Bird’s Nest Tea Bombs

A few days ago, outside my living room window, I noticed a bird tucking in and out of the crevice between the misaligned wooden fence panels surrounding our house. The bird seemed busy at work–occupied. Amidst its constant activity, it managed to shoot me an occasional glare, so as to say back off lady, or you’ll regret it! It wasn’t until I saw the same bird again two days later that I realized what it was up to. Just in time to mark the beginning of spring, my feathery friend was building a nest.

I get it, birdie. There’s a lot of work that goes into nest-making. As I learned a few days ago making these Bird’s Nest Tea Bombs, making a sturdy nest is a labor of love…an art form, really. My tea nests are made from maple syrup marshmallows covered in tea leaves. Although they look like you’ve just spotted them in a thick woodland forest, they serve an entirely different purpose. They’re designed to be an all-in-one tea brew, sweetener, and treat.
This project for Bird’s Nest Tea Bombs was inspired by 2 things: my sister and some very beautiful tea. On last week’s Tea of the Week post, I featured Bellocq Tea Atelier’s No. 22 National Parks Dept. This nature-inspired blend of Darjeeling and Assam has bright green cedar tips and twiggy kukicha (twig tea) thrown in. It’s so perfectly organic and rustic that I still can’t get over how delicious it is.

As an Easter gift (and because she’s a cool gal with great taste), my sister Melissa sent me some dark chocolate blue robin candy eggs from a fantastically elegant candy shop in Beverly Hills called Sugarfina. These delightful candies and a tin of gorgeous tea married to make this whimsical confectionary DIY. Here, a small blob of marshmallow holds about 2 teaspoons of loose tea together, just the right amount for small teapot brew. Although you can use any marshmallow recipe to make these, I like to use a maple syrup base because it enhances the natural, mild sweetness of my steep. You can even make the marshmallows separately to snack on.

More than anything, these tea marshmallows are ornamental, so don’t expect a lot of sweetness when they dissolve in your brew. Use any twig or flower based tea to make these Bird’s Nest Tea Bombs–a mix with colorful visual interest is ideal. Above all, just remember to enjoy the candy eggs before dropping the nests into the hot water. Happy springtime brewing my friends!Bird’s Nest Tea Bombs

Makes 12 small tea nests. Each nest makes 2 cups of tea.


2 tsp gelatin

2 Tbsp water

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/8 tsp cream of tartar

12 small egg candies

1/2 cup twiggy loose leaf tea (I used Bellocq’s National Parks Dept.)


large mixing bowl

medium pot

wooden spoon

candy thermometer

hand-held mixer with whisk attachment

lightly oiled rubber spatula

large piping bag with 1/2″ round piping tip (or just cut tip)

mini muffin tin


1.)  In a large heat proof mixing bowl, bloom the gelatin in the water. Set aside.

2.)  Place the maple syrup and cream of tartar in a medium pot, mix with the wooden spoon, then place on low-medium heat until the mixture hits 250 degrees F. Use the candy thermometer and be careful to watch the mixture so that the syrup doesn’t boil over.

3.)  Meanwhile, place 1 rounded tsp of loose leaf tea in each of 12 mini muffin pan cavities.

4.)  When the maple syrup comes up to temperature, take it off the heat then gradually pour it into the bloomed gelatin. Use a hand-held mixer to whip the mixture until you get stiff peaks. Use an oiled spatula to transfer the marshmallow fluff to a large piping bag with a 1/2″ open tip for piping.

5.)  Pipe small dollops of marshmallow fluff into each tea-filled mini muffin pan cavity. Attach a candy egg in the middle of each dollop, then top the marshmallows with extra loose leaf tea to create finished nests. Each nest is enough to brew 1 small teapot of tea (2 cup capacity). Simply eat the egg candy, then throw the nest into hot water to brew.

Mini Cream Scones

As fancy as afternoon tea is, one of its unique features is that the meal is almost entirely finger friendly. Still, a knife and a spoon are essential if you plan on enjoying a scone or two. How else are you going to place that perfect dab of lemon curd or that hefty dollop of Devonshire cream?

This recipe for Mini Cream Scones eliminates the need for all the extra equipment. The cuties are ready for enjoying straight off the serving dish–tender, buttery bites of richness.

I consider this recipe to be more American than it is English, as the scone dough is an ideal canvas for adding in all kinds of extras from currants to cranberries to chocolate chips. Here, I’ve simply added a healthy dose of fresh lemon zest so that I can be liberal in adding jam, curd, and Devonshire Cream later.

Back in February, I shared a recipe for Fragrant Orange English Scones, where I offered some tips on how to eat scones the proper way. These Mini Cream Scones break all those rules of propriety that I had laid out in my earlier post, as they are meant to be eaten in one bite, so that your guests can skip out on the slicing, breaking, and crumbs!

Pass these adorable little bites around your next tea party as you would hors d’oeuvres. No spreaders or spoons are necessary, and clean up will be a snap! The afternoon tea table is an ideal setting to showcase variety and creativity, so a few batches of these Mini Cream Scones in different flavors will certainly up the charm factor at your next tea time get together.

Mini Cream Scones

Makes 20 bite-size scones.


{Mini Scones}

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp sugar

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 Tbsp lemon zest

1/2 cup heavy cream, straight from fridge

1 Tbsp heavy cream, for tops of scones

1 Tbsp white decorating sugar, for tops of scones (optional)

extra flour, for dusting work surface


lemon curd


{Devonshire Cream}

2 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup heavy cream, straight from fridge

1/2 packet whip cream stabilizer


large bowl

dough cutter or quick hands

work surface


round cookie cutter, 1″- 1 1/4″ in diameter

large baking sheet fitted with parchment or silicone mat

electric hand-held mixer with whisk attachment

3 small pastry bags or plastic sandwich bags


1.)  Make the Scones. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

2.)  Combine dry ingredients and zest, and mix together evenly. Cut butter into dry ingredients, into pea sized bits.

3.)  Pour cream in and mix with large spoon until the mixture clumps up into a shaggy mess.

4.)  Scatter plenty of extra flour on the work surface. Place shaggy dough onto the work surface, then flour your hands and knead the dough a few times until it comes together.

5.)  Roll dough out so that it is 1 1/4″ thick. Punch out 20 small rounds of dough using the well-floured cookie cutter. Place on large baking sheet at least 1″ apart.

6.)  Brush tops of scones with heavy cream, then scatter with decorating sugar if you like. Bake scones for 8-10 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden brown.

7.)  Make the Devonshire Cream. In a large bowl, use a hand-held electric whisk to mix the cream cheese. Add half of the heavy cream, the sugar, salt, and half a packet of the whip cream stabilizer, then whisk on medium speed until you get a thickened cream. Add the last half of the heavy cream, then whip the mixture to stiff peaks.

8.)  Layer the Fillings. Place lemon curd, jam, and Devonshire Cream in each of the small pastry bags. Snip the tip off of each bag then squeeze a dollop of each the ingredients on the bottom half of each cooled, horizontally cut scone. Create mini sandwich scones by placing the top half of each scone on top of the fillings and serve!

Smith Teamaker’s No. 6 Spring Harvest

Before spring sneaks away from us I want to introduce you to Steven Smith Teamaker’s Spring Harvest.  This blend is made from Mao Feng, a green tea that grows in Zhejiang, China.  As much as I love Japanese green teas for their clean and grassy taste, I think that Chinese green teas tend to have much more depth and complexity in flavor.  This could mean differences in how the tea is grown, how the tea leaf is picked, or how the tea is processed after picking.  In general, the process for creating Japanese green teas is considered more mechanized than the making of Chinese green teas.

The best word I can use to describe the flavor of Smith’s Spring Harvest is bright.  The brightness of this steep is the result of it having been grown at a high elevation.  It is thought that teas grown at higher altitudes also grow slower, and thus have more time to develop complex flavor profiles.  Even better yet, these high altitude teas are richer in antioxidants!

I also want to tell you something really neat about the Smith Teamaker’s website.  If you buy some of their teas, you will find a batch number at the bottom of each box.  The Smith Tea’s website has a button called the “Batch No. Lookup” in the upper right corner of their homepage where you can discover the origin of the tea, who packed the tea, and date it was packed on.  This is a neat feature for those who want to know exactly how the leaf traveled from tea bush to tea cup!

Tasting Notes for Smith Teamaker’s No. 6 Spring Harvest:

BREWING TIPS:   3 minutes @ 190 degrees F.

THE LEAF:  Full, dark green, twisty tea leaves.

THE SCENT:   Like steamed bok choy or other similar green leaf vegetables.

THE STEEP:  Brews to a very light buttery yellow.  Sweet, fresh, and bright with a nutty finish.

GET IT:  The No. 6 Spring Harvest blend is only available at  Williams Sonoma.  However, at the Smith Teamaker website you will see an option for No. 8 Mao Feng Shui, which is a very similar blend if you’d like to order from Smith Teamaker in Portland, Oregon directly.

FOOD PAIRING:  Char siu bao, also known as Steamed BBQ Pork Buns…the classic Chinese Dim Sum specialty.

Teapot Bouquets

Here’s a quick and easy idea for celebrating Mother’s Day this year!  These Teapot Bouquets transform your everyday, grocery store bunch of blooms into the most beautiful arrangements.  If you hit up your local market today, I’m sure you’ll notice that they’ve stocked up their flower selections by at least double the usual amount.  Flowers?  Check.  Now all you need is a pretty teapot and you’re almost done!

If you ask me, teapots are an even more practical vessel for flowers than vases are.  A teapot spout makes it super simple to refresh the water for your blooms every day so that the bouquet stays fresher, longer.  Also, when you don’t have to remove the entire bouquet out of the vase for each water change, your arrangement is able to keep its shape and structure better.

Tulips are hands down my favorite flower, so I’ve used them here to complement some of the tea wares that I already have in my collection.  The best way to prepare these flower bouquets is by lining the blooms up by their heads and then using a sharp knife to cut through the stems straight across to a height that best suits the teapot you are using.

Pick a teapot that complements the intricate color and detail of your bouquet.  You can see that the flower petals of my bright orange tulips are more opaque than that of these delicate, airy looking pinkish tulips, which is how I decided to pick a solid cream-colored teapot for the orange blooms.  This taller, silvery iridescent teapot paired beautifully with the pink stems, giving them a romantic and soft glow.

My favorite of these Teapot Bouquets is this Japanese cast-iron one filled with elegant white tulips.  I’ve tucked in more of the tulip leaves here for an extra pop of vibrant green color and contrast.  Who knew that tulips, a flower much associated with Holland, would look so perfect in a frosty gold Japanese teapot!

I wish I had some mad macro lens skills like my blogger friend Patty does so that I could do these gorgeous bulbs justice.  If you love naturalistic, close-up shots of blooms and fauna, you must check our her Macro Monday posts!  Her photos of nature are breathtakingly intricate and artistic.

Create a Teapot Bouquet for your mom this year, and pair it with some lovely teacups (and tea!) to complete the set.  Whether vintage, modern, or Asian in style, choose cups that complement the look and feel of your Teapot Bouquet.

Finally, why not brew up some tea for your mom while she sits back and relaxes?   She deserves it.  Present the steeped tea to you mom as a way to show her how much you respect and appreciate her.  This simple gesture is a beloved Chinese tradition that’s taken place between daughters and mothers for generations, and has stood the test of time.

Here is my own sweet and beautiful mom, enjoying time with her 2-year-old granddaughter Maddy just last week.  And with that, I’d like to say Happy Mother’s Day to my wonderful mom and all the other awesome and dedicated moms out there!  Seriously, what would we do without them!?