Tea Biscuits

I have a lot of really old recipes that are my go to when I want to make sure they will turn out. Some come from a great aunt who passed away over forty years ago. Some come from my grandmother who wrote them in a ledger book when my dad was small. Some are from my years in Home Economics Class – we won’t say how long ago that was!

One recipe that I make that never fails and that everyone always enjoys is my tea biscuits. I make them plain or with cheese or sometimes raisins. It all depends on what I am serving them with or if I am making them just as a treat or an alternative for breakfast. They are so yummy warm from the oven with the butter melting all over the soft interior of the fresh cut biscuit.

This past week my grandson Jacob, was at my house as I was preparing dinner. We were having homemade macaroni and cheese – a family favorite. To round out the meal I usually make tea biscuits. I mix up a batch and then split the dough in half. One half I leave plain and the other I add some of the left over shredded cheese from the macaroni.

The tea biscuits turned out extra special this time because they were custom cut by my grandson who is 3 years old. He took great pride in pushing the glass (I use a small glass instead of a biscuit cutter) into the flour first and then down over the dough to make each biscuit just perfect. Everyone that came in the door was told who made the biscuits this time, he was very proud of his accomplishment. He made my husband come into the kitchen and look in the over to see the pan, then informed my husband which ones on the cookie sheet were him and which ones Jacob and I were going to eat.

This recipe comes from a very old, well worn, and well-loved Purity Flour Cookbook that was Copyright in 1932, Revised in 1937, and a second revision in 1945. I will type it as it appears in the book.

2 cups sifted Purity Flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2-4 tablespoons shortening
2/3 cup milk

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening with a knife or pastry blender until mixture resembles fine cornmeal. Add milk to make a soft dough (do not overmix). Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and knead slightly. Roll ½ to ¾ inch thick and cut with a floured cutter. Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet, 1- 1 ½ inches apart if crusty biscuits are desired, otherwise no space need be allowed. Bake in a hot oven (425-450 degrees F.) for 10-15 minutes.

Now of course it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t change the recipe in some way. My secret ingredient to make this recipe even better is a little bit of sugar. As I don’t measure I would guess maybe 2 tablespoonful’s. (I dip my sugar measuring cup in the sugar and when I think I have enough in the bottom that’s what I use.) You cannot taste the sugar in the biscuits. I find it takes away the harshness of the baking soda and flour, but leaves the right taste for biscuits and not turn them into scones. We like the biscuits crusty so I place them spaced apart on my baking sheet.

Jacob was right they were extra special this time. He proved that by eating 3 of the cheese ones for supper. His usual limit is one.

About Linda O'Toole

Women's Fiction Author
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