Chunky Chocolate Scones

When the after-school snack turns into afternoon tea, everyone has a jolly good time!

By Barbara Albright

 Here's an idea: instead of the usual after-school snack grabbed on the run, you and the kids can indulge in "afternoon tea." How civilized! How fun!

Children don't have to drink brewed tea to enjoy this light meal. Serve traditional fare such as scones, washed down with juice, cocoa, or milk. Or make sweet milky tea - mostly hot, sweet milk flavored with a little tea, like Irish children drink.

Teatime is a lovely and slightly indulgent time of day. Kids love it!

Today, tea is a bona fide meal in Ireland. If you serve it a little later in the day, add some sandwiches or soup, and seasonal fruit, it turns into high tea - - a simple evening meal that we call "supper!"

Regardless of when tea is taken, scones rule!

Teatime in 21st Century America
Turning afternoon snack into a tea party now and then incorporates a history, cooking, and etiquette lesson all in one.

Pull out the stops: spread a tablecloth on the table, use real china. Encourage the children to say please and thank you, to offer scones and other goodies to each other before helping themselves. Good manners can always use a little practice.

A scout troop or afterschool group could give a tea party for parents or teachers. They can create festive invitations, plan the menu, and set a pretty table.

Beyond Scones
Baking these chocolate chip scones is pretty easy. The kids learn the importance of accurate measuring and using both liquid and dry measuring cups. They also learn to work with a crumbly dough that requires only a little quick kneading on a floured surface.

Other tea table delicacies include cookies, bars such as lemon squares, and cakes. Tea sandwiches are small and light, filled, for example, with poached chicken, smoked salmon salad, sliced cucumbers, and tomatoes.

Fresh berries and sliced fruit are welcome; so is a selection of jams, preserves, honey, and creamy butter. Tea is served with sugar and milk, or if you prefer, lemon.