectly.
For the Glaze
INGREDIENTS | For the Biscuits
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp cream
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lavender
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 sticks butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 lemons, zested
- 1 tsp dried lavender
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 1/4 cups flour
- In an electric mixer, add all of the biscuit ingredients in the order listed, mixing them fully one by one. When it comes time to add the flour, add it all at once and mix until just combined. The dough should be a bit crumbly and floury.
- Knead the dough until it forms a solid disk and wrap in plastic. I just started reusable beeswax wraps and am loving them! Refrigerate for an hour.
- Preheat your oven to 350.
- Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut out with a round cookie cutter or biscuit punch. Truth be told, I used the open end of a mason jar! Place on a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and bake for 16-18 minutes.
- Let cool on the sheet for another minute and transfer to a cooling rack.
- When the cookies have cooled, make your glaze. I wanted mine thicker, but you can mess around with the thickness to your liking! Mix all of the ingredients except the lavender together in a small bowl until it forms a nice icing. Spread over the tops of the cookies and top with some dried lavender flowers.
There's something about eating lavender that is so refined and interesting to me. The flavor is almost unexpected, obviously floral, and rather sophisticated. I always feel a bit out of place using it in the kitchen, whether it feels from a different time or because it's not often a staple ingredient in the modern kitchen. If you've never baked with lavender before, I think that this recipe is a great stepping stone to get used to the unique flavor! The lemon really masks that overpowering floral mouth explosion that will inevitably happen and makes it seem much more interesting and lovely. If you don't like floral mouth explosions, try making a few of the cookies without lavender buds on top. You might like it better! Enjoy (: