The setting of the book takes place at The Steeping Leaf which is a tea shop located in Madison, Wisconsin. The TeaShop Girls are a group of young ladies who meet at the shop for tea and talk time. One of the girls is Annie whose grandmother Louisa is the owner of the shop. Annie is competing to win a scone bake-off sponsored by one of the shop's tea suppliers with the grand prize being a trip to London!
I found myself cheering Annie on as she starts a blog, tries to find followers for her blog (key ingredient to getting to the bake-off) , and recipe testing in hopes of finding the "winning recipe." I love that this book encourages tea drinking, but also love that it encourages girls to start learning how to cook. There are other wonderful messages sprinkled throughout the book such as healthy eating, organic gardening, and activism for good causes.
The Secret Ingredient is the perfect gift for a young tween girl or for any young girl at heart that loves tea. I can't wait for my daughter to read it-I know she'll love it! Here is one of the recipes that was featured in the book. You will have to read the book to find out "the secret ingredient!"
Parmesan Berry Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup strawberries
1/2 teaspoon secret ingredient
1/4 cup whole milk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix the dry ingredients together first, then cut in the butter. Stir in one beaten egg and add cheese and berries. Add the secret ingredient. Slowly add the buttermilk to form a thick dough. You may need slightly more than 2/3 cup. Knead the dough on a board, roll to a 1-inch thickness, and cut the dough into 2-inch triangles or rounds. Place each scone on a greased cookie sheet and brush the tops with milk. Bake 12 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes; serve warm. Makes about 12 scones.
Do you have a secret ingredient you put into your scones? Would love to hear about it!
Happy Sipping, Reading, and Scone Eating, Lisa
**Special thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending me the book to review!