What are the different types of biscuits?
23 Nov 2020
The biscuit is a national treasure — we Brits love them. In fact, UK shoppers spent an extra £19 million on biscuits in the last month of the summer national lockdown.
Sweet or savoury, crispy or crumbly, there’s a biscuit for every occasion. Whether you’re after a dunkable rich tea for elevenses or a gooey cookie for dessert, biscuits are the perfect bitesize pick-me-ups at any time of day. With such a variety of these tasty nibbles available, have you ever wondered what all the different types of biscuit are?
If you’re looking for something a little bit special, our luxury biscuit range brings together sumptuous cacao and crunchy, buttery bases in an irresistible chocolatey twist on the humble baked snack. Sit back and indulge your senses with each decadent bite.
Not sure which is your favourite? Have a look at our lowdown on the classic types of biscuit we know and love.
Rolled biscuits are the classic biccy archetype. Typically formed from butter, eggs, flour and sugar, the dough is kneaded and rolled out, then cut into rounds and baked.
With a good basic biscuit recipe, the flavour possibilities are endless. You can add all sorts of extra ingredients to make a variety of tempting biscuits — from zesty lemon and orange for a fresh, uplifting flavour, to chewy coconut and raisin for something a little more tropical. And of course, we like to think that a hint of cocoa always adds a nice touch.
Rolled biscuits create the perfect texture for dunking — firm enough to hold their shape when dipped into a hot cup of tea, but soft enough to absorb it.
For a comforting treat with an extra cocoa boost, why not try dunking in a velvety-smooth mug of hot chocolate?
A little bit more rustic than their rolled cousins, drop biscuits are made by ‘dropping’ a spoonful of moist dough onto a baking sheet, rather than rolling them out and shaping them carefully with a cutter.
Drop biscuits contain more liquid than rolled ones and don’t tend to rise as high as other biscuits. While they might look a little rougher on the outside, they are soft and delicious on the inside.
Originating in the Southern States of America, these biscuits are thick and decadent, loaded with butter and buttermilk for a rich flavour and a soft, flaky texture.
Buttermilk is a fermented dairy drink left behind after churning butter. Fermentation gives buttermilk a tangy flavour that can add an extra dimension to biscuits, though sometimes kefir and yoghurt can work as substitutes.
Although buttermilk biscuits are delightful on their own, we believe they can always be enhanced with a little drizzle of melted chocolate…
Whether you pronounce them ‘s-con’ or ‘s-cone,’ these cakey morsels work well as both sweet and savoury dishes and are typically made with a tender, heavy crumb to give a satisfying texture.
In Britain, scones tend to be served with butter or cream and jam, perfect for afternoon tea. The base can be plain or jazzed up with dried fruits such as currants, cranberries and raisins.
An age-old rivalry between Devon and Cornwall asks the real question though: which goes on first — the cream or the jam?
American scones, known simply as “biscuits” are generally served as part of a savoury dish, with meat, vegetables and gravy.
Shortcake is one of our favourite types of biscuit. This buttery delight uses baking powder to help it rise, giving it a fluffy consistency. Shortcakes are often split and topped with strawberries and cream.
Shortbread is similar to shortcake but doesn’t include baking powder. Lots of rich butter gives shortbread a high fat content, resulting in a fine, crumbly texture.
Shortcake and shortbread biscuits are delicious on their own, with fruit and cream, or simply topped with a delicate dusting of sugar.
We have enrobed our Biscuits of the Gods shortbreads in sumptuous smooth chocolate for added luxury — a match made in heaven. Beautifully presented in an elegant tin, they’re ideal for sharing with friends… or to keep all to yourself.
A cookie is a sweet, small, chunky type of biscuit. Or, in America, a cookie is an umbrella term for what we call a biscuit. To add another baking term into the mix, the word ‘cookie’ actually comes from the Dutch word ‘koekje’, meaning ‘small cake.’
Perhaps this is because cookie dough is more cake-like. Similar to drop biscuits, you spoon the dough onto a baking tray, rather than rolling it out and using biscuit cutters.
Types of cookies
As with other types of biscuit, the beauty of a cookie is its versatility. Cookies come in all different flavours and textures — from sugar cookies to peanut butter cookies.
The classic chocolate chip cookie was actually invented by accident in 1930! These cookies, dotted through with neat chocolate chips or speckled with rougher chocolate chunks, offer an assortment of textures to tantalize the mouth.
As cookie dough usually contains a fair amount of sugar, using chocolate with a higher cocoa percentage balances out the sweetness nicely.
You can easily adapt cookies to suit a range of dietary requirements, too. Take a look at this vegan cookie recipe for a delectable dairy-free alternative. You could even add some pieces of our 70% Dark Chocolate Batons to take your vegan baking to a richly indulgent new level.
Snickerdoodles are a popular type of cookie in the United States and Canada, though they are not so common elsewhere. Very sweet and lightly spiced with cinnamon, these cookies use cream of tartar to give them a distinctive tang.
Another cookie classic is the oatmeal variety. Again, these cookies are versatile and easy to make. Rather than using just plain flour, oats are incorporated into the mixture to give a delicious flavour and a texture that’s soft and gooey on the inside and crisp and chewy on the outer edge.
What are the healthiest biscuits?
Biscuits are a wonderful treat, but, as with anything, moderation is key. If you want to try and stay healthy, there are a few things you can look for in a biscuit.
If you’re after a chocolate fix, try to find types of biscuit with a high cocoa content. Not only will it taste richer and more delicious, but you won’t be consuming as many empty sugar calories. When chocolate is high in cocoa, it takes less to keep you satisfied than low-cocoa options. “More cocoa, less sugar” is at the heart of Hotel Chocolat. You’ll find that our Biscuits of the Gods even take their name from the cacao plant itself, Theobroma cacao, or, ‘food of the gods’. Read more about the benefits of high cocoa content in our Cacao Manifesto.
When it comes to cookies, oatmeal cookies have the benefit of being slightly healthier than their counterparts. Wholegrain oats have a number of health benefits. Their high fibre content leaves you feeling fuller for longer, so, with an oatmeal cookie, you won’t be as tempted to keep reaching for the biscuit tin. Oats and raisins are a classic flavour combo that can also help you get some fruit in your diet.
When baking at home, try looking for recipes that use dried fruit as a sweetener, rather than refined sugar. The fibre in dried fruit slows down the absorption of some of the naturally occurring sugars, reducing the quick energy spike you get with refined sugar.
A study earlier this year compared the nutritional content of biscuits in supermarkets. Malted Milks came out as one of the healthiest types of biscuit, with lower amounts of calories, sugar, and saturated fat than other biscuits. Gingernuts, which contain a substantial amount of iron, are also a healthier option.
How biscuits are made
The word ‘biscuit’ has different meanings, depending on which part of the world you live in. However, we generally consider to be small, flat pieces of pastry that are baked to a low moisture content. The term is derived from the Latin ‘bis cotus’, meaning ‘twice-baked,’ though most modern biscuits aren’t actually cooked twice.
Although proportions may vary depending on the type, sweet biscuits tend to include a fundamental combination of flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. Both home-made and factory-made biscuits follow the same basic process: mixing, forming, baking, and cooling.
As part of our Biscuits of the Gods range, our opulent Chocolat Pillows follow this process to create satisfying, crisp biscuits. We then fill them with luxurious creme and coat them in our premium chocolate to create a real feast for the senses. One-third biscuit, and two-thirds decadent chocolate – we’ve taken biscuit to the next level of indulgence!
Did you find your favourite types of biscuit in this blog? Comment or message us on social to let us know if we missed one!