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The Mad Hatter is my spirit animal.
And whether or not you view Hatter, Hatta or Tarrant Hightopp as an antagonist to Alice Pleasance Liddell or a loyal friend-turned-protector to Alice Kingsleigh, (thereby betraying you as an original book devotee or more of a movie buff), I think we can all agree he is deliciously unhinged.
He brings eccentric complexity and unlikely balance to Alice’s prim Victorian existence, and along with this best friends, the March Hare and the Dormouse, introduce her to idea that her destiny is her own.
His nonsensical poetry, unanswerable riddles and obvious talent for millinery are a glimpse into the creatively unfettered human psyche, a facet we should all remember to explore in our lives, though perhaps with a touch more moderation.
He’s my most favorite storybook character ever, and is obviously special to me on a soul level (Mad Hatter is my childhood nickname even). I think of him, and other storybook characters I grew up with as timeless beings not bound to the laws of time and space with suspension of disbelief seeing them adventuring evergreen.
Netflix is tapping into my love of fantasy by reimagining, reinventing and otherwise revamping characters like my beloved Mad Hatter, Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, giving them continuing storylines as parents whose children are now old enough to attend an spell-binding boarding school called Ever After High.
The like-named Netflix original animated series follows their lives as they shape their own fates. My two got me completely sucked into the show’s fantastical narrative, which means we’re all geeking out about the all-new original special – Ever After High: Spring Unsprung – that sees the students at the school deciding whether or not they want to follow in their parents’ famous footsteps, or just watch others do it.
We decided to throw a wonderland-themed Mad Tea Party to celebrate, complete with a pot hot pot of Early Grey and five easy recipes to help you pull of the tastiest spread ever.
Curiouser and curiouser, don’t you think?
Now for the skinny on the sweet and savory.
Cheshire Cat Tails
Inspired by the mischievous character reimagined by Walt Disney as opposed to the original Tabby British Shorthair or silken-voiced grey-green feline found in the Tim Burton adaptation, these sweet Cheshire Cat Tails are sure to inspire toothy grins all the same. The tea time treats are a cinch to put together, with vibrant melting chocolate and piped frosting providing that iconic pink-and-purple-hue.
Chocolate-Dipped Tea Bag Cookies
Take your standard sugar cookie recipe (the kind that comes in the pouch is totally acceptable) and turn it on its head to create these darling little tea bag-shaped bites. All you need post-baking are some melted chocolate chips, baker’s twine and tags cut from construction paper or card stock (can be as simple or as fancy as you’d like depending on your timeframe) to add the finishing touches.
Sweet and Savory White Rabbit Tea Sandwiches
Tumble down the quintessential teatime rabbit hole with good white bread cut into elegant slices with the crust removed and delicious fillings to go between them. By combining store bought and homemade ingredients (think fresh cucumber slices atop cream cheese; deli ham salad and curried chicken salad; boiled ham nestled into apricot preserves, cream cheese and blackberry jam), your incredibly-easy-to-make finger sandwiches will become the stuff of tea party legend faster than you can say “hello/goodbye!”
The Garden of Pink Chocolate Flowers
All you need to bring these pretty pink chocolate-dipped flowers to life is a box of Salerno Butter Cookies, a bag of melting chocolate and a microwave. Really.
Then, refrigerate for about an hour until the chocolate has fully set, and you’re golden like the afternoon.
Queen of Hearts Nutella Tea Sandwiches
Nutella is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. And when you get creative with the dense, deliciously rich spread, a heart-shaped cookie cutter and white bread cut into slim slices with the crusts removed, it’s like eating hazelnut-and-cocoa-flavored dreams.
Printable recipes for the Cheshire Cat Tails and Chocolate-Dipped Tea Bag Cookies below.
- 1 bag Jumbo Marshmallows
- 1 package 6-in. lollipop sticks
- 1 12 oz. bag Candy Melts (Bright Pink)
- 1 tube Decorating Icing (Violet)
- wax paper
- cookie sheet
- large spoon
- Cover your cookie sheet in wax paper and set aside.
- Skewer 2 jumbo marshmallows on each lollipop stick, taking care not to poke all the way through the top marshmallow and set aside. (Couldn't find jumbo? No worries. Just skewer 4 regular size marshmallows per lollipop stick instead.)
- Microwave Candy Melts in 30-second intervals.
- Stir until smooth and completely melted.
- Cool slightly. (You don't want to melt your marshmallows!)
- Spoon melted Candy Melts over each skewer until completely coated.
- Shake gently to remove excess and place each skewer on the wax paper-covered cookie sheet.
- Repeat until all tails have been coated.
- Put the cookie sheet in the fridge for about an hour or until completely set.
- Pipe with violet icing to create stripes and return to the fridge for about 10 minutes or until firm.
- Bring the tails to room temperature before serving.
Both of my children have life-threatening nut allergies (one is allergic to peanuts and all tree nuts while the other is only allergic to peanuts and walnuts) and were able to eat their tails without any adverse effects. However, please use caution when serving these to your family.
- 1 1lb. 1.5 oz. pouch sugar cookie mix
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour for dusting work surface
- rolling pin
- 2 cookie sheets
- card stock
- Baker's Twine
- wax paper
- hole punch
- butter knife
- Cover one of your cookie sheets in wax paper and set aside.
- Using the card stock and pencil, draw and cut out a large tea bag shape. This will be the template for your cookies.
- Prepare sugar cookie batter according to directions on the pouch.
- Dust work surface with flour and using a rolling pin, roll out the cookie dough to about ¼-in. thick.
- Using your template and a butter knife, cut the dough into tea bag shapes.
- Using a toothpick, gently poke a hole near the top of each cookie. (This is where you'll thread the Baker's Twine later.)
- Bake according to directions on the pouch.
- Cool completely.
- While the cookies cool, cut "tea tags" from the card stock. Set aside.
- Microwave semi-sweet chocolate chips in 30-second intervals until melted.
- Stir until smooth.
- Working one at a time, dip each cookie into the melted chocolate.
- Shake gently to remove the excess and place on the wax paper-covered cookie sheet.
- Refrigerate for about an hour or until the chocolate is firm.
- Once the chocolate is set, tie lengths of Baker's Twine and your card stock "tea tags" to each cookie.
- Bring to room temperature before serving.
Please use caution when serving these to your family.
What are you and your family watching on Netflix this month?