And I think I've found the recipe:
It's based on this recipe , but I made the following modifications/clarifications:
- raisins soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes to puff them up
- organic butter instead of "margarine or butter"
- I rolled the dough thinner to make a smaller biscuit, and the cooking time was shorter -- about 10 minutes
- I didn't brush the tops with butter after baking, which maintains the coarse, dry surface.
If you're looking for a Tim Hortons-style tea biscuit, the only critical change there is to not brush the tops with butter because, in fact, the Tim Hortons biscuit probably uses the cheapest ingredients possible -- you are not going to get organic butter or Fleur de Sel in a Tim Hortons tea biscuit!
Also, I'd add the following notes to the recipe:
- as you are working with this as if it's a dough, as in breadmaking, keep an open canister of flour nearby so that you can dust the dough and dust your hands. The dough was very wet to begin with, and needed quite a bit of dusting, as well as some handling with re-floured hands
- it says to "cut in" the butter until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. I did this by hand and just scrunched everything together over and over again, rubbing it between my fingers, until it resembled fine breadcrumbs, and then did some light lifting and fluffing of it all (similar to what I see women do when they're putting the finishing "lifting" touches on their swank hairdo) so that it wasn't too compressed
- instead of a "greased baking sheet", I used these really great reusable baking liners that my Great Aunt sent me from England. They look like some kind of Teflon-coated plastic -- almost like reusable parchment paper. I prepared it on a baking peel and slipped it right onto an oven rack. The idea here was to avoid burned bottoms on the biscuits. The bottoms didn't burn, but I don't know if the liner was essential to that result or not.
So, that's about all. Like I said, there's nothing special about Tim Hortons tea biscuits, but I couldn't help but notice the strong resemblance.