Getting Ready for Afternoon Teas

Sep. 1st 2013


In the month of September we have booked several afternoon teas at the plantation. As we start preparing for them, one of the items I need is some really great petite pastries. Now I could make these, but being an Innkeeper of a large mansion doesn’t always work with baking. So I have been on the lookout for just the right person to take my place.

Yesterday we had a visit with Mimi’s Sugar and Spicy. Mimi’s family is from England, so you know we were going to get some authentic English pastries. And she didn’t disappoint us!

Take a look at just a few of the ones we will be serving with our Afternoon Tea!


What Afternoon Tea would be complete without some English Tea Cakes?

These yummy bits are Shortbread with Pecan tops.


I am a sucker for Almonds so these Almond Mandolins were right up my alley!

And what was so great about these is they have a hint of lemon and orange flavor to them.


Now this dessert won’t make our list for the Afternoon Tea,

but it could be on our Thanksgiving and Fall Holiday Menu!

This is a Pumpkin Neapolitan with Almonds.


Now these have to be my favorites!

These are Praline Squares with a Graham Cracker Crust AND Almond Paste base!

The only thing missing on this was a little dip in Chocolate!


These have to be the prettiest of the pastries!

This is a Petit Four made of Sponge Cake and Frosting.

Who wouldn’t love this moist and delicious cake!

Special Thank you to Mimi of

Mimi’s Sugar and Spicy

in Fredericksburg, Virginia

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Food and Recipes | 32 Comments »

Cookie Contest to Start This Week!

Feb. 26th 2013

We are getting close to March 1st and you know what that means!

Cookie Contest Opens!

So get your recipes and your best photo ready to send us!

In the meantime, here is another cookie recipe we received and wanted to share!

This recipe comes from fellow blogger

This recipe comes to us all the way from British Columbia, Canada!

Arnhemse Meisjes, or Arnhem Girls, OR Arnhem Sugar Cookies

Arnhemse Meisjes, or Arnhem Girls, OR Arnhem Sugar Cookies

Arnhemse Meisjes, or Arnhem Girls, OR Arnhem Sugar Cookies

    “A Delisciously Dutch, Sugar Coated, Pastry Like Cookie”

       *Fun Facts: this cookie was made famous my Roald Dahl (author

of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), after he tasted them when he

was in Holland for a book signing tour. These cookies are best eaten

the first day, but are wonderful with a cup of tea or coffee.*

The Recipe:

   Recipe makes 16 cookies, best of made the night before, or at least

4 hours prior to baking time.

 the juice from 1 lemon

 1/2 cup warm milk (not hot!)

 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast

 1 cup flour

 1 dash of salt

 1/2 cup of butter (room temperature)


1) Squeeze the juice from 1 lemon and set aside.

2) Warm up 1/2 cup of milk in a sauce pan until warm, NOT HOT!

3) Add 1/4 teaspoon of dry active yeast to milk, stir in and let sit

4) Mix flour and salt together. After a few minutes, add milk and
yeast and mix until dough starts to form. Add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of
lemon juice.

5) Cut up the 1/2 cup butter into cubes. Add one cube at a time to
dough and knead in (or mix on lowest speed) until all the cubes are
mixed in. Add more flour by the teaspoon if dough is too sticky to
remove from bowl. Form it into a log and wrap in plastic wrap and
refridgerate for 4 hours, or over night, but no longer than 2 days.

6) Cut the log into 16 equal slices. Roll each slice into a ball and
roll in sugar. Re-wrap and place in fridge again for 1 hour.

7) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Take out the rolled dough sprinkle
sugar on counter or baker’s board. Put dough balls on sugared surface.
Flatten each ball into an oval shape until about the size of a palm (4
inches in length). Coat each side in sugar and place on silicone
baking mat or parchment paper on baking sheet.

8) *OPTIONAL* Use basting brush to brush a small amount of lemon juice
over ONE side of the cookie after coating in sugar, this creates a
lemon glaze while baking. But this also changes the texture of the
cookie and makes it not as crispy on the outside as the regular
sugared ones. But both ways are good and shown in the picture.

9) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until bottoms are very golden and tops and
edges are a pale yellow/golden. Cool and enjoy. Best when eaten within
8 hours of baking time. DO NOT STORE IN FRIDGE, store in airtight
container.  Day old cookies are more chewy, but make an excellent
light breakfast served with fruit as they become like a sweet biscuit
after the first day.

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Food and Recipes | 22 Comments »

It’s Almost Time!

Feb. 21st 2013


Last January, we opened up

an “Official Cookie of Belle Grove Plantation” Cookie Contest.

Sadly, we ended up pulling the contest before we could really get going.

But starting March 1st, we are opening the Cookie Contest again!

So get your best Cookie Recipe ready! More detail will follow in the coming days!

Just to get your creative juices flowing, if not you stomach growling…

Here is one of the recipes we received and will consider during this contest! 

Cranberry Walnut Shortbread Cookies

Cranberry Orange Walnut Shortbread Cookies

(Based on the Cranberry Shortbread recipe from Ocean Spray)

This recipe comes from the following blogger:

Julia, Julie and I – the Joy of Cooking Rediscovered

Makes approximately 4 dozen


  • 1 ¼ cups butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 generous tablespoon grated orange zest


  • Preheat oven to 325°F.
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in the flour, a little at a time, until combined.
  • Stir in dried cranberries, zest and walnuts.

Cookies can be made into balls or flattened. To make round cookies, roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place 1 dozen at a time on ungreased cookie sheets.

  • Bake 15 to 17 minutes
  • Cool

To make flat cookies, form dough into 1-inch balls as directed above. Using the wet bottom of a glass dipped in granulated sugar; flatten balls on cookie sheet, making rounds 2-inches in diameter.

  • Bake 12 to 14 minutes
  • Cool

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Food and Recipes | 21 Comments »