When I was a little girl, I loved to play “tea time.”
I’d be dressed in my finest garb (typically an old flowery slip of my Mom’s worn as a strapless dress, a faux fur stole wrapped around my shoulders, and my white Easter hat and matching gloves), surrounded by a circle of my favorite stuffed animals and dolls. The invite list rotated daily, except for the perpetual guest of honor, Dodar the Koala Bear.
Every guest would have his or her own Alice in Wonderland-themed tea cup and saucer, and I would pour just a spot of real tea (my Mom’s contribution to the party) from my tiny tea pot into each cup. We (okay, just I) would talk about all sorts of hoity-toity things as we sipped and ate cookies, and then I would play music for the group on my Sesame Street record player (typically the Teddy Bear’s Picnic, but I would graciously entertain requests). Clearly, it was a high-class affair.
Nowadays, tea time is a much more casual event. Instead of bitty, pretty cups, I gulp my tea from giant mugs covered in college emblems and ironic sayings. No longer dressed in finery, Nate (my usual tea compadre) is lucky if I’m not wearing a oversized t-shirt and running shorts. In fact, the only thing that hasn’t changed over all these years is the accompanying dessert.
Usually it’s just a shortbread cookie or some other unremarkable gnosh. Which is okay, really, considering I don’t need a slice of five-layer cake to round out a near-daily ritual like tea time. But when I saw this recipe for Strawberry Squares on Skinny Taste, I knew I had found the perfect sidekick.
Buttery with dollops of cherry pie filling (the recipe calls for strawberry, but I’m a renegade) and dusted with powdered sugar, I really don’t think I’ve ever encountered a better tea accompaniment. Cherry Squares are the Yin to Tea’s Yang. The Ben to Tea’s Jerry. The Danny Kaye to Tea’s Frank Sinatra. You get the idea.
So the next time you’re having a gathering of friends (stuffed or otherwise), consider making Cherry Squares. The non-stuffed ones will thank you, and the ones filled with cotton batting with need you to finish their helpings for them. Win-win.