Cookies and English biscuits are popular staple snacks that look similar, and made even more delicious when paired with a hot cup of tea or glass of milk. Yet the term cookie is not synonymous with biscuit because they have certain differences in texture, add-ons and presentation.
Biscuits are dry, crisp, and hard and has more similarities with the American crackers than the North American cookies. In the U.S,, biscuits are bread quickly made from savory dough, dropped on a sheet with a spoon, to be baked until crisp on the outside but crumbly on the inside; very much like the English scone.
Differences Between Cookies and British Biscuits
The term cookie originally means “little cake” derived from the Dutch word “Koejk” where baking the little cake was a way to test the temperature of the oven, before a Dutch baker carries on with the baking of the real cake. Like cakes, cookies are created from dough with a thick and soft consistency. That way, the baked cookies come out as denser and chunkier, which makes them different from English biscuits.
The term biscuit is also of foreign origin, basically a combination of Latin words “bis” (twice) and “coquere” (cooked). Denoting therefore that biscuits are twice cooked to bake a kind of bread that is thin, firm, and fluffy. Similar to crackers, you only need a few ingredients when baking biscuits, namely: sugar, butter, and flour.
Traditional English tea drinkers take their afternoon tea with an assortment of pastries including biscuits, which can be dipped into the beverage to absorb the flavor.
Differences in Presentation and Add-ons
The main distinction of cookies from biscuits are the addition of other sweet treats to make each cookie extra delicious. Popular examples of cookie add-ons chocolate chips, caramel chunks, nuts and raisins. Actually, anything can be added to the cookie batter before the dough gets baked, to give the baked goods a richer texture.
Additions to biscuits, whether American or English are presented differently as they are applied as decorations after the biscuits are taken out of the oven. Popular options are biscuits dipped in or drizzled with caramel and/or with chocolate. They can also be formed as a biscuit sandwich filled with jam, cream or custard, topped with icing or sometimes with a hole at the center to show the filling.