Cookies or biscuits? Biscuits or cookies? Bickies or biscuits? Let's call the whole thing off. We all love a sweet treat in the afternoon to go with a freshly-brewed cuppa to keep us going til dinner, but when you're in Australia, what is it exactly we're meant to ask for?
Some say 'biscuits', others say the term our American buddies prefer, which is 'cookies' and there's a fierce bone of contention over which term we should use to describe what exactly we're dunking in our tea. Well, it turns out, there's actually a reason for the two names, which do in fact accurately describe two different kinds of baked goods! Here's how it goes...
Australia as we know it is a country descendant from UK from 1788, so there's no surprise that a lot of what we know and how we speak is a spin-off of the way they do things over there. This is where the term 'biscuit' comes from and refers to any packaged or freshly baked item that is made from a stiff, sweet mixture of flour, liquid, shortening and other ingredients, shaped into small pieces before baking or sliced after baking*. They're typically a bit more petite in size to fit into the mouth of a regular tea cup to allow the best dunk. Melting moments, anyone?
However, if you're in the USA, a 'biscuit' is what Australians and the English call a scone, but it's not sweet, and you typically treat if like you would a Yorkshire pudding, covering it in gravy or sauces and meats to eat with a meal.
A 'cookie' on the other hand, as far as Aussies and people from the UK are concerned is typically larger and more soft, squishy and moist than a biscuit. Or if you look at this year's baking pan, they're monster-sized (see below).
Whereas if you're in the US, a cookie is the term essentially for anything biscuit-like baked item you can eat, other than a scone.
So, what would you like with your tea?
Source: Oxford Dictionaries blog.