What Are Rich Tea Biscuits?

Written by maryann kay
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What Are Rich Tea Biscuits?
The rich tea biscuit is the perfect accompaniment to a tea break (cakes image by JoLin from Fotolia.com)

Rich tea biscuits are sweet and slightly crisp biscuits that perfectly accompany a cup of tea. Like biscotti for coffee, the rich tea biscuit is meant for dunking, but unlike biscotti, one dunk is the maximum as the rich tea biscuit is slender and crumbles easily when wet.

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History

The rich tea biscuit evolved in the 18th century in England as a snack with beverages between courses or meals. There are many varieties sold in England and in the United States. Some American versions are closer to a shortbread cookie, than to the slightly cracker-like English biscuit. French and American versions can be rectangular but English rich tea biscuits are usually round.

What Are Rich Tea Biscuits?
English rich tea biscuits are mostly round; American versions are often rectangular. (biscuit image by Eldin Muratovic from Fotolia.com)

Taste

Made from wheat flour, shortening, sugar, milk and a touch of barley malt, the rich tea biscuit imparts a sumptuous flavour when eaten with a sip of tea. Today vegetable oil or shortening is usually used, but originally butter provided the richness. Sugar was a luxury at the time the biscuits were created, hence the "rich" name. Although, originally plain, chocolate-covered varieties have gained in popularity.

What Are Rich Tea Biscuits?
Tea and biscuits, a 300-year-old tradition. (ceramic tea set image by Andrey Kulygin from Fotolia.com)

More Delicious Than Nutritious

Good measures of fat, sugar and sodium with little if any fibre means indulging in the rich tea biscuit is to be viewed as a treat rather than a good nutritional choice. Those who enjoy these biscuits can bake their own with canola and reduce the saturated fat content to zero.

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