There is a bit of an inner struggle for every American/UK/Irish expat when it comes to sweet little baked treats with a bit of crunch. Should it be called a biscuit or a cookie? To me, the distinction is a clear one and I’ll explain why in three words:
Freeform versus Moulded
Yes, that’s it. My entire biscuit/cookie philosophy comes down to that. Just one simple difference: How the dough is shaped. If it is dropped with a spoon, formed into a ball, or allowed to bake into a natural shape, I deem it a cookie. *imagine some magical chimes* However, if the dough is baked in a mould creating a defined and standard shape each and every time, I proclaim the result to be a biscuit. *again with the chimes*
Of course, there is more. Like how you enjoy the cookie/biscuit and where it is kept.
The word “biscuit” comes from the Italian word “Biscotti,” meaning “twice baked” which would be firm and perfect for dipping in coffee (or tea), the firm and shaped biscuit of Europe makes sense. If it were freeform, the crumbs would fall off sooner and it would be softer to begin with, make it a mess for dipping. Biscuits with tea and coffee, cookies with milk? Why not?
Biscuits also have a longer shelf life since they are denser, firmer, and dryer. For this reason, they are kept in a tin…a biscuit tin. And cookies are in a jar. They don’t last long on a jar. I actually stayed in a B&B in Napa Valley once and after dinner each evening, they filled a large cookie jar in the parlour room with fresh baked cookies for evening snacks. It was one of the most social B&Bs I’ve stayed in for that reason. Guests gathered and played board games and ate cookies.
Now, biscotti is one I’ve not figured out. More research eating is needed, I believe.
If I’m correct about all this, it also means the Oreo is a biscuit. Eek!
What do you think? What biscuits or cookies have you been eating lately?