Did you know that today is National Christmas Card Day? The 9th of December – seems a bit late in the Christmas Season to me. In any case, National Christmas Card Day is designed to give us all a gentle reminder to gather our stamps, envelopes and cards together, to write simple notes and send off our wishes of good cheer.
Once upon a time in Victorian England it was considered rude to ignore a written message. Sending Penny Post was inexpensive and gave people the opportunity to share news in their lives with others. Letter writing was the norm of the day. Sir Henry Cole of London was a very busy civil servant who received so many letters that to answer each and every Christmas Greeting with the customary letter took up far too much of his time. Sir Cole had what he believed to be a solution to his dilemma. Henry commissioned his friend, John Callcott Horsley, to illustrate the first ever Christmas Card. Once the illustration was complete, Sir Henry was off to the printer. In 1843 the first Christmas Card sent by mail was thanks to a very busy man who mailed cards to his friends, family and many acquaintances. And so the tradition of Christmas Cards was born.
Today is also National Pastry Day. And while Scones might not be what immediately springs to mind when we hear “Pastry”, when I think Victorian Era, I think tea. So as we gather our stamps, envelopes and cards, why not have a lovely cup of tea and a warm scone? Can you think of a more fitting way to combine Christmas Card Day and Pastry Day?
Lemon-Cream Cheese Scones
1/3 cup Butter
2-1/4 cups Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
3 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/3 cup Milk
Sugar as needed
Heat oven to 400-degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
Place butter in the freezer to firm up. Zest lemon, set zest aside. Cut lemon in half, juice into a small bowl, set aside.
In a large bowl, mix flour with sugar, baking powder and salt. Add lemon zest to the flour mixture. Cut in frozen butter using pastry blender until mixture looks like fine crumbs.
In a small bowl, mix cream cheese with egg until smooth. Gradually stir in milk. Stir cream cheese mixture into flour mixture until dough leaves side of bowl and forms a ball.
Drop dough by 8 spoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto the prepared cookie sheet. Brush with lemon juice. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 16 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm with butter, Clotted Cream or Lemon Curd.