Chocolate chip biscuit [BE biscuit vs AE biscuit vs cookie]

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EdisonBhola

Senior Member
Korean
Hi all, I heard that British people call what Americans call cookies "biscuits". But for chocolate chip cookies, would BE speakers say "chocolate chip biscuits" instead?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, we would, but they could also be called cookies, which has a much narrower meaning in BrE: a rough, irregular, round biscuit, as if from dough spooned onto a tray and baked. Chocolate chips are usually in this sort of biscuit, so they could be labelled chocolate chip cookies here.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I don't disagree with Entangledbank, but I'd still call them "chocolate chip biscuits". Why? Because I'd feel ever so slightly embarrassed at having adopted the advertiser's name for them, when it's not the word I normally use.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean


    Thanks. How about the above then? Some of these are round while some are rectangular. Do BE speakers call them biscuits or cookies?
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    You didn't ask for the Australian perspective on this, Edison, but I'll offer it anyway. :D We normally use the word 'biscuit' like the Brits (although 'cookie' is becoming quite popular due to American TV, movies etc.), but for some reason 'chocolate chip cookie' seems to have become a set phrase. I rarely hear 'chocolate chip biscuit' here. :)
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    'chocolate chip cookie' seems to have become a set phrase
    I don't have much contact with England nowadays, but my kids all talk about these "cookies", so I think it's probably a set phrase for Brits too (it's what's printed on the packet). For me they're just biscuits, because "cookies" for me are the large, soft, American type of biscuit that stick to my teeth."

    Edit: (I'm referring to the "chocolate chip" things, not the ones in the photo).
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    I've learned over the years to use biscuits, thanks to my BE-speaking wife, but when it says "Butter Cookies" on the tin (and Kjeldsens' are extremely popular in both Hong Kong and Penang), I call them butter cookies – which sounds a lot better than butter biscuits. Although we do get Scottish shortbread (biscuits) here, too – which I call simply shortbread.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    I've learned over the years to use biscuits, thanks to my BE-speaking wife, but when it says "Butter Cookies" on the tin (and Kjeldsens' are extremely popular in both Hong Kong and Penang), I call them butter cookies – which sounds a lot better than butter biscuits. Although we do get Scottish shortbread (biscuits) here, too – which I call simply shortbread.
    Without the brand or the tin (let's say it's a knockoff product), would you call them biscuits or cookies?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Without the brand or the tin (let's say it's a knockoff product), would you call them biscuits or cookies?
    It would depend on who I was talking to – cookies for AE speakers and biscuits for BE speakers. And yes, I pay that much attention, especially since both terms are in my everyday vocabulary. :) Now pass me a biscuit and a cookie – I'll have both.

    And I use shortbread no matter who I'm talking to.
     

    EdisonBhola

    Senior Member
    Korean
    This is a little confusing. What do British people call the snacks that Americans call biscuits? For example, those circular biscuits with chocolate coated on one side?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    What do British people call the snacks that Americans call biscuits? For example, those circular biscuits with chocolate coated on one side?
    I'm not sure what you're talking about. In American English a biscuit is a type of bread roll.

    Cookies that are circular and coated in chocolate on one side are still cookies. :p
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    According to Wikipedia:

    In the United States and some parts of English Canada, a "biscuit" is a savoury quick bread, somewhat similar to a scone, though sugar is not used in the dough. Leavening is achieved through the use of baking powder or when using buttermilk baking soda. Biscuits are usually referred to as either "baking powder biscuits"[3] or "buttermilk biscuits" if buttermilk is used rather than milk as a liquid. A Southern regional variation using the term "beaten biscuit" (or in New England "sea biscuit") is closer to hardtack than soft dough biscuits.[4]
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    The picture is of a pack of arrowroot biscuits.

    The answer is always "biscuits". To the BE ear, "cookie/cookie" is very AE. It is so AE that in my mind it creates the idea of a pair of freckled, archetypal American kids from the Mid-West of the USA sitting in the kitchen at a table with a chequered cloth. They have a biscuit in one hand and a glass of milk in another - a scene that is alien to the UK.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Would you say "chocolate chip biscuits" Paul? Just checking whether I understand the implications of your post. I have the same mental image - we may have seen the same "movies".
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    It is so AE that in my mind it creates the idea of a pair of freckled, archetypal American kids from the Mid-West of the USA sitting at a table with a chequered cloth, in the kitchen with a biscuit (don't you mean 'cookie', Paul? :D) in one hand and a glass of milk in another - a scene that is alien to the UK. Really! Australians must have picked up this habit from the Americans, then. It was always milk and cookies, er... I mean, biscuits, after school to tide us over until dinner (or is that 'tea'? :rolleyes:)
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Would you say "chocolate chip biscuits" Paul?
    Yes, I certainly would. I distinctly remember that there were chocolate chip biscuits before there were chocolate chip "cookies". When I saw the word "cookies", I wondered how they were different from biscuits - they weren't. Eschewing the blandishments of the marketing man to have me be part of the American Dream, they remain "biscuits".

    The following converstation:
    "I've got some biscuits. Do you want some?"
    "What sort are they?"
    "Chocolate chip."
    "They aren't biscuits, they are cookies."​
    is a conversation that you are not going to hear in BE.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    Likewise, the following conversation is not a conversation you're going to hear in American English:

    "I have some cookies. Do you want some?"
    "What kind are they?"
    "They're round and coated in chocolate on one side."
    "Those aren't cookies, they're biscuits."
    :D
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Have a look at the Wikipedia article on Biscuit – it shows American and British biscuits side by side (below, as well, although those don't look like the ones Grandma made):

    BiscuitsAmerican&British.png
     

    dermott

    Senior Member
    B.E. via Australian English
    Really! Australians must have picked up this habit from the Americans, then. It was always milk and cookies, er... I mean, biscuits, after school to tide us over until dinner (or is that 'tea'? :rolleyes:)
    One of the reasons I fled Australia for Italy. Here there is one word to cover the lot. And I'm not allowed to post it in an English-only forum. Dinner or tea? Depends whether you're Eastern or Western suburbs. In Sydney anyway.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I'm not so sure I trust that Wikipedia article, Copy. They mention "biscuits with gravy".:D:eek:
    I don't know if you're joking, Velisarius, but you can definitely dunk American biscuits in gravy. They're not too sweet for that to work.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "American biscuit (left) from Bob Evans Restaurant (Unit 141, Pittsburgh, PA)."
    I'll leave it to you to write to Mr Evans (A Welsh name) and tell him of his mistake. :D

    The point about biscuits is given in its etymology "bis-cuit" = "twice baked" - indicating the essential crunchy quality.
    I don't know if you're joking, Velisarius, but you can definitely dunk American biscuits in gravy. They're not too sweet for that to work.
    What? You mean like we dip our biscuits in our tea, they dip their biscuits in gravy?
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    What? You mean like we dip our biscuits in our tea, they dip their biscuits in gravy?
    It's not the standard or default way to eat them, but you certainly could. Or you could pour the gravy on top (which is more common). My point was that biscuits + gravy was not a weird combination.

    I found these online posts about eating biscuits with gravy:

    As for eating style: it works eaten properly with knife and fork, gravy poured over top; English style, daintily breaking off a piece and spreading gravy on it; or dunking. All good.

    Haha, I dunked it! I know it's typically eaten split in half and smothered in gravy with a fork (which was provided) but dunking keeps the biscuit more crisp and let's me control the amount of gravy better.


    Review: Carl's Jr. - Biscuit 'N' Gravy | Brand Eating
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    "Biscuits and gravy" historically was a Southern US thing, but several fast food chains have spread the concept around the country. This is how they are typically served:
    B&G.jpg


    This type of biscuit may look like a scone, but they are normally much lighter and taste like bread.
     

    elroy

    Imperfect Mod
    US English, Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I don't really associate biscuits with scones. They're two fairly distinct things in my book (appearance aside).
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The point was (#12) that they originally were to give them the crunchiness which is the main attribute of a biscuit.
    The crunchiness associated with ricotta cheese (which has a similar etymology)? "Cookies" would seem to involve a lot of cooking etymologically, too. ;)
    the large, soft, American type of biscuit that stick to my teeth."
    These really didn't exist until I was an adult so I think this may be a bit of a misconception. We always had hard, crunchy cookies when I was a child (and we walked to school in the snow and it was uphill both ways).
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Myridon, that isn't what I meant. How confusing all this terminology is. I'm glad I don't eat biscuits - I only eat home-made koulourakia.

    The sort of thing we (used to) get in Britain, and that we did call "cookies" were rather large round American-style biscuits that were marketed as "cookies" and indeed were not crunchy like biscuits. We even get them in Greece and they're marketed as "cookies" here too.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Some people may get their cookies off in this discussion, but it's just making me hungry! By the way, I liked that film about the American racehorse, Seacookie. Does that take the cookie, or what?
     
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