English Biscuits VS. Cookies: What's The Difference?


By Waterbridge - November 13, 2019


The difference between an English biscuit and a cookie is a hotly debated topic, funnily enough! In many parts of North America, a biscuit is a savory, crumbly baked good. Browned on the outside and soft on the inside, these biscuits are vastly different from English biscuits and are closer to what we consider an English scone.

Despite all of their differences, one thing remains true: biscuits and cookies, no matter how they’re made, are delicious! In this blog, the team from Waterbridge dives into what makes each of these baked goods unique. So, lets get started!

Here are the main differences between the two…

The Texture & Technique

The first difference between English biscuits and cookies is the way they are made. The word “cookie” originates from the Dutch word ‘Koekje’ meaning ‘little cake’. These little cakes were originally made to test the temperature of an oven before baking a real cake!

Much like cake, cookies are made from a soft, thick dough and are denser than an English biscuit. When they are finished, cookies are larger, softer, and chunkier than their biscuit cousins.


In contrast, the word “biscuit” comes from the Latin ‘bis’ (twice) and ‘coquere’ (cooked). It essentially means twice baked! More firm, thinner and fluffier than a cookie, biscuits require a harder dough to create the correct texture.

These deliciously crumbly treats are usually made with only a few ingredients, butter, flour and sugar. This makes them the perfect dippable treat, as they absorb the rich flavours in coffee and tea!



The Add-ons

The magic of the cookie lies in the inclusions. Chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, smarties, caramel chunks and more! There are so many delicious things that can be added to a cookie. These inclusions are usually added to the batter before a cookie is baked, adding to its dense texture. Cookies are rarely decorated on the outside after they are baked.

English biscuits, however, are the perfect candidates for elaborate decoration, due to their simple ingredients. Many are enrobed or dipped in different chocolate. They can also be drizzled with chocolate or caramel. English biscuits are often iced or have a centre of cream or jam filling between two biscuits like Bourbon and Custard creams!


English Biscuit or Cookie: Which Do You Prefer?

Both English biscuits and cookies have their own unique characteristics and delicious bonuses. They have many similarities and differences, but both are delicious with a hot cup of tea! We’d love to know, are you a cookie connoisseur or are English biscuits your treat of choice? Let us know in the comments below or send us an email to info@waterbridge.net. You’ll also find us on Facebook and Twitter. Follow us @WaterbridgeJoy!

Posted in: Biscuits