Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Taking My Chances

Ever since my Mom died almost four years ago, my Dad has been 'looking' for the PERFECT tea biscuit.

Yesterday while at his house, he asked if I could go to this 'new' bakery in Dartmouth to get him some of their's. I got there and they were closed on Mondays!

So this morning I thought I would try to make him some.....from Mom's recipe!!!!

I've tried before but to no avail........hard as rocks and heavy. Mom's were 'light and fluffy'!

I remember her telling me years ago as I used to sit and watch her bake, and sometimes help her too, that it is important NOT to 'handle' the dough too much......only enough to pull all the ingredients together. She was a great 'baker'.

                Ready for the oven.
I felt lucky today. Let's see how they come out.

And through the magic of blogging, here they are!!!!

Now let's try one........M-M-M!? They smell good! But a little heavy, and they didn't raise. Taste-wise? Not 'light and fluffy' like Mom's!

Let's go back and see what I used.......

I think it was the oil I used. It asks for vegetable oil and I used grape seed oil which is a vegetable oil but probably not a light enough one.

Also, I was maybe too careful in handling them....didn't mix in enough flour. They were pretty sticky when I was cutting them out.

So the little 'nuggets' won't be going to Dad's today. They are edible but nothing like Mom's! So back to the 'drawing board' for me! I'll get it one of these days! LOL!


  1. But they look great! I think you should take them to Dad's anyway. He might like them...

    My grandma used to make the best chocolate chip muffins ever. She passed her recipe on to her family, but regardless of how we've tried... we have never produced a muffin quite like Grandma's.

    Better luck next time, Jim.

  2. Practice makes perfect! My Mom always used to tell me not to overdo it with the rolling pin either. Just enough to flatten because the more you roll the dough, the tougher it gets. I don't have her fine technique either!

  3. mmm well I am not a super baker but a fair one. I use Grapeseed oil always when a recipe calls for vegetable oil :O). Did you check the expire date on your baking. If its expired that could be why they didn't rise :O). Ask me how I know this LOL.

    That is so nice you made those for your Dad :O).

  4. Looks good to me...!!...but, what do i know....i don't bake either...!!


  5. I can't make homemade biscuits either, so I use a mix. Tried that?

  6. My Mother was a great baker, too. My particular nemesis is her chocolate chip cookies. They were so good that, every time she went to a "bring something to eat" party, the hostess would beg her to bring them. I have her recipe and have tried and tried to duplicate them. No use, they come out tasting good, but nothing like hers.

    You probably know this, but, was everything room temperature, and did you use regular flour, not the pre-sifted stuff? I read someplace that the problem with old recipes is that the fixings today are different and that can cause a tried and true recipe to fail.

  7. LOL I tried making biscuits this weekend. Not as fluffy as my mom's either. Next time, I am heating the liquids then letting the dough rest after cutting them to form. Maybe that will help?

    Take care,

  8. Perhaps it would help if you wore a nice frilly apron. It might be what made your Mom's biscuits so fluffy. Just sayin! m.

  9. Blimey, they look pretty good to me! You have made me feel hungry ;-)

    So biscuits in Canada are different to biscuits in the UK... are yours sweet or savoury?

  10. Annie, these can be sweet or not. Over here we call the sweeter ones, scones. Your 'biscuits' are like our 'cookies' aren't they?

    Mark, guess the apron I was wearing wasn't frilly enough! lol

    Thanks for the other good advice Mal, Louise and Texan! Will give it a try.

  11. I'm sure you will get it figured out and in the meantime you get to eat all the 'mistakes!' right??

  12. I think you should have taken some to your Dad. I know he would have appreciated your efforts. I have no advice as I'm don't know how to bake biscuits. But I am going to learn though and this may help me.--Inger

  13. Oh, please keep trying - they look so good. Your mother would be so proud of you, so honored that hers are the BEST, and that no one else's can compare. I hope you get them just right and can keep the tradition going.

    And I hope you take the plunge and get a lovely little kitten. Please post photos if you do!

  14. They look super & I can almost smell them too! xxx

  15. They look absolutely delicious to me! I'd gobble them all up.

  16. your mom gave you the best advice: not to handle it too much. relax when doing this. i usually don't put too much effort into it and come off with good or decent results. i'd have one of your biscuits, with tea and lemon curd. Miam!! keep trying!! and play your favorite music to set the proper mood.

  17. Well, I am no baker. But, you are right in not messing with the dough too much. Grape seed oil is good for making my soaps etc., but not for biscuits. Even tho this sounds old fashioned and kinda gross.....I think lard makes the best biscuits, pies and soap!

  18. Hi Jim,are those what we call "scones" here? If so I have a fool proof recipe where no eggs are used.. I could mail it for you if you want! Those look delicious anyway!

  19. How very sweet and lovely to bake your Dad Tea Bisquits from your Mom's Recipebook!!!!

    I am certain they taste fantastic!!!!!They look golden and crispy and very inviting.....I feel like having a coffee right now...!!

    Even if they weren't fluffy and light and perfect as the ones your Mom baked; I am sooo convinced your Dad would love to try them....It is such a sweet thought!!!

    As I am a "hobby baker" and passionate Bisquit eater.....I probably would try to use instead of the oil you used a lighter one; as you mentioned....and never ever work toooo much and toooo long the dough!!!!

    Have a great week, Jim!!
    ciao ciao elvira

  20. Served with jam and cream, yes? I like.

  21. Jim, this is close to my heart. When my grandmother died several years ago, many people in the family clamored to try to find her recipes and replicate the holidays she would put on. But, just as you know, those things can never be duplicated. Her hands, her feel, her "way" was all her own, and that can never be replicated by anyone, even those with the purest intentions. Personally, I see beauty in that. As someone who has made homemaking the focus of her life for the past 10 years, I am heartened when such arts are truly appreciated and valued. I think it's wonderful to think that your mother, my grandmother, all of us (hopefully) have something so unique to us that it can never be replicated or replaced. I would have to think that there is a part of these women that is happy that they are missed so and in so many ways, and that they cannot be replaced in even small ways. I think it's lovely that she left you with such fond memories of her biscuits, and I think it's fitting that they can only be made by her. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with trying -- I have tried my hand at many of my grandmothers recipes and ways, but I have come to delight in the fact that there was something so special about her that no one else will ever capture. I can only hope I leave such an impression one day. (That said, none of that helps when you have a hankering for those biscuits, I'm sure!)

    Btw, I "overheard" your advice to John a while back about oil of oregano for warding off colds. I quietly bought myself a bottle and waited. Sunday came my chance. All sniffly, watery, and sneezy, I imbibed the "interesting tasting" stuff. I woke up the next morning almost right as rain. Three days later, the cold is gone before it every really started. Yay! Thanks!

  22. They look delicious! I'm also a lover of a tea biscuit, as long as it's a dunker, x

  23. What you cal "Biscuits" in Canada and the US, we call them "Scones" in Australia. Jim, Try this recipe for "Lemonade Scones"

    300g (2 cups) self-raising flour, sifted
    55g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
    125ml (1/2 cup) thick cream
    125ml (1/2 cup) lemonade
    40ml (2 tbs) milk

    Preheat the oven to 220°C. Lightly grease a baking tray.

    Place the flour, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Add the cream and lemonade and mix to form a soft dough.
    Turn out onto a lightly floured workbench and knead lightly until combined.
    Press the dough with your hands to a thickness of about 2cm.
    Use a 6cm round cutter to cut out 8 scones, place on baking tray and brush the tops with some milk.
    Bake for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned. Serve warm with your favourite jam.

  24. I'm with Mark on this one.... try a different apron. My mother-in-law's claim to fame was that she didn't wash her hands.
    But for real, you are right, if the dough was sticky, you needed a touch more flour. I sold my pizza resteraunt 4 years ago and know a thing or two about baking. However going from an industrial kitchen to my little 10sq. foot thing-a-ma-gig kitchen, I don't dare try baking at home.

  25. Biscuits, one of the hardest, simple things to make well

    The measure you have the flour in is a liquid measure. Do you have dry measure cups? They should not be swaped.

    Oils dont swap, the chemical reaction in heating and the overall pH ( levening) can be changed

    Yes the mix enough, not too much is the big challenge.

    I rarely get it right. Even with foolproof recipies

    which, I guess, makes me a fool

    I found a hand written recipe for tea bread in my Grammies cookbook ( 1917) and it came out great.


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