Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bridal Shower Buffet

It's June and that means wedding madness is upon us. In the last month I've checked one Eagle Court of Honor, one graduation ceremony, a graduation party, a Boy Scout Eagle project, and, finally a bridal shower off of my to-do list. And somewhere in there we also moved my mom to an assisted living and emptied her apartment.

Now I can focus all of my attention on the big event coming up at the end of this month.

But this weekend wasn't just about Dad, Saturday was about the bride-to-be. Her bridal shower, to be exact. I love bridal showers, all us girls getting together, eating girlie food, talking girlie talk. Free to be girls and celebrate one of our own as she prepares to embark on this adventure we call marriage.

Doesn't she look blissfully happy? Actually, she's got a mouthful of bubble gum, like about ten pieces, thanks to a fun shower game.

As I said a few weeks ago, Danielle wants a country chic wedding, so we wanted her shower decorations to reflect that. And Blythe, her maid-of-honor, delivered beautifully.

Burlap served as a tablecloth, but the lace runner adds a touch of femininity.
And would you look at all that yummy food. Lemon cupcakes, glazed vanilla scones, strawberry spinach salad, quiche.... Do we girls know how to eat or what?
My favorite thing on the table had to be the scones. I LOVE scones, but I've only made them from a mix. This time, I made them from scratch and I'm here to tell you, them is some good eatin'. Worth every bit of effort. Alas, there were none left after the shower, but I think I'll whip up another batch just for me. Keep them in the freezer and pull one out when I need a special treat.
Oh, who am I kidding. I'll probably make them for the bridal brunch the day of the wedding. However, I may have to tuck a few extras in the freezer just for me.
So how do we make these delectable treats?
Well, first you're gonna need:
  • 2 whole vanilla beans
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1/2 a pound) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 1 large egg
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise and scrape out all of the "caviar" inside. Truth be told, this is the first time I've ever worked with a vanilla bean. I've seen it on TV, but that's where my experience ends. The first thing I notice was the vanilla bean was stiff. So I was surprised how pliable it actually was.
I cut off the ends.
Sliced it lengthwise down the middle, then pried the edges apart and scraped the tip of my knife down the middle, the entire length of the bean.
And that "caviar" sticks to everything. The good news is that it comes off easy too. I simply scraped the edge of my knife, very carefully, of course, across my fingers to remove the seeds into my bowl.
Keep in mind that this is vanilla in its purest form. So don't be worried if it seems like you don't have a lot. This is all I got from two beans.

Now, add that beautiful "caviar" to the cream and set aside for 15 minutes.
Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
Cut the cold butter into pats.

Add to the dry ingredients and, using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles crumbs.

Mix the vanilla cream with the egg, then add to flour mixture. Stir with a fork just until it comes together.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and lightly press it together until if forms a rough rectangle.

With a rolling pin, roll the dough until the rectangle is approx. 12 by 7 inches and 1/2 - 3/4 inches thick. You can use your hands to help with the forming.
Cut the rectangle into 12 sorta-symmetrical rectangles.
Next, you'll cut each rectangle diagonally into two triangles. (sorry I forgot to take a pic)
Transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 18 minutes, removing from the oven just before they start to turn golden brown.
Allow to cool 15 minutes on the cookie sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

While the scones are cooling, let's make our glaze. For this you will need:
  • 1 whole vanilla bean
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, more if needed
  • 5 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • dash of salt
Split the vanilla bean as before and scrape out the "caviar." Stir the "caviar" into the milk and set aside for 15 minutes.
This is where I sift the powdered sugar, while I'm waiting.
Mix the powdered sugar and salt with the vanilla milk, adding more sugar or milk if necessary to get the right consistency.
Whisk until completely smooth.
Dip the cooled scones into the glaze, one at a time. This is where I learned that scones can sometimes be fragile, so, after taking this pic, I used both hands to avoid breaking the scones.

Set the glazed scones on a cooling rack to let dry and allow excess to drip off. And there will be excess. I recommend setting the rack atop a baking pan, parchment or waxed paper.

Allow the glaze to set completely before storing.
I made these the day before the shower and they were still the moistest, most delectable scones I've ever had.
Maybe it's a good thing there weren't any left over:-)
I've told you what I'm up to, what's on your agenda this week?



  1. Wow! I'm just...wow! I think I'd cave if I had to do all that preparin' for special occasions so close together. You are superwoman!

    LOVE scones too, but I only ever make them about once a year. Usually for the volunteer breakfast at school. Sigh. Scones. Strawberry jam. Clotted Cream. An English hero....

    I'm getting ready to close two school libraries. One of them is being painted so I have to pack a chunk of the books up so they can move the shelves to paint. That's the riveting stuff I'm up to this week. Not scone pretty.

    1. Clotted cream… Kav, you're a woman after my own heart. Moving does not sound like fun, though. Been there, done that. Just take figuring out where to put everything.
      And I doubt I'll be making these very often. It's just the special occasions. Then again, I do like them, and would enjoy keeping a few in my freezer. Time will tell.

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  3. YUM!! And how beautiful!! Thanks for sharing the photos.

    I truly do want to make scones someday. I've never liked the ones I've had at restaurants. I'm hoping homemade will be less dry.

    1. Yes, Missy, these were much moister than any i've bought at Starbucks or wherever. Definitely worth a try.

  4. So, Mindy, what in the world will you do when June is over? Collapse? Take a trip to Maui? Hide in a closet?

    I can't believe the list of things you've done in the last few weeks! I've done a few of them (no weddings yet), but the Eagle Project alone put me out of commission for three days -and I didn't even do any of the work!

    But, oh wow, those scones! You had my attention at butter and cream.... I have to make these. Soon.

    And thank you for the tutorial on how to use the vanilla beans! I wouldn't have the first clue about how to proceed, otherwise. But if I'm in a hurry and don't have any beans, do you think I can substitute vanilla extract? I know it won't be the same, but it would still be good, right?

    1. I'm sure it would be, Jan. Maybe Google what the ratio would be, how much vanilla extract it takes tot replace one vanilla bean.
      As for July, yes I'm hoping to collapse. I'll even have a couple of weeks to myself. That should be interesting. Hoping to get lots of writing done.

  5. These looks so delicious!! I wish my oven worked. I have no idea what to do for tomorrow's post. Probably watermelon and a creamsicle, hahahaha!

    Your daughter is ADORABLE! That looks! So funny!!

    And Eagle Scout?? My brothers were both Eagle Scouts, it's awesome!

    I hope you take a really, really long vacation when you get time. I'll cover your Tuesdays. YBC can have a double dose of Pioneer Fresh recipes. Tell me when and you can sleep for a week or two to recuperate.

    1. Microwaves are wonderful things, aren't they, Virginia? :) I'd have a hard time living without my oven, though. I like to broil cheese toast too often!

    2. Creamsicles sound yummy to me, Virginia. But I would be lost without an oven too. Where else am I going to cook the casserole? But if I know you and Edna, you'll have a pretty good post ready for tomorrow.
      Sleeping for a week? Hmm, now that would be interesting.

  6. MINDY!!!! I love this whole thing, it's marvelous! And your life is in proper tailspin right now but I'm so proud of how well you handle the whole thing!

    Texas women rock!

    I love the table setting. Lovely. And it's funny that I used burlap tablecloths in the book I just finished for Christmas... With bits of lace and fall veggies and Mason jar candles. I love that vintage shabby chic look! Less fussy than Victorian and so much more fun!

    Awesome, Mindy!

    1. Thanks, Ruthie. Yes, those same decorations will be up here at the wedding too. Today I had to finish painting one last room. Tomorrow the carpet is to be installed. And it seems like there are a million tiny details that have to be tended to. Oy!

  7. This looks like such fun! Thanks for the inside peek at the wedding and the great recipe.

    1. Tina, looks like I'll be headed to my story setting sometime in August. Sure would be cool if we could get together. Especially since our stores are located so close together. And I could introduce you to the best chocolate shop ever. Ruthie would be so jealous:-)

  8. Yum. I will share this my daughter who loves to bake. Yes, you deserve a vacation!

  9. Oh, do let me know if your daughter makes these, Julie. I'd love to hear what she thinks.