Every Thursday at 5 o’clock, students flock to the cozy residence of beloved Lowell Faculty Deans Diana L. Eck and Dorothy A. Austin (D&D for short), who warmly invite us to Lowell Tea. Run entirely by students, known as Tea Fairies, this tradition proves that Harvard students actually do have practical life skills. (Jokes aside, who needs practical skills? Most of us just invent brilliant shortcuts instead.)
Spoon is honored to have a Fairy in our midst, who gave us a behind-the-scenes look. If you have already been to afternoon tea at Lowell, you know very well that the list below is merely a brief introduction to all that we do. And if you haven’t visited yet, here’s what you’re missing out on.
Bite-size sandwiches are a classic way to begin any tea. Thin and refreshing, these appetizers alternate on a weekly basis between cucumber & cream cheese, banana nutella, and egg salad. On busy days, we put egg salad out with crackers.
Need something more filling? We always make hot and cold cheesy dips to go with salsa chips. Speaking of cheese, you can always count on our classic crackers and baked brie – a heavenly combination of crispy and creamy that’s hard to resist.
On the more sugary side, quick breads are also one of our specialties. Pictured above is our apple cinnamon coffee cake, which is wonderfully fluffy and, combined with tea, makes the perfect afternoon snack. Other days, we bake vegan banana and pumpkin breads.
Cookies and Other Munchies
Peanut butter, brown butter chocolate chip, banana snickerdoodle, coconut macaroon, orange shortbread, or plain o’ sugar cookies – the list goes on. We are always trying new recipes. One particular Tea Fairy is the mastermind behind both these dainty heart-shaped gingersnaps and chocolate coconut congo bars.
These cocoa brownies here have a smooth, velvety finish. For fellow brownie-lovers and/or blender-enthusiasts, rather than using a convoluted 20-step recipe which I did, here’s a phenomenal set of easy blender brownies recipes to try on your own. Or, if you are not a fan of baking, check out these simple no-bake peanut butter bites.
I know what you’re thinking, “Is someone getting married?” Not quite. Here at Lowell, we simply celebrate Thursday. On the left, we have a nut-free salted caramel cake with butterscotch drizzle, and on the right, a vanilla-caramel buttercream cake with fondant decorations. Impressed yet?
This is not your average spongy pound cake. This blueberry pound cake with a Meyer lemon glaze balances zesty and sweet with delicate accuracy. When we’re feeling adventurous, we also send out cinnamon swirl pound cakes.
Speaking of adventure, here are the maple bacon cupcakes we made for our cupcake themed afternoon tea last month. Three years ago, we might’ve been placed in an asylum for this. These days, however, bacon appears everywhere. Other cupcake flavors included champagne and rose, Mexican chocolate, salted caramel and more.
Near Thanksgiving or Christmas time, this brioche french toast casserole materializes from the abyss, sent to fulfill all of your wildest dreams. Other favorites for combatting the bitter Boston winter include apple pie, sweet potato pecan cupcakes, and sweet potato meringue pie just to name a few.
In the spring, we offer these hypnotic stone fruit tarts, along with several other berry-based sweets: mini-strawberry rhubarb pies, lemon cupcakes with strawberry buttercream, and homemade strawberry pop-tarts.
Want to take Lowell tea home with you? The process for making homemade pop-tarts may seem intimidating, but it’s actually a fun, accessible throwback to everyone’s favorite childhood breakfast. Find an easy recipe for homemade pop-tarts here.
The Harvard Favorite
More legendary than the ramen burger. More presidential than Drew Faust. Lowell Tea’s monkey bread. This mouthwatering caramelized confection has been around since the dawn of Lowell Tea back in the 90’s. When the plate emerges from the kitchen hallway, it is followed by a chorus of “Oooh,” and “Ahhh,” disappearing within 30 seconds.
So what are you waiting for? Treat yourself and make your way to afternoon tea at Lowell. It’s only a matter of time before you too start to wonder, “Is it Thursday yet?”