I’m going to share a DELISH Spiced Chai Tea Scones recipe with you, today, but this post is really about something more. Thanks to the #AmericasTea campaign I worked on with #CollectiveBias, this week, it’s time for true confessions. I don’t always stop to take time out for myself. There — you have it — the shocking truth. My guess is, that it’s actually a truth you easily identify with, yourself.
Quiet times to myself were something I dreamed about, but never really gave any serious consideration to, as our kids were growing up. I have often made the joke that I haven’t gone to the bathroom, by myself, in more than 25 years. lol You would think that would be over, but interestingly enough, grandbabies always find you when you are busy in the bathroom, too. 🙂 Babies and diapers, toddlers and teens, homeschooling and home businesses, church activities, field trips, science fairs, homeschool moms’ group, household chores and volunteering kept me in the center of a whirlwind of activity for decades. Being a one income family, we rarely even went out as a couple, and the idea of me doing something on my own — that was a pretty foreign concept. Unless you count the grocery store. lol I refused to get groceries until David was home to stay with the kids and then I always shopped alone. I guess that was kind of a “me time”.
Our home is still a whirlwind of people and activity. I feel so fortunate and happy that it continues that way. Children have blessed us with grandchildren and I wear that “Grandma hat”, proudly, getting to spend time with them a couple times a week. We do still have a thirteen-year-old, too, who has become a regular social butterfly with a busy, busy schedule. The four older kids are grown, now, but I get to enjoy and spend time with them in brand new ways. This blog has become a full time (and then some) job. How cool is that, that such a thing is possible!!??!! Cooking, baking, photo shoots, editing, syndicating, networking, traveling and writing consume huge amounts of my time. Then, I chauffeur for games, practices, lessons, school and church activities and occasionally, still squeeze in some volunteering. At this point, I feel pretty accomplished if I get laundry washed, dried AND folded, all in the same day. Then there’s still the meal planning, grocery shopping, dishes, floors and all the other responsibilities of managing a busy-household. And, on top of that, there is the wonderful guy who made all this busy-ness possible by proposing we “get hitched”, 31 years ago — I get to spend a little time with him once in awhile, too. 🙂 My point is, I guess, that I frequently come to the end of my day, before I get to the end of my to-do list. I think I am like most moms when I say that I feel like it’s not always practical to fit in “time out for mom”.
When I do get to steal a moment, now and then, I honestly don’t get all worked up about going out on the town, partying, shopping or spending money on myself. As much as I may love them, I’m not even looking for a night with my girlfriends. When I am overwhelmed with the need for some time out for myself, what I’m craving is quiet — a few moments of solitude to just sit, to pray and to regroup. Quiet time with the Lord each morning is so quickly and easily pushed aside when the tasks and responsibilities of the day are pressing down on me. Yet, I never have a more productive and rewarding day, than when I have carefully set aside that time to seek His plan and connect in a meaningful way. Pushing and struggling through my days, on my own steam, always bring me back to the realization that I’m making this harder than it needs to be. It’s His power and focus that I need and there is one simple way to have it. As school has started, I am trying to be more consistent in setting aside that critical, early morning quiet time. The results are always so much better than what I would have accomplished just plowing into my day alone.
I still haven’t “arrived” when it comes to consistency, but it’s getting better over the last few weeks and I’m looking forward to the time when I have solidified it as the first and most important part of my day. One of the things I am doing differently is to try and make myself have breakfast. For many years, now, that is just something I have skipped, so I could get busy with my responsibilities. It seems like if I can make myself take the time to prepare breakfast, and then sit down to eat, that quiet time is a natural part of the progression. I still don’t hit the mark, every morning, but I’m getting there. One of the treats I love to have with my breakfasts are scones. They’re slightly sweeter than a biscuit, but the same texture and oh man! — there are so many delicious variations — like these scrumptious Spiced Chai Tea Scones!
Picking the right ingredients to create a special breakfast is so important. Bigelow is a brand I am confident in and there are many reasons. American-Made is a rare commodity in the products we find at our grocery stores, nowadays. Bigelow Tea is an American company, owned by an American family and producing and manufacturing, right here, in America. Their Charleston Tea Garden is the largest working tea garden in America. Bigelow is committed to hand-picked, high quality teas grown only in the upper gardens where the best tea is found. They are just as particular about the ingredients used to flavor their teas. I also get excited when I read that they have sent more than 4 million bags of tea to our troops serving overseas, as part of their Tea for Troops program. Their foil pouch is another assurance I have of their quality. Tea is degraded when exposed to light, moisture, heat or air before it is brewed. It just won’t have the same fresh, crisp flavor, if it isn’t sealed well. Bigelow’s foil pouches are my assurance that the ingredients are fresh and flavor-rich and evidence to me of how much Bigelow cares about their end product and the consumer. There are dozens of reasons to love Bigelow. Flavor is at the top of the list and it’s never more important than in these tasty scones.
The Chai Tea Scones recipe I’m sharing with you, today, along with a steamy mug of Bigelow Tea and 30 or 40 minutes of focused quiet time with the Lord — now that’s the way to start a day. It’s my ultimate “me time”. I hope you’ll also take a little “time out” for yourself and give it a try. The animated picture tutorial, below the recipe, will illustrate each step of making the scones. Enjoy!
- 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
- 5 Tablespoons butter, very cold, cut into cubes
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 Bigelow Spiced Chai Tea tea bags
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon fresh black pepper, coarsely ground
- optional: 3 Tablespoons Cinnamon Flav-R-Bites
- Cut the butter into small cubes and return to fridge to keep it cold until you need it. Cut it into thirds lengthwise. Turn it once and cut it in thirds lengthwise, again. Then cut small cubes from the ends.
- Put all the dry ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and combine.
- Use a fork or pastry blender to cut in the butter, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. It may have a few larger lumps of butter and that's okay. Those will build flakiness into your scone, while the smaller, more combined butter particles will give it tenderness.
- Stir in the heavy cream. You're only going to want to mix this enough to moisten most of the dry ingredients and let the dough pull together in larger, shaggy dough "balls" - maybe 30 seconds. There will likely still be some dry crumbly ingredients in your bowl, but the liquid will be completely absorbed. That's just the way you want it.
- Empty the contents of the bowl, (shaggy dough balls and dry crumbs) onto the counter and knead it very gently, just until it all comes together.
- This is the point where I add the Cinnamon Flav-R-Bits. They are completely optional, but I can't resist them. They are crunchy little nuggets of cinnamon and sugar. These are NOT like the waxy cinnamon chips you can buy in the baking aisle. I love the surprise of the crunch and the spicy burst of sweet cinnamon when you bite into them and though these scones are DELISH without them, they're a great treat for me. The only place I have ever found them is online, at kingarthurflour.com.
- As you knead the dough into a circle, need the Cinnamon Flav-R-Bits in, too. There may still be some cracks in your ball of dough and it make look a little shaggy, but if all the dry crumbs have been incorporated, stop kneading. Overworking the dough will make your scones tough.
- Gently pat your ball of dough into a flattened circle, about ¾ of an inch thick. I'm guessing mine was about 9 inches in diameter. You may notice small cracks around the edges of your dough circle. That's okay.
- Cut the dough into 8 equal wedges, just like you were slicing a pie.
- Place the wedges on an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving a little space between each one, so that the outer crust can crisp up slightly. (If you prefer ultra-soft outsides on your scones, you can place the wedges back into a circle and allow the edges of each wedge to touch each other.)
- Bake at 425 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. The tops will be lightly browned when they are done.
- Allow to cool, slightly, on a wire cooling rack. Can be served warm or cool, plain or slathered with creamy butter, honey or cinnamon-y cream cheese topping.