Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Vintage Sweets with the Novel Bakers

"You are cordially invited to a time when life was sweeter, more sophisticated and simpler. Welcome to the world of Vintage Sweets. All your childhood memories of favorite sugary treats are shaken up with delicious flavors, cocktail twists, and craft ideas."

The Vintage Sweets Book opens with a comprehensive guide to candy making. DIY craft project ideas are sprinkled through each chapter--and you can download free templates (see end of this post for resources).

Table of Contents
Sweetie Know How
Sweet Beginnings (Candy Making Basics plus recipes)
Softball, firmball, and hardball Sweets
Soft-crack and hard-crack sweets

It was a blistering hot day, but I just had to get outside to enjoy the oak leaf hydrangeas. Bandwidth offered to babysit Zap, and they stayed inside the cool house. 

My garden is overgrown, so I decided to make a centerpiece with weeds instead of cut flowers.

Wild grape vines and Queen Anne's Lace have taken over the beds, but I'm putting them to good use. 

The oak hydrangeas are loaded with blooms, but my Annabels haven't made a peep--this is the second year that they have failed to bloom.

The oak leafs have grown into a blooming wall.

 I took my tea party indoors for ice cream.

 Baked Bananas with Rum & Raisin Ice Cream
For the Ice Cream:
3 1/2 fl oz milk
4 free-range egg yolks
2-1/4 oz golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp black treacle
1 pint double cream
3-1/2 oz Rum & Raisin Fudge, chopped

Place the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to just below boiling point, then remove pan from heat. Into the bowl of a freestanding mixer, add egg yolks, golden syrup, vanilla extract and black treacle. Beat until thick and frothy, about 5 minutes. Slowly drizzle the warm milk mixture into the mixer (mixer should be on low speed). Transfer mixture to a saucepan and heat very gently until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove pan from heat and add the double cream. Place in ice cream maker and follow the machine's directions. Before ice cream is solid, add the fudge pieces.

Prepare bananas. Put 1/2 stick unsalted butter into a sautee pan. Add 2 tablespoons light brown sugar. Blend. Cook over medium flame until mixture is dark and bubbling, about 5 minutes. 
Slice 2 bananas and add to sugar mixture. Cook bananas on each side. Add 2 tablespoons rum. Stir. Remove from heat. Serve bananas and sauce over the ice cream.

 This was a very grown up tea party, so I made cocktails.

Bertie's Black Currant

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 cocktails

1 1/2 fluid ounces Pastis
1/2 fluid ounce blackcurrant cordial
1 1/2 fl oz vodka
9 fl oz lemonade

Mix Pastis, blackcurrant cordial, and vodka together in a cocktail shaker. Pour the mixture into 2 cocktail glasses over ice and top up with lemonade. Serve immediately.

On Friday, our finale will include recipes (and a bit of magic) from The Vintage Tea Party Year.

Today, you are cordially invited to tea with the Novel Bakers:
Jain at a quiet life 
Linda at More Fun Less Laundry


  1. Oh I'm green with envy over your beautiful oakleaf hydrangeas! My MIL had a hedge of them in her garden that I was able to help myself to before she moved. We just planted some this spring, now I just have to keep them watered in this heat. It's a scorching week here too but I'm so glad to see your pretty table outdoors. Your Queen Anne's Lace and grapevine make a such pretty garden centerpiece, especially with your wall of hydrangeas in the background. I know it must have been challenging to keep your ice cream and cocktails from melting in record time. Your baked bananas and rum and raisin ice cream must have been a hit with the men in your house! Maybe I can crumble up my fudge and add it to some ice cream to help cool us down. Thanks for the delicious fun this morning. I'm telling myself to Keep Calm and Bake On :)

    1. The temps are fierce. People around here call it "sickenin' hot." I added 1/2 stick butter to the bananas, but more would have been better. The topping hardened instantly when it hit the ice cream.

  2. Michael Lee, I think adult tea parties are the best and I know I would definitely love to add Bertie's Black Currant cocktail to any party of my own! Yum! I know you are having some blistering weather down south. We are awaiting ours and any day now I'll be pulling out the ice cream for a little cooling off time. My hydrangeas did not bloom for the last two years but this summer I have more flowers than ever before, so keep thinking positive thoughts for the future. I love your sweet little doggies on the table! Can't wait to see what else you do with these fabulous books! Linda

  3. Oh, my! That ice cream looks wonderful! I think I've gained 10 pounds just by looking at the Novel Bakers posts this morning: Fool, cookies, fudge and now ice cream! Your post is as delightful as ever. I can't wait until Friday!


  5. i cannot tell you how i much i enjoy visiting everyone with their same, but different takes. your first shot put a huge smile on my face, tea cups and dogs! and of course the garden is a close second, your oak leaves are perfect tea partners, i adore wild garden bouquets...

    what a perfect pairing for you, ice cream on a sweltering day, but pass me the cocktail, i love fruity drinks! again your pics are, well, PICTURE PERFECT! that cocktail is like a siren winking at me ;-)

    thanks so much for playing with me, it takes true stamina to cook and play in the temps you and mary have been experiencing, i am in 45 degrees at the beach swilling back pot after pot of hot tea while you are all so hot your sugar is turning into flan all around you!

  6. I would love to sit at that outdoor table with you and enjoy a cup of tea or a cocktail - so pretty!

  7. Oh, I'm in love with the tea's gorgeous! The setting is lovely and the cocktail sounds awesome!
    I want to be there too!

  8. Michael Lee, you are a trooper to take it all outside for the photos, but I'd say your efforts were worth it. What a gorgeous setting for a tea party. Our oak leaf hydrangea blooms are now golden brown. Still pretty, but not as lovely as when they are pearly white. Ours are in dappled light, so not as many blooms. Still, they are a star in the garden. I want to plant more. Love seeing your pretty china, Singapore Bird. I've long admired that pattern, and wished for it in our cupboards. Can't have it all, as they say. Ha!
    Thanks for the sweet start to my Wednesday morning. Absolutely stunning!

  9. oh dear, how were you not melting away in the heat, but how restorative a Bertie's Black Currant Cocktail would be! Not to mention the baked bananas with ice cream with rum raisins~ love your tea cup stack and the gorgeous hydrangeas Michael Lee and all the fun and fantasy the Novel Bakers always bring!

  10. Love these series....gorgeous vignettes and table setting...and you had me at bananas and ice cream..!!

  11. Hi Michael Lee! What a lovely post and your sweet setting outside with your hydrangeas! I love those. Seems we don't have enough sunshine in our yard to grow many blooms! The darn trees are too tall and too many branches! Your china is gorgeous and the food and drink! Wish I could join you. The first snap of the vignette is just darling. Thanks for popping in to see me and your sweet comments. How's your Ranchburger coming along?
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  12. I'm on my way over! This is so beautiful. Your hydrangea is a dream!

  13. I am so impressed with the backdrop of the oak leaf hydrangeas, Michael Lee. What a pretty scene you've made for us. I have two hydrangeas and only ONE blossom! I'm also so enamored with the strawberry teacups. Aren't they sweet? Well, I can see that you cooled off inside with a lovely treat for yourself! Yum!
    Hope Zap is doing ok? xo

  14. The green is so pretty, and I love your whimsical arrangement.

  15. I think I need that cocktail in my life ;)

    Beautiful post!


  16. Beautiful! So coveting the gorgeous china...Score!