There’s perhaps nothing as comforting as dipping a couple biscuits in your chai and taking in the mellow softness of its every luscious bite. Pairing your evening cuppa with biscuits- a whole lot of them, is a whole ritual of indulgence. Even outside their status as the perfect tea accompaniment, biscuits can be really addictive as delightful nibbles as well. While there exists ambiguity over how to distinguish your favorite biscuits from your equally cherished cookies, we could not care less as far as blissful decadence is concerned. Like cookies, biscuits can also come in various types and shapes and sizes. These dainty treats abound in every part of the world in varying appropriations. So here’s listing the absolute bests of biscuits types you need to try out at least once to live a worthy life-
Probably the most common of biscuits in its many types that fare particularly well as a chai dipper, at least in India, is the rusk. Perhaps also the most characteristic of biscuits in its hard, dry texture, this double baked goodie is also a worldwide presence in different reiterations. Made by double baking a bread dough or a cake batter, rusks sum up the universal biscuit culture in various countries with its various names that incorporate slight variations.
While all along we have known biscuits to be baked treats, there exist also deep fried variants of it. And one such biscuit types that takes the road less traveled is a Tibetan delicacy popular as Khapse. In fact as a celebratory treat during the Tibetan New Year Losar that has come to be celebrated by Buddhists worldwide, this biscuit has also occupies an important place in the food culture of Arunachal Pradesh. A rather humble biscuit, with just flour, sugar, water and milk as the ingredients, Khapse however also doubles up as a sweet snack relished with tea or even by itself. What makes these biscuits also interesting is that they take on rather unique shapes, rendering them instantly diversive from the prevalent types.
One of the most well known types globally- though not necessarily the most relished ones, marie biscuits need no introduction. Specifically a tea time classic, these round biscuits prominently feature holes on their surface and has been in existence for quite long since 1874. Light, crisp and delicate, not all however enjoy their share of the marie. There are fussy ‘biscuiters’ who frown upon the plain texture of this worldwide phenomenon or rather delegate it as a stuff fit for the ill. Whatever that may be, marie biscuits however also are popular in forming the base for a wide many desserts. In fact even in their simplistic essence, these biscuits remain the most popular as a tea time accompaniment even with numerous modern day fancy competitors in tow.
More appropriate as puff pastry bites instead of biscuits, kharis however make for a really enjoyable tea time treat anywhere in India. These among the many types of biscuits might not be one native to the country but in its continuing prominence, khari biscuits are no any less a tradition in this part of the world. Essentially salty and therefore somewhat exclusive of its typical kind, khari biscuits are crisp, flaky and all things crunchy can be! Quite a task to make in their extensive prep, kharis however make for absolutely addictive snacks even within their might as mere biscuits! A Parsi specialty and a forever favorite pick in those brown paper bags from the bakeries, khari biscuits are unlike any you would have ever tasted straight out from those packets of commercial lineage.
A sacred biscuit native to the stunning valley of Kashmir, Roth are made as traditional offering on the auspicious day of Pann. Traditionally fried, roth is quite your basic biscuit. With flour and ghee rubbed together before letting the sweetness of the sugar seep into the dough, roth however shapes up as quite a delight largely because the exclusivity of a single day of the year being reserved for them. Offered as a prasad, these almond decorated biscuits can be quite a divine treat to relish anytime of the year.
Even with its bready proclaims, the shortbread happens to be among the many types of biscuits. A Scottish traditional bake, shortbreads are a prevalent celebration of Christmas in the country and often finds acceptance as the jewel in the crown of Scottish baking perhaps because of its place of pride in the cultural spectrum of the country. Crumbly in texture, a characteristic that which also lends this unique biscuit its name, shortbreads traditionally incorporate one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts plain wheat flour, sans any leavening agent.
Immensely popular throughout the world, so much so that every country now have their own shortbread variant, these round or finger shaped biscuits interestingly are a derivation of the double baked biscuit delight we all indulge in as rusk. Crisp and firm yet tender and crumbly, this dual attribute is what makes shortbread cookies all the more unique a treat to bite into.
Another very common biscuit that you will encounter anywhere in the world are the delicate and light Nice biscuits. Usually coconut flavored or plain, this thin rectangular biscuit is quite iconic in its visible sugar sprinkles that which lends extra crunch- and sweetness- to its already crisp bites. Probably named after the city of Nice in France, these are types of biscuits that is marketed by different brands around the world but with the same trademark name. Classic and chosen, Nice Biscuits are definitely one of the simplest yet one of the most loved treats you will ever chance upon.
Diverging from the range of perfectly shaped and uniquely formed biscuits are one of the types that is relatively fuss free. Drop biscuits, as the name suggests, are biscuits that you can bake by just ‘dropping’ the dough in any form onto your baking pan. The dough can be as basic as the mere mention of ‘drop’ allows you for or it can be as gourmet as you want. It’s more the method of shaping- or rather, ‘unshaping’ the dough that lends these biscuits their characteristic name. Needless to say, these might not cater to the more ‘orthodox’ classification of biscuits types in their shapeless ambiguity.
One of the iconic cultural components of the India back in the 90’s, S biscuits however are a Italian native. Giant S shaped baked goodies that lent the biscuit its name, these crisp, flaky biscuits go particularly well with a cup of tea to wash them down with. In fact in being another tea dipped favorite even in Italy, S biscuits are really a hoarder of nostalgia and memories. Also traditional to the Netherlands as the Dutch letter, these giant golden brown biscuits are indeed a grand treat to the eyes and the tongue.
Russian tea biscuit
A biscuit in name alright but relished with even greater fervor as a decadent dessert, Russian tea biscuits are among the most versatile of types in the world of tea accompaniments. Call them butter balls, Snowball cookies, or Mexican Wedding Cakes as per your fancy but there definitely can be no second opinion on their deliciousness- they indeed are that good! Made of butter and chopped pecan nuts held together by flour and sugar and baked as balls, these pretty treats can get doused also in a pristine touch of sugar lending to their exquisite appearance and taste. What’s more, they also commonly dwell in a raspberry jam filling, making these flaky little biscuits a world of wholesome decadence within them.
Despite the name, Vienesse Whirls have nothing to do with Vienna. They rather are one of the types of biscuits from Britain that might have taken inspiration from Austrian pastries. Soft shortbread cookies piped into a whirled shape that which lend them the other part of its name, Vienesse Whirls are also a type of sandwich biscuits. With one jam covered biscuit and the other buttercream lined one making for a delectable sweet sandwich, Vienesse Whirls are melt in the mouth delights guaranteed to uplift your tea time from a regular affair to an everyday celebration of life!
Whoever though biscuits needed to have butter or milk as one of the essential standout ingredients will likely be taken aback at the mention of buttermilk biscuits. But they indeed do exist and they are as basic as they should be. Simply swap milk with buttermilk in your recipe and voila, you have yet another batch of the many varied types of biscuits. The tanginess of the buttermilk makes for quite a unique twist to the regular biscuit taste, with a flavour that lingers in reminiscence of the diversified taste you just acquired.
Biscuit rose de Reims
With a name that is very assertive of its French origins, the Biscuit rose de Reims is a delight in more ways than one. A rather unique delicacy in its pink tinge, this particular biscuit is otherwise basic but in its perfect execution demands a mastery and daintiness only few can possess. Twice baked to such crispness as demanded of the perfect biscuits, these French classics have been around since 1690 and are no less a wonder in even the present times.
Very similar to rusks are the Italian almond biscuits famous as biscotti. Oblong shpaed, dry and crunchy, these twice baked biscuits are a cafe favorite not just in their region of origin but the world over. Almost resembling thick slices of breads in appearance, biscotti do particularly well as dunking essential for tea or coffee both in their hard texture and their elongated shape. Traditionally made without any fats or yeast, you can have your biscotti the authentic Italian way by dipping it in a glass of the dessert wine Vin Santo.
If cream biscuits are your fancy, custard cream biscuits would be divine addiction. A popular variant in the United Kingdom and in Ireland, these also are the types of sandwich biscuits with a layer of custard cream in between. With origins tracing back to 1908, these otherwise crunchy biscuits stand out in its excellent complementing juxtaposition with the soft creamy buttercream center. Even the biscuits make use of custard powder in the dough thereby making them one of the rather flavorful types in whole.
Angelic in its very name, there’s nothing not divine about these biscuit hybrids. Hybrids we say because angel biscuits tend to be the types that encompass the crusty essence of biscuits and the fluff of yeast rolls. With yeast, as well as baking powder and baking soda introduced in the mix, these are uber light and soft biscuits that will make you want to devour more and more of them each time you bite into the tender premises.
With a name so unusual, hardtacks are ‘war biscuits’ that still remain popular across the globe. Inexpensive and long lasting- attributes which cater particularly well to emerge as favorites during hostile periods, hardtacks are a four time baked biscuit which perhaps explains their ‘hard’ name. Interestingly, the hardtacks of the earlier times were hardy enough to make them unfit for consumption as it is. Instead, they need to be dunked in coffee or some other liquid or even cooked like a pudding or at some times as a pancake. With flour, water and salt as the only ingredients back then, it’s indeed surprising that hardtacks are still bitten into by folks in different countries with different names.
Hands down the most popular types of cream biscuits are the bourbon biscuits. Like all other cream biscuits, these are sandwich style biscuits with a layer of cream in between that taste like all things delicious and fun. Introduced in 1910, what perhaps lends these Bourbon biscuits a prominent marker within their cream biscuit identity is their perforated premise. These holes are present to prevent the biscuits from cracking during the baking process and manifest themselves as an essential trait of their kind. Usually a chocolatey treat in being dark chocolate biscuits with a chocolate buttercream filling, modern day variations include also vanilla cream as the filler. Also often with sugar sprinkles raving them up, bourbons are a treat rewarding and pretty.
One among the purported ‘healthy’ biscuits that is therefore fast gaining prominence in the present times is the types that are marketed as digestives. Digestive biscuits happen to be a semi sweet biscuit from Scotland that has been in existence since 1839. With whole wheat flour finding its way into digestive biscuits, they indeed appear to be a good option as compared to other refined flour based nibbles. Also with inclusion of such ingredients that may specifically aid digestion, these biscuits happen to derive their name from the characteristics. Generally thicker than other biscuits, digestives happen to be also a bit more ‘bitey’ which makes them therefore quite unique in the texture and taste.
It’s weird that biscuits from New Zealand should be called anything but Afghan biscuits but well, that’s the way they are. Essentially chocolate biscuits made with flour, butter, cornflakes, sugar and cocoa powder, Afghan biscuits come also topped with chocolate icing. That sounds like a whole treat in itself, and it very much is! Dense and rich, and a crunchy classic, this Kiwi favorite is also as likely to be a cookie in essence. But who cares what it is, till we get to devour it in all its deliciousness?!