Tuesday, June 8, 2010

On Not Baking My Own . . . and My First Baker's Bench Giveaway

If I were to hazard a guess, I'd say that perhaps a good 90 percent of the baked goods consumed in my house are produced there. Of the remaining 10 percent or so, a good-sized chunk is composed of those guilty pleasures that can't be satisfactorily reproduced. For example, when we get overtaken by an indefeatable craving for Double Stuf Oreos (I'm not going to lie, it happens), I buy them. I don't even try to make them or some facsimile of them. I'm a baker, not a chemical engineer.

And, although I can certainly make shortbread, one of my all-time absolute favorite cookies, buttery and sweet ~ and oh, just teasingly salty ~ I can't make Walkers shortbreads. No, Walkers Scottish shortbreads are an entity unto themselves, and the folks at Walkers do just fine, making shortbreads the way they've been doing it since 1898. You just have to respect that kind of track record.

But unlike the case with some of my more dubious cravings, I have no regrets when I purchase Walkers. I put that little red plaid box right up there on the checkout conveyor belt with my dried black beans and whole wheat flour. I don't feel obligated to eat them out of a brown bag; I happily give them to my kids (well, okay, not "happily," but I do share if pressed). Why? The ingredients listed on the Walkers Shortbread Highlanders box directly in front of me as I write this are as follows: "Wheat flour, butter, sugar, demerara sugar, salt." Precisely what I'd put in there myself. And no mixing bowl to wash.

If you're already a fan of Walkers, then I'm preaching to the choir. If you haven't made their acquaintance yet, then you're in for a treat. In either case, dear readers, you will be happy to hear that the generous folks at Walkers would love to give away an Afternoon Tea Box to a reader of At the Baker's Bench! Trust me, this is a terrific prize, a veritable tea party in a box ~ and who doesn't love a tea party?!

The tea box features several different kinds of shortbread, biscuits for cheese, and two varieties of tea. If you are a tea drinker, prepare to be transported with delight . . . and start praying for lovely cool, rainy afternoons to host some spectacular tea parties. If you are not a tea drinker ~ even better! If you win, you can use your tea to make the very special Earl Grey ice cream recipe I've got for you. Read on after the jump for my recipe for ice cream sandwiches using Walkers Shortbread Thins! You'll find instructions for how to enter the giveaway following the recipe!

Scottish Shortbread Sandwiches with Earl Grey Ice Cream and Crystallized Ginger 
  • 11/2 cups whole milk
  • 11/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 6 Earl Grey tea bags, tags and strings removed
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
  • 16 Walkers Scottish Shortbread Thins 
  1. In a large saucepan, combine milk, cream, and 1/2 cup sugar over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Bring just to the scald and remove from heat. Add teabags, cover pot, and let stand for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place egg yolks and remaining sugar in a medium nonreactive mixing bowl; whisk to break up yolks. Cover bowl with a clean dish towel and set aside.
  3. Remove tea bags, squeezing gently to release all liquid into the pot, and discard. Return milk mixture to medium-high heat until it just reaches a simmer. Remove from heat and carefully pour into egg-yolk mixture while whisking constantly. When all the cream has been added. Pour yolk mixture back into pan and return to stove. 
  4. Heat custard base over medium-low heat, stirring in a figure-8 motion with a wooden spoon. Be careful to scrape the bottom of the pot as you stir. The custard is done with it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (holds a line drawn through it).
  5. Remove the custard from the stove, pour through a fine sieve into a clean bowl, and place in an ice bath or in the fridge to cool completely. Spin in your ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. When finished, spoon into a storage container, sprinkling the crystallized ginger over it between spoonfuls. 
  6. Freeze the ice cream until solid, then sandwich scoops between 2 shortbread thins and serve immediately or wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until ready to serve.
Makes 8 sandwiches.

To enter: 

It's easy! Just leave a comment below with your answer to this question: If you won the Walkers Afternoon Tea in a Box and hosted a tea party, which 5 people ~ living or dead ~ would you invite?

Leave your comments by 8 p.m. (EST) Monday, June 21, 2010, please. I'll use a random number generator to choose a winner and make the announcement on Tuesday, June 22, 2010. U.S. readers only, please, due to shipping constraints.

One comment per person, please. If you'd like a couple of extra chances to win, you can (1) Tweet about this giveaway and comment here with a link to your Tweet and/or (2) mention this giveaway on your blog with a link to it and comment here with a link to your post. 

Good luck!


--Deb said...

Who would I invite? My mom, because no tea party would be complete without her. Ditto my best friend--she lives in California so I don't get to see her often enough--and she and I threw a full-fledged tea party when we were in high school. Baked the scones, made the sandwiches, insisted our friends dress up, and even played croquet. She really MUST come. Jane Austen seems like a wonderful guest, and a nice genteel tea (with some juicy gossip) sounds right up her alley. Since I can pick dead people, I'm going to go for a fictional one--Amelia Peabody Emerson from Elizabeth Peters' mystery series, because she would be a hoot and she loves cucumber sandwiches.

And, for last? You, of course!

TeaLady said...

Who to serve Afternoon tea to!! Not an easy question. Margaret Mead, Jane Goodall, Aline Perrault (my 102 year old cousin), Mary Jane Shofner (my gggrandma - oh what I could learn from her), and Jane Austin. What an ecclectic group that would be.

A Girl In Her Kitchen said...

My husband is soooo excited about this recipe. I guess I'll be making this soon.

If I win, I probably WILL have a teaparty. But if I could invite anyone, I would want Sally Lunn to come and share how to make her buns, Jane Austen for conversation, Isabella Beaton to help me do everything right. My husband would invite C.S. Lewis to see how he interacted with people and Benjamin Franklin because he knew how to party.


Walt said...

1) Late 1960s Judy Garland
2) Lisa Loeb
3) Jill Sobule
4) Michael Ian Black
5) Catherine Tate

magbot said...

Couldn't agree more about Walker's -- they're great!

Five people for tea? I'd want lots of wit:

1. Oscar Wilde
2. Mark Twain
3. Dorothy Parker
4. Jon Stewart
5. Stephen Fry

Sadly, only two still living -- but I know they'd enjoy the company of their predecessors!


mystery momma said...

This one is easy. I do not need a famous person or celebrity for stimulating conversation. I just need the people I care most deeply about and who I enjoy spending time with: my 5 children. We have tea parties all the time ....... a legacy passed down to me by my mother who enjoyed having tea parties with me and my 9 siblings! Thank you Mom for truly showing me what is most important.... family!!!

Anonymous said...

My two daughters, my mom, sister, and sister-in-law.


Andrea said...

Too easy!
1. Zac Efron
2. Jason Bateman
3. Ricky Gervais
4. Jude Law
5. Collin Firth
That's pretty much it AND yes, I would eat those delicious looking ice cream sandwiches in front of them :).

girlichef said...

First off...YUM! There is absolutely nothing about this recipe I don't want to devour! Okay...who would I invite:
1. Julia Child
2. Dave Matthews
3. Bob Marley
4. The Dalai Lama (current)
5. Nigella Lawson
Let's get the (tea) party started!

girlichef said...

I tweeted it!! (@girlichef)

icedteaforme said...

Thanks for the chance to win!

I would invite my friend Burnie, her mom, Jean, William Blake, Thomas Keller and Julia Child!

I can dream! your ice cream sandwiches look divine....must try making them soon!

icedteaforme said...

I tweeted about this giveaway, i have no clue how to link to that tweet so here it is

Hurry! Just a few days left to win your Afternoon Tea in a Box from Walkers Shortbreads!! @Eat_Real http://shar.es/mi9ED

Thanks again!

Kim said...

Katharine Hepburn, just because I've always wanted to invite her over; my friend, Patty because she'd bring hats for everyone; Jane Austen and Elizabeth Bennett, author and lead character from Pride and Prejudice, my favorite book of all time (and British!); and my sister, since we rarely do anything terribly fun together these days.

Ashley said...

While Queen Elizabeth I and Faye Wray are fine choices, I would choose my husband, my two sisters, my mom, and my best friend. If Jesus and Agatha Christie, or whichever historical figures are your favorite, were to come, I would spend most of the time wishing these 5 people were there. You can keep your historical/famous/fictional people, and I'll have tea with the people who matter most to me. :-) Peace.

Share This