Biscuit / Cookie

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Alxmrphi

Senior Member
UK English
If we English call them "Biscuits" and still have "Cookies" (a type of biscuit) then what do the Americans call the same type of "cookie", if all biscuits are called cookies?
 
  • lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    So you do say biscuits in America, they just aren't ANYTHING like English ones? That's a scone!
    Those are only biscuits in the South, to complicate matters further. Up here we'd call that either a scone or a muffin.
     

    rsweet

    Senior Member
    English, North America
    Biscuits in America are not sweet. They're more like bread. Cookies are sweet, and they usually have names—chocolate chip cookie, shortbread cookie, sugar cookie, etc.

    Usually, the only time cookie and biscuit are interchangeable is when referring to dog biscuits/cookies.:D
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    Interesting thread. Where I live, the treats we give our dogs are sometimes called dog-biscuits, but never cookies. We rarely call anything else a biscuits, outside of those served in fast food or southern-style restaurants. And Oreos are definitely cookies. Even the package says so.
     

    Chazzwozzer

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    Interesting thread. Where I live, the treats we give our dogs are sometimes called dog-biscuits, but never cookies. We rarely call anything else a biscuits, outside of those served in fast food or southern-style restaurants. And Oreos are definitely cookies. Even the package says so.
    This is what the Oreos sold in Turkey look like. It can't be read in the image, but it says "World's number 1 biscuit" (or something very similar, I am sure about biscuit part, though.) above of "Oreo." They are probably imported from an English-speaking country and it sure isn't the United States! Maybe now I can say the English call Oreo a biscuit, eh?
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    This is what the Oreos sold in Turkey look like. It can't be read in the image, but it says "World's number 1 biscuit" (or something very similar, I am sure about biscuit part, though.) above of "Oreo." They are probably imported from an English-speaking country and it sure isn't the United States! Maybe now I can say the English call Oreo a biscuit, eh?
    Maybe I should have underlined the part where I start the paragraph, "Where I live..." ;)
     

    Chazzwozzer

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    I noticed that and that's why I said it could not be possibly imported from the United States, where you live, and the English possibly called it a biscuit. :)
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Well where lsp comes from, she said she'd call it a scone, which we English would, (cos it is!) I didn't know there was a north/south split in America on what they're called.

    I'm well and truly confused.
     

    CaptainWigster

    New Member
    English - United States
    I am a native of the United States, and I agree with what an earlier post said.

    In the United States:
    A biscuit is never sweet.
    A cookie is always sweet.

    If it has no sugar or sweetner it is a biscuit, no matter what form it comes in. As mentioned, a dog treat is pretty much always called a biscuit. Having never tasted one, I guess I just assume it is not sweet.

    A scone is sweet, so you'd never call it a biscuit. Also, a muffin is sweet, so you would never call it a biscuit either.

    Here in the U.S. anyway.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    We have loads of sweet biscuits here.

    Sweet = Cookie
    Not = Biscuit, got it.
    Does America not differentiate between the small (two inch wide, or so) crisp, two layers sandwiched with a creme filling thing which we call a "biscuit", and the (six inch wide) slightly undercooked, possibly chocolate-chip speckled, thing which we call a "cookie"?

    What you call biscuits, the not-sweet things, we generally call "crackers", or maybe "water biscuits".
     

    CaptainWigster

    New Member
    English - United States
    Does America not differentiate between the small (two inch wide, or so) crisp, two layers sandwiched with a creme filling thing which we call a "biscuit", and the (six inch wide) slightly undercooked, possibly chocolate-chip speckled, thing which we call a "cookie"?
    No difference to us, both would be called cookies to us.

    What you call biscuits, the not-sweet things, we generally call "crackers", or maybe "water biscuits".
    Yes I've noticed what the british call "crackers" are totally different in the US. What we call crackers are often salty, though I have seen many types of what we call crackers that are not salty. Either way, if they are sweet, they would be called cookies.

    If you were to look in a grocery store in the US, you might see something that said on the package, "Sweet Biscuit" to let us silly american's know that it was sweet (because we assume biscuits are not).

    Interestingly, I've never seen anything that would be called a "Sweet Cracker" in the US. So crackers fall under the 'never sweet' category also.

    I believe I recall when my daughter was young, I would buy her 'Teething biscuits' or maybe even 'teething crackers', and I think they would be sweet. I think that would be the main exception here. You could safely assume something meant for infants or toddlers would have sweetner in it, to make them like it more.

    This really is an interesting topic!
     

    invictaspirit

    Senior Member
    English English
    Ah now...you see...let's not over-simplify it. :)

    Britain has a HUGE variety of crackers. Some are salty. Some have herbs. Some have seeds on them. Some are cheese-flavoured. Some are extra crunchy and some are softer. The non-salty crackers you are referring to are either 'water biscuits' (very crunchy) or 'cream crackers' (less so) are supposed to be neutral-tasting so you can appreciate the flavour of the cheese you eat them with.

    To befuddled Brits: IMO what Americans call biscuits (in the South) are like a cheese scone without the cheese flavour. They pour stuff on them, but I'm not getting into that. Suffice to say, if you order 'biscuits and gravy' you don't get biscuits or gravy.
     

    rsweet

    Senior Member
    English, North America
    Does America not differentiate between the small (two inch wide, or so) crisp, two layers sandwiched with a creme filling thing which we call a "biscuit", and the (six inch wide) slightly undercooked, possibly chocolate-chip speckled, thing which we call a "cookie"?

    What you call biscuits, the not-sweet things, we generally call "crackers", or maybe "water biscuits".
    As I said earlier, in the US, cookies are often preceded with the type. This would be called a sandwich cookie. "Cracker" opens a whole other subject. I take your attack on the sacred chocolate chip cookie as a potentially hostile remark: Mrs. Fields, Famous Amos, and I may need to launch a counter attack.:D
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    To befuddled Brits: IMO what Americans call biscuits (in the South) are like a cheese scone without the cheese flavour. They pour stuff on them, but I'm not getting into that. Suffice to say, if you order 'biscuits and gravy' you don't get biscuits or gravy.
    Are cheese scones soft on the inside then? Because biscuits here in the US are. What are sold as scones here are rather hard throughout.

    Biscuits are baked throughout the US and are eaten with margarine (or butter) and/or with jelly (or jam or honey). Biscuits and gravy is a breakfast dish I associate with the South.

    Cookie to indicate a chocolate chip cookie or an oatmeal-raisin cookie is a relatively recent Americanism in Britain, isn't it? That is, fifty years ago, wouldn't a Brit encountering such a cookie refer to it as a biscuit, it not even occurring to him to use the word cookie?
     

    invictaspirit

    Senior Member
    English English
    Are cheese scones soft on the inside then? Because biscuits here in the US are. What are sold as scones here are rather hard throughout.

    Biscuits are baked throughout the US and are eaten with margarine (or butter) and/or with jelly (or jam or honey). Biscuits and gravy is a breakfast dish I associate with the South.

    Cookie to indicate a chocolate chip cookie or an oatmeal-raisin cookie is a relatively recent Americanism in Britain, isn't it? That is, fifty years ago, wouldn't a Brit encountering such a cookie refer to it as a biscuit, it not even occurring to him to use the word cookie?
    Hmm...a fresh cheese scone should be soft on the inside. They are a very old-fashioned thing now...the sort of food grandmas used to make. The sweet varieties, especially if bought in supermarkets, should have a cake-like consistency. Certainly not hard, but not really fluffy like a cheese scone either. I haven't eaten a US-style biscuit for a few years now. I remember them being closest to a home-baked cheese scone, but not exactly like them.

    I think we started to use the word cookie around the 1960s to describe specifically chocolate-chip cookies. I was born in 1964 (and can remember things like that from about 1969 onwards) and I can't remember a time when you couldn't get them, or their being new. There was an enormous wave of Americana here in the late 50s (coinciding with rock n' roll and a second Hollywood golden age). According to my parents, that brought things like peanut butter, hot dogs, burgers and, no doubt, choc-chip cookies into mainstream UK supermarkets by the early '60s.
     

    AzizaCloud

    New Member
    American English
    In North American usage:
    A biscuit is a leavened bread which should be light and fluffy if home-baked. A biscuit from a fast-food outlet such as KFC, Church's (known in the Middle East as Texas Chicken), or McDonald's will be heavy and doughy. Infrequently, biscuits are made savory with the addition of cheese, as with those offered by Red Lobster
    A scone is a leavened bread which is usually heavy, like a biscuit from an American fast-food outlet. It often contains raisins, which in non-North American usage, refers to sultanas.
    A cookie is an pastry product which is almost always unleavened and is usually sweet. Cookies may be crispy or chewy.
    A cracker is an unleavened bakery product which is usually crunchy or crispy

    Now this leads me to the question that's bugged me for years: What is the British word, if any, for what a North American would call a biscuit?
     
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