Tea biscuits are one of those very easy and versatile quick breads. I use them for a variety of things - just to eat for breakfast, as a topping for a "chicken pot pie" that I make and as an accompaniment or topping for a pot of chili.
I have tried tons of different recipes for tea biscuits but I always go back to the one that was published in the first cookbook that Canadian Living Magazine put out. It is so light and just so good that any other recipe seems heavy in comparison.
Without further ado here is my version of their tea biscuit recipe:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
4tsp. baking powder (I use double action baking powder.)
1 tsp. salt (I cut this down to about 1/4 tsp. when I use butter.)
1/2 shortening (I use real butter because it adds so much to the taste!)
3/4 - 1 cup of milk or somewhere in between
Mix all the dry ingredients together.
Using a pastry blender or a couple knives, cut in the butter making sure that you don't overdo it. It should look like really coarse oatmeal when you are done.
Add milk all at once, stirring with a fork to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. I tend to add closer to the 1 cup amount rather than the 3/4 cup because I find it makes it lighter.
Add a little bit of flour on top and roll it in it so it is not so sticky - about a couple tablespoons - then gently knead your dough about 10 times. Gently is truly important here - we don't want hockey pucks!
Gently (again - sigh) roll out flat with a rolling pin to about 1/2 - 3/4 inch thickness.
They suggest cutting it with a biscuit cutter but I use a sharp smooth-edged knife and just do wedges that are roughly all the same shape so I am not having to rework the dough.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 425F for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
Remove from oven, slather with butter and raspberry jam. They will be a good 1 1/2 - 2 inches high when they are done and extremely light!
To use these on top of a chicken pot pie, I do everything exactly the same except I top a casserole of hot chicken stew with these biscuits and bake until browned.
Another variation is to use hot chili instead.
You can also brush them with milk and sprinkle with sugar for a sweeter touch.