Cookies Versus Biscuits: The Baking War?

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They’re both tasty treats and snacks, they both have a sweet taste, but what are the things that drive them apart? We strive to know more about food than just write recipes for you. Right now, we’re pitting cookies versus biscuits, trying to find out what makes them tick. 

I came out of writing this article knowing way much more about the cookies versus biscuits dilemma than I ever thought I would know. And it’s so interesting in my book. I started my investigation by reading the dictionary. And here’s what I found out.

Cookies versus biscuits: The semantics

Let’s start with the biscuit. In the United Kingdom, the biscuit is definitely sweet and topped with sweet things, like chocolate or forest fruit. It can be dipped in a cuppa tea and can be had as a snack during the day. In the United States, the biscuit is basically bread: it can be eaten with bacon and eggs on top, as a breakfast, or it can be served as dinner with some chicken on top. The word biscuit comes from the Latin “biscotum panem”, which means bread twice baked.

A British biscuit is crunchy and hard on the tooth. An American biscuit is way closer to what Brits call a scone, but not an American scone because that is something different. Confusing, right?

Try our favorite (American-style) cookies, these M&M chocolate chip cookies. They’re to die for.

All the while, a cookie is just as complicated a concept if you take into account American English and British English. In the UK, a cookie is a soft, squishy, and moist biscuit. But in America, a cookie covers both what Brits call a biscuit and what they call a cookie. The origin of the word is from the Dutch word “koekje”, which means “little cake”.

If I were to summarize, then a British biscuit is an American cookie, an American cookie is a British cookie, and an American biscuit is a British scone. But the American scone is something pretty different. Let’s talk about scones another day.

Cookies versus Biscuits: The Baking War?
An American cookie is basically what British people call a biscuit. Confused yet?

Cookies versus biscuits point on point

1. Texture

The texture of cookies is heavy, rough and crispy, loaded with things such as nuts, raisins, chocolate chips, and oats. Biscuits are softer but crispy and thick. They’re loaded with sugar and butter. They both sound pretty good and I have to say my mouth is watering already.

2. Cooking technique

Both cookies and biscuits are baked products and the technique is not all that different. The main difference is in their ingredients. Cookies are heavier compared to the biscuits, which are sweet baked butter breads.

3. Sweetness and sugar

Cookies are soft and sweet and have a more complex flavor thanks to their toppings: chocolate chips, anyone? Or pieces of nuts, or raisins. The larger quantity of sugar in cookies makes them crispier and also chewy. But of course, that same sugar quantity means they’re less healthy. Biscuits are hard and sweet baked breads with a lower quantity of sugar. Cookies can be stuffed with different creams, while biscuits no so much. The bottom line? Cookies are heavier and denser, while biscuits are lighter and fluffier.

Cookies versus Biscuits: The Baking War?
A British scone is completely different from what Americans call scones.

Since we have you here, how about you learn how to make the best chocolate chip cookies with this handy guide?

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1 thought on “Cookies Versus Biscuits: The Baking War?”

  1. Your definition of a biscuit in the UK is wrong. Biscuit is a very wide definition includes sweet biscuits such as cookies HobNobs , semi-sweet biscuit such as Rich Tea, as well as plain or savoury biscuit which you might eat with cheese.
    They can vary in thickness. hardness and texture but usually have some element of crispiness. They can simple covered in chocolate or cream filling.
    Cookies are a small subset of biscuit with a high fat and sugar content, which means they bake quickly with a crispy edge becoming softer nearer the middle.
    All cookies are biscuit, only a few biscuits are cookies.
    Oreos are NOT cookies

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