Warm, comforting, aromatic, and delicious – Pumpkin Spice Molasses Tea Biscuits are rustic in presentation and are the definition of home style, old-fashioned baking.
Also commonly known as molasses buns, or lassy buns, these are probably one of the most recognized and passionately loved flavours in Newfoundland. I think everyone’s mom had a molasses tea biscuit recipe that they would turn to over and over again.
Even though the majority of my story here will refer to my mom’s molasses tea biscuits, it’s important to understand that the recipe below is not for her old recipe, but for my updated version, which has that same molasses flavour, but also with pumpkin spice!
In our home, mom’s molasses tea biscuits were almost always present. To the best of my knowledge, tea biscuits were most always eaten in three basic ways. The first is probably the most obvious. Molasses tea biscuits were often consumed with a hot cup of tea, usually as a snack, light lunch, or for breakfast.
Home-packed lunches were also a place where tea biscuits would show up. If we were going berry picking for the day, or hunting rabbits, or anything that involved being away from home and in the woods, tea biscuits tagged along.
My mom would slice them in half, smear them with butter, and sandwich them together. Wrapped in plastic wrap, the tea biscuits would be eaten at the first sign of hunger.
The third way was in the form of a dessert. Yes, Dear Reader, in our family home, desserts were not always present in the form of a pie or a cake, but every meal ended with something a little sweet.
Tea biscuits, again served with a liberal smearing of butter and a hot tea, were the norm. I can also remember eating them as a bedtime snack!
My dad still makes this same version that my mom used to make. In retrospect, I’m not sure if mom ever did bake them more than my dad did when we were all kids and living at home. My dad was never one of those super macho men who was too afraid to throw around a little baking soda and flour!
I remember tea biscuits being made at least once a week while my dad was away at work. For much of my childhood, my dad would go to work out of town late Sunday night and we wouldn’t see him again until later in the evening on Friday. So, my mom is going to win the honour of being assigned the master of the tea biscuit in our family.
So, what makes these tea biscuits so special? Would you believe me if I replied with everything? Pumpkin Spice Molasses Tea Biscuits take every flavour you have come to know and love about fall, and bakes it into one very basic treat.
First, there’s the sweet and familiar taste of molasses – a Newfoundland staple. We were never without it – like ever! Then, there’s the butter and the sugar. And, what compliments molasses better than a class pumpkin spice blend?
There’s all-spice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. All of these spices are warming and cozy; they have a bit of heat at their core and you’ll taste that in these tea biscuits– not in excess, but as a back note to the other flavours.
Every fall, I make a big batch of Pumpkin Spice blend. The original owner of the blend that I use is the Pioneer Woman, so you know this stuff is good! I make a lot of recipe with those flavours, so I tend to make a double batch.
I encourage you to make these Pumpkin Spice Molasses Tea Biscuits as soon as you can. I also encourage you to try smearing them with butter. (Oh, I wish I could go back and eat one of these fresh from mom’s oven with a nice helping of Eversweet butter!) If you’re not a tea drinker, a coffee will do just fine. I swear, you’ll love the aromatic rustic flavours so much, you just might eat two!
Now, if I were to join you, in true Newfoundland tradition – especially in our home – molasses tea biscuits were often served with a slice of cheddar cheese as well. Weird, yes, but tradition nonetheless! I have to go now, Dear Reader, I’m feeling a bit hungry. Bye!
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Pumpkin Spice Molasses Tea Biscuits
- 1/2 cup molasses
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 teaspoons pumpkin spice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a silicone liner or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Using a hand-held mixer, blend together the molasses, butter, and milk until completely incorporated.
- Add the egg and vanilla. Mix into the molasses mixture.
- Add the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and pumpkin spice. Mix until just incorporated. DO NOT OVER MIX!
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Using floured hands, knead the dough a few times just to bring the dough together. Flatten with your hands into a round, disk shape.
- Dust with flour, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out to 3/8 of an inch. (If you want thicker biscuits, roll the dough a little thicker - do not roll thicker 3/4 inch or they will not bake all the way through. If you roll the dough thicker, you'll get fewer tea biscuits.)
- Use a round cookie cutter to cut the dough. Press down firmly, do not twist the cookie cutter. Twisting will result in a lopsided tea biscuit once baked.
- Place on prepared baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Bake for 14 minutes.
- Remove from oven. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
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