It's really quite outrageous ……… very out of the ordinary, definitely not an everyday occurrence for most families - waking up children in the middle of the night, for a party, a party with Toffee Bar Chocolate Chip Scones............... Who would do that?
We would ............. and we do!
If you've been a regular visitor here at The Café, you might remember some of the infamous Middle of the Night Parties we've had in the past (like this one or this one). They've become a cherished and fun tradition in our family. For our newer readers, this is how they work; whenever we visit our daughter and her family in London or when they're spending time with us in the States, we always have one of these crazy parties. It often occurs on the last night of the visit and takes place in the wee hours of the morning.
Grammy (that would be me) slips into the girl's room and, starting with Annie, the oldest, I tap them gently on the head. When they arouse a bit, I ask them the big (always the same) question; "Do you want to go back to sleep or do you want to have a Middle of the Night Party?". They always respond with the same (very affirmative) answer; "Middle of the Night Party!". Papa helps carry the bleary-eyed tots downstairs where we have a fun, fancy table awaiting them along with a few yummy treats.
Here's Annie, "the pro", explaining to Lillie, "the novice", that she has to "go right back to sleep after the party, and not make a peep, or mum and dad will NEVER let us have another Middle of the Night Party again". This has been my mantra for all these years as we carry the girlies back to bed. 🙂
This tradition started years ago when Annie, who's now seven, was quite small. Eventually Elle (six this month) joined us. Our little expat family headed back to London last Friday after a fun seven weeks here North Carolina, so, in the deepest, darkest part of the night, it happened again and this time little Lillie (three "and a half") joined in the fun. She's quite proud and feeling very grown up!! It's such a "rite of passage" now and a wonderful way for us to create amazing memories.
We had a little snag the last time we planned one of these special nocturnal festivities. You can read more about it here (we called it A Middle of the Night Party That Almost Was) but in a nutshell, the girlies didn't obey their mum and the party got canceled. There were tears on both sides; the girls as well as the Grammy, but the the little ones learned a valuable lesson; not only that they need to mind their parents, but that there are consequences if they don't.
Such a great life lesson, isn't it? We're all in a lot of trouble if we grow up and haven't learned that important concept. They decided, after that incident, that they wouldn't EVER miss another precious party due to their behavior ................. and guess what? They were good as gold this time, hence the title "A Middle of the Night Party That Was".
I love to make a fun surprise treat for the girls for these festive parties and decided this time that scones would be a perfect little nighttime nibble. Not just any scones though; I was inspired by a recipe I saw in a favorite new cookbook. I had fun adapting the recipe a bit and came up with these Toffee Bar Chocolate Chip Scones. The girls loved them and I must say they're ridiculously delicious! (oh, and I did make tiny versions for the MNP, not the humungous ones you see in the photos, mum and dad would frown on that :)).
The recipe comes together quickly since the scone batter is scooped into small tart pans* in lieu of being rolled or patted out, as in traditional scone recipes. I studded the batter and sprinkled the tops with miniature chocolate chips, then finished with a generous scatter of crushed toffee bars. The results are not only fun to look at, but explode with moist tenderness and delicious flavor.
If you're thinking of creating a new tradition, these fabulous scones would be a perfect initiation treat. If you're not of that inclination, make them anyway, and the first bite may be just the inspiration you need!
P.S. Words of wisdom from an old Grammy;
First, don't be afraid to discipline your children. It's so hard at the time, but honestly, it will make much happier, healthier children. And it will greatly improve your relationship with them. Combining firm discipline and consistent limits with a generous dose of love and affirmation will reap a multitude of benefits. Though it may seem that just the opposite is be true, your kids will respect you so much more and family relationships will be more harmonious.Secondly, don't be afraid to be a bit crazy, unpredictable, perhaps even outrageous. Plan something that's out of the ordinary. Create fun, unique memories. Use your imagination and do something that your kids/grandkids would never expect ............. you might even wake them up in the middle of the night and have a party! The children treasure these special times all their lives, and so will you!
- 3 ½ cups all purpose flour
- ¾ cup butter
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¾ cup mini chocolate chips
- 2 1.4 ounce bars toffee bars such as Heath, coarsely broken
- 8 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Spray 8 mini tart pans* (3½-4 inch) with baking spray. Set tart pans on a parchment lined baking sheet. Set aside.2. Combine flour and butter in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 8-10 times till butter is incorporated. Mixture should look like coarse meal.
In a medium bowl combine sugars, salt, baking powder, baking soda. Stir to blend. Add to the food processor and pulse 3-4 more times till combined.
Empty into a large bowl and make a well in the center. Add buttermilk, egg and vanilla. Stir to make a fairly stiff dough. You may need to add just a bit more buttermilk to be able to incorporate all of the dry ingredients.
Stir in the chocolate chips.
Using a large ice cream scoop or large spoon, scoop 8 even mounds into tart pans. Press into pans just a bit so dough is almost to edges of pans.
For the topping, whisk egg white with a fork in a medium bowl until foamy (this will take about 1 minute). Brush each scone with the egg white. Distribute the chocolate chips and toffee bar pieces evenly over the scones. Gently press chips and toffee pieces to adhere to surface of scone batter.
Bake for 16-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Lower oven temperature if scones appear to be browning too quickly. Allow to cool on baking sheets for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
* ~ custard cups will also work and clean, dry, empty tuna cans work perfect as well.
* ~ custard cups will also work and clean, dry, empty tuna cans work perfect as well.
I only have 4 small tart pans and was wondering if I could bake 4 at a time and then bake the other 4 after cleaning tart pans. I know some recipes do not do well to let the dough sit. Or could I make it in a 11 inch tart pan? I loved the story behind these tarts! Thank you so much.
Chris Scheuer says
Hi Candice, I think it would be fine to bake 4 at a time, wash the pans and then make the others. I haven't tried this in an 11-inch pan so I'm not certain about that.
Aimee Christian says
Chris, I haven't been by in a while but I had to see what this MNP held when I saw the title. LOVE your lesson and the joy. Right now I feel pretty solid on the lessons and discipline, but not so much on the joy. I think I may have to do something like this tonight when my Mom comes to spend the night. Right now, we need joy and outrageous so very much. Thank you for reminding me how to be fun.
OMG! I have never seen scones so gorgeous! I have to try them asap. thanks for sharing the recipe...it would be lovely surprise for my daughter 🙂
What a fun idea!These little girls are so pretty!Love the scones!
Can you be my grandma? Mine are both gone now and I miss them so. One grandma was a cooker and would always ask us what kind of pie we wanted and then would make it for us and we loved it. Your scones look so indulgent I'm wishing I had one right now.
this is inspiring to see scones in a tart form. Such a lovely family tradition, i think when the girls grow up, they will continue on this tradition !
Elisabeth Foodandthrift says
Such a 'heartwarming' post, and lovely photos of your adorable and sweet granddaughters!
Love the idea of the 'middle of the night party' for the girlies, and the chocolate chip scones are over the top super yummy! Thanks for sharing! xo
Susan Lester says
The girls are just darling! You are creating a lifetime of memories for them!
Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking says
Chris, I absolutely gobbled up this post! A "Middle of the Night" party sounds like SUCH a fun little family tradition and the girls look totally tickled with it. I bet this is something they'll remember all their lives! So sweet!