Biscuits And Cookies, What’s In The Name?

We love baking, whether it be a simple loaf of bread or absolutely delicious pastries like blueberry muffins, banana nut bread or SCONES! Baking is the single most hardest thing to master in the kitchen. Every single aspect of the process needs to be precise and accurate for it to be considered any type of a success. The risk is great but, ultimately, the reward is that much more greater. There is no better feeling than biting into a fresh off the oven muffins or the soft doughy biscuits.

Let’s talk about the exquisite baked snack called biscuits. Do you know how the term “biscuits” came about? It is a french word and was coined to describe twice baked cakes. “Bis” = twice and “cuit” = cooked. It literally means twice cooked. Originally, biscuits were first baked and then returned to the oven for further baking.

Although biscuits are something we consider a 4PM snack that will hold you over until dinner, they are referred to two completely different things. To the British and for most other parts of the world, they are referred to what Americans call cookies. They are small, hardened and flat pastries which can be had as a snack.  In America, biscuits are usually referred to soft cakes. They are a staple of a typical thanksgiving day feast and are usually served with gravy along with, of course, the gigantic bird of epic proportions, the Turkey! The American biscuits are the cousins of what is called scones in Britain and most other parts of the world, although there is a major difference between the two. Scones contain eggs and butter which makes it a richer man’s version of American biscuits.

One theory proposed by Elizabeth Alston in her book “Biscuits and Scones” is that early British colonists came to America with the recipe for scones only to find out that they couldn’t find or afford the necessary ingredients to make them, mainly fresh butter and eggs. They decided to include lard instead of butter and completely eliminated eggs, which gave them something that was similar to scones, American biscuits. 

Is this all too confusing? Its picture time!

Biscuits

There are called biscuits in Britain and all other parts of the world. Cookies in America. 

BiscuitsA

These are called biscuits in America, Scones everywhere else.