If there is anything the British love, it is to dunk a jammie dodger or a bourbon cream in their afternoon cuppa! They like their cake stands piled up with heavenly goodies that burst with crunch, texture, and flavours. Their ritual with biscuits is more than just a tea tradition. Everyone in the household loves to crunch their way through several packets of biscuits each year. Here are some of the most loved classic biscuits that are an absolute British favourite.
A Crunchy History of British Biscuits
Biscuits earlier were made from flour and water and were a great way to energize sailors and soldiers with carbs. According to food historian Ivan Day, the first biscuit was a rusk - a product made from dried bread. Later, they were added to the mixture to make a sponge cake, which was then dried in the oven and known as biscuit - French for twice-baked. The result was basically what we today know as sponge fingers.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, sponge fingers were often served at the end of the meal to be had as a dessert by dipping them in sweet wine. It was only in the 19th century that the British came up with the idea of dipping it in their cuppa – a habit which they circulated across the globe.
Classic British Biscuits
Millions of biscuits are consumed by British families everyday. While there are a whole lot of brands and homegrown bakeries that produce a variety of biscuits, we have listed down a few classics that the British cannot seem to get over.
While it does have a fancy name for alcohol, there is actually no alcohol present in this biscuit. It is simple, delicious chocolate cream sandwiched between two chocolate biscuits. Originally, these biscuits were known as bourbon cream, but in 1963, the word cream was removed, and bourbon stayed. The term originated in Bournville, which was the hometown of Dr. Hans Zehnloch (a German) in 1930, who created this treat while working for Cadbury's R&D department. Garibaldi biscuit by Peek Freans of Bermondsey, Britannia's bourbon, McVities bourbon biscuits, and Cadbury's bourbon biscuits are some of the most famous brands that produce these biscuits.
This biscuit has shortbread on the outside and raspberry-flavoured jam in its centre. It has been a favourite among the British for more than five decades. These biscuits are currently being made by Burton's Biscuit Company in a facility in Llantarnam. They were ranked as the most well-liked sweet biscuit brand for kids in the United Kingdom in 2009. Burton's reintroduced the Jammie Dodgers in 2011 and created two new brands—the Choccie and the Toffee. The name Jammie Dodgers is actually named after a comic book character named Roger the Dodger, featured in The Beano.
It is said that custard cream was invented in England in 1908. The biscuits have a Victorian aesthetic with baroque details like Victorian ferns, which were popular in the second half of the 19th century. These cookies are also famous among the Irish. The biscuit is basically custard cream sandwiched between two biscuits. Earlier, buttercream was used, but these days, it has been replaced by custard cream, which is super delicious, too. While vanilla is the most popular flavour there are other flavours of custard creams, like chocolate or banana, also available. McVitie's, Crawford's Custard Creams are the most famous producers of custard creams in the UK.
The two main ingredients of hobnobs are white flour and oats. These biscuits are very popular in Britain and come in different varieties, too. McVitie's is the most famous producer of Hobnobs, but they are popularly made by home bakers too.
The high butter content of shortbread distinguishes Shortbread from other cookie varieties. It has earned its name from the short, crumbly structure that results from the high-fat content. The traditional recipe, which was created in Scotland, calls for three ingredients – 1 part sugar, 2 parts butter and 3 parts flour. Mary, Queen of Scots, is known to have popularized this biscuit as a delicacy for royalty. Walkers Shortbread, Sainsbury's Shortbread, Glenfiddich Whisky Shortbread, and Harrods Shortbread Collection are some of the famous producers of shortbread cookies.
McVitie's sells more than 80 million packs of their digestive biscuits annually in the UK. The biscuit was created with a special ingredient – baking soda, which happens to help with indigestion issues. These biscuits actually seemed to help people and, hence, have become extremely popular. The digestive was first developed by two Scottish doctors in 1839 to aid digestion.
These types of biscuits are flavoured with ginger powder along with a few other spices, including cinnamon, clove, and molasses. They are firmer when compared to other biscuits and a great accompaniment for tea or coffee. They are aromatic, healthy, and delicious too. McVitie's is the most known brand that produces these biscuits.
Viennese Whirls are inspired by Austrian pastries and are soft shortbread cookies that are piped in a whirl and baked. Mr. Kipling is the brand that is quite popular in the UK for their Viennese Whirls. Their biscuit comprises two whirl shape biscuits with a filling of buttercream and jam. There are many other flavours of cream available, too, and they can be shaped differently.
The distinct spiced flavour of Biscoff biscuits is what makes them unique, and they are frequently enjoyed with coffee or tea. The biscuit-based Biscoff spread has become quite popular as a mouthwatering topping for desserts, pancakes, and toast. Lotus is a known brand that produces Biscoff.
Biscuits are a staple of British cuisine, offering delightful tastes and textures to suit every palate. They are served both as a simple snack and an elegant accompaniment to afternoon tea.