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Biscuits we all love them don't we. But what exactly is a biscuit?

Biscuit comes from the french meaning twice-cooked but don't let that put you off, as the french don't really have a clue about making decent biscuits. Those dreadful Petit Beurre things that they knock out are really nasty. They sound like they are going to be really nice, like some sort of little buttery thing, but they're not. I've seen some where they put a big slab of chocolate on the top in an attempt to make them nice but it was all a bit wrong.

Taxonomy of biscuits


Usually easily distinguished from biscuits by their sheer size however individual cakes can be a bit tricker, for instance the macaroon. Also the Jaffa Cake despite having the word cake in its name can confuse some people.


Crackers are aimed at savory use such as cheese and crackers, however you sometimes get those hovis sweetmeal digestives, I don't know why, in big boxes of crackers, which is obviously confusing. Generally you wouldn't want to dunk one in your tea.

Chocolate covered

Half way between biscuits and chocolate bars, are the chocolate covered biscuits. A bit of a grey area but this is where we encounter individual foil wraps, and strange quasi cake, biscuit hybrids like the Waggon Wheel. Also the home of the Jacobs Club biscuit, although this is a sad shadow of its former self thanks to the French again.

Chocolate Bars

The Kit Kat is a good example of the transitional phase from chocolate covered to full chocolate bars like the picnic.

How to spot biscuits

  • They come in packets
  • They have two sides
  • You could dunk them in tea

Entry level

  • They come in clear cellophane wrappers
  • They aren't so nice that you could eat a whole packet
  • They are homogeneous

Mid range

  • Anything with a currant, or some sort of fruit in it
  • Twin layer affair with some sort of cream up the middle
  • Wrapper has pictures on it.
  • Some sort of USP


  • Any thing with chocolate on top.
  • May be in a cardboard box



Q. Are Jaffa cakes biscuits.

A. No, no the're not. Apart from being called cakes they obviously have a sponge base. Granted they appear to be some kind of luxury biscuit being chocolate covered and shipping in a box.

Q. Why are 'Nice' biscuits called that?

A. I don't know because they are possibly one of the nastiest biscuits ever, perhaps its sarcasm. Also if you are new to this site and are about to email me saying "Actually its because they are named after the town in the south of France" don't. They're not from there, nobody there has ever heard of them. Hop on an Easyjet flight get yourself down there and ask around, you'll get even blanker Gallic looks than usual. Back when they were invented Huntley and Palmer were knocking out over 450 sorts of biscuits, so naming new sorts of biscuits was probably a matter of just going through the phone book or index in the atlas. Anyhow I don't like them.

Q. Whats the best biscuit ever?

A. Well I would have to say the Abbey Crunch, see my page on this ground breaking oat based biscuit.

Q. Can something that is individually wrapped be biscuit.

A. Its pushing it isn't it.

Q. Whats the story with pink wafers?

A. Well they have dropped out of fashion, and rightly so as they are unpleasant at best. Wafers in general have had to move up into chocolate covered jobs like the Tunnocks wafer, or chocolate bars like the Kit Kat