I am offended
The ginger nut is and should be top tier. The term ginger nut has 3 meanings. I don't see your fancy party ring with that accolade.
The Macmillan Cancer Support charity has rocked the normally sedate and comfortable world of Britain's biscuit lovers to its very core by publishing a list of the country's favourite biscuits which includes a foodstuff that is very clearly a breakfast cereal. Don't be fooled be the "bix" bit The cake is a lie: Don't be fooled …
Ginger nuts are indeed fantastic, and their low-tier presence is disturbing.
It's been a while since I had a fig roll, and they are indeed also excellent, and other classics have also been named, such as shortbread.
Bourbons are good, but digestives as winners? Where are the Hob-nobs? What about a Club, Penguin, and so on. If we stretch the definition a bit too much, we could even come to Tunnock's caramel wafers..
I'm now developing quite the hunger...
Sorry to disagree but this is important - Clubs, Penguins etc are not biscuits, they're clearly chocolate bars (albeit with varying amounts of biscuit inside.)
Also - my love of gritty, fibrous wholemeal foods notwithstanding, Hob-nobs are like chocolate digestives made when the factory have run out of flour and are down to sweeping the yard for ingredients!
They are right on the edge of biscuitness, I'll give you that.
But you have to admit, there's a fair bit of biscuit in a Penguin or Club. That said, the focus is, I agree, the chocolate. I just had to throw them in so they weren't entirely forgotten (the caramel wafer is clearly not a biscuit).
The problem is that nothing - absolutely nothing - tastes as good as it once did.
They messed up chocolate by removing loads of the sugar, then messing with the milk content. Then the salt. And the fat.
Last night, for the first time in years, I bought some fresh apple and cream turnovers, and a couple of small strawberry and cream cakes from Asda.
They've done precisely the same with biscuits. And everything else.
re: "The problem is that nothing - absolutely nothing - tastes as good as it once did."
Agreed. Not sure if it's because my tastes have changed with age (things I used to eat by the spadeful as a kid make me vaguely queasy now), if manufacturers have reduced the quality of their recipes and ingredients, or both.
I do wonder about this. Maybe it's just my increasing age ( as if there were any other kind) but Maltesers and Shreddies no longer seem as malty. I don't get that loss of flavour from many products so I think it's not me. I'm guessing that the beancounters decided that the cost of malt could be reduced and cheaper sugar added, at some point.
Last night, for the first time in years, I bought some fresh apple and cream turnovers, and a couple of small strawberry and cream cakes from Asda.
I think the "from Asda" is the key piece of information. I bought some bread from Asda about 14 years ago - absolutely awful stuff.
I too am deeply offended by the relegation of the ginger nut an essential adjunct to both tea and coffee.
Shortcake fingers also play an important part in the enjoyment of a cuppa.
Regarding the 'biscuit' status of Weetabix, it does comply in terms of construction and shape, take a look at a carpenter's biscuit jointer for example. However, as a dunkable accompaniment to tea or coffee, it fails abysmally.
On a slight side note: should you ever find yourself stuck with a less than quaffable fed wine, try dunking ginger nuts in it. It works surprisingly well.
Yes, while reading the article and that half baked list I too was thinking of (and longing for) Tim Tams. I saw something almost but not entirely quite like them in Norway once, though I have forgotten the name under which they were sold.
I'll stumble across to the next building, me and some office mates have a freezer with ice cream there. There are no cookies, nor biscuits in the office (though I need to check with a certain colleague...)
Yes, the colour implies an intense chocolatey taste should be forthcoming whereas actually biting into it thoroughly disabuses one of that notion. I felt cheated when I tried one for the first time and was sorely tempted to write to the Advertising Standards Agency before I realised that it would be a waste of my valuable biscuit eating time.
Tim Tams use the same, gross mock-chocolate recipe used in chocolate bars in North America. We don't need to get into the technicalities of Butterfats, cocoa solids and milk solids, etc but to most Brits, a Tim Tam is just an expensive Penguin with bad-tasting chocolate.
I generally have to import chocolate into Canada from the UK because my palate will never desensitize itself to the point of being able to forget what British chocolate tastes like and will never accept what North American chocolate tastes like. Even Lindt has a different recipe over here to make it take more palatable to the locals.
Taste or texture? Or both. I remember trying a Hershey Bar once. Once.
Because it had the texture of wet cement. As well as not tasting of much. I now know, decades later, having recently been to the York Chocolate Experience that the smoothness in chocolate comes from a long mixing period. That those American bars don't seem to get.
I'm quite happy with English chocolate, or Swiss, or even Belgian. Milk or plain (though not Bourneville) Even white, though strictly speaking that isn't chocolate - it's cocoa butter. But not American stuff.
Brits tasting American mass market chocolate often dislike the soapy taste even describing it as “like vomit”, there’s a reason, a common US manufacturing process develops butyric acid (present in vomit). But Americans expect and prefer that taste.
But it's not even the best cereal - Oatibix is better.
This study is hugely flawed because it fails to distinguish between McV's milk chocolate digestives (OK if nothing else available) and dark chocolate digestives (absolutely the best biscuit in the world ever, no argument).
These are facts, not opinions.
I saw the picture of a weetabix with some red currant and that is why I clicked on the article. I harvested about three liters of currants from my garden this summer and most of it was put to good use in a weetabix bowl filled with milk (sadly Swedish milk only contains 3% fat, but that is another story).
I have no doubt that this is all a marketing strategy for the charity. And I assume that Weetabix' owners/ad agency have donated the campaign. The use of the word "cookies" unused in the UK other than as a suffix to "Chocolate Chip" suggests an American owned agency.
Good luck to them. I hope the (totally pointless and artificially induced) controversies roll on, and that MacMillan's* good work gets the funding it needs.
*Other cancer charities and hospices are available, often quite small ones and also in dire need of funding.
My mum used to make something she called Australian Fudge by crushing tea biscuits, mixing various things (butter, sugar, dead flies, etc.), spreading it on a tray, and coating it with chocolate. And when I was about four, I got to do the crushing with a rolling pin - an important life skill.
Tea biscuits also tend to be safer for dunking in your tea - an important lesson we all learned as youngsters.
Indeed. I found it quite humorous that when first launched in the UK they came with the whole marketing campaign of how you "should" eat them which apparently involves prising them apart, licking them, dunking them in milk and other such gimmicks.
Fortunately I'm pretty sure the good folks of the UK just ignored all this nonsense, assuming they actually purchased the damn things. I don't think they're anything special, pretty much like a different shaped Bourbon.
I think they're trolling us. They can't possibly believe that list.
Although I do remain utterly bewildered by the miserable inability of supermarkets to offer chocolate cookies made _with_ chocolate and not covered in it. Similarly chocolate digestives are a sticky fingered horror that ruins the enjoyment of a tasty crumbling masterpiece.
My cupboard right now has custard creams and bourbons in it. Cheap, filling and lacking in pretentiousness.
I contend that the Ginger Nut is in fact effectively Schrodingers biscuit being simultaneously a top tier and lowest rung biscuit being simultaneously one of the worst and one of the best biscuits until its state vector collapses in one of two ways depending on the presence or absence of a cup of tea to dunk it in when the packet is opened.
They're more of a paradox. On the one hand, a good ginger nut is a very tasty biscuit. On the other, everyone knows that gingers have no friends. Thus, to quote noted biscuitologist Charles Dickens:
"It was the best of snacks, it was the worst of snacks..."
Ginger Nuts are disgusting! Controversial, I know, but I'm sure the silent majority, afraid to post their true feelings in light of the proselytisers already posting here (probably astroturfers in the pay of Big Ginger).
My wife is one of those weird Ginger Nut fans (she also likes Marmite, oh the humanity!) and knows how to keep me out of the biscuit barrel. She "accidentally forgets" and puts Ginger Nuts in which then infects all the other wonderful biscuits with a disgusting Ginger infusion!
You've clearly not seen the new king of biscuits. Biscoff (the little cinnamon/burnt sugar thing you get with a cup of coffee) have launched a custard-cream-style version, with either chocolate, vanilla or even (brace yourself) biscoff flavour cream centres. In my eyes, there are no other biscuits anymore.
Did you know that you can buy cherry Jaffa Cakes? How on earth is that possible? More importantly, WHY is it posible?
To be totally honest, I'm surprised that the world is still existing despite this dastardly abuse of cakery by McVities.
I mean, cherry? Jaffa? Urgh!
*shivers at the outrageous thought*
Disclaimer: I have nothing against cherries, jaffas or cakes. But cherry Jaffa Cakes? *sighs*
As well as normal orange jaffa cakes, Lidl does not only cherry ones, but also raspberry ones and strawberry ones whenever the weekly specials globe of international delicacies spins its way around to Polish week. I'm not particularly keen on the strawberry ones, but the other two are yummy!
First of all, having recently had me first dealings with Macmillan nurses - and very nice they are, too - since I was diagnosed with cancer, they can say what they bloody well want because, well, they're lovely people. They're right about Chocolate Digestives being top, in any case, so there's that.
Finally, the writer should know better than to say sugar causes hyperactivity in kids. Rotten teeth, yes. Hyperactivity, no.
So we've got the Bourbon biscuits and the Garibaldi biscuits, but where's the Peek Freans Trotsky Assortment?
Revolutionary biscuits of Italy
Rise up out of your box
You have nothing to lose but your wafers!
Yum yum yum yum yum
... yes, the one with the complete Young Ones DVD set in the pocket, please. No, I'll see myself out. No, you don't need to call the police.
My top list would be biased against anything with chocolate (though that was not always the case so will allow Plain Chocolate Digestives an honorary top-rank rating based on my younger days), but how can the Malted Milk not be there in the list?
Shorties also make a good dunking biscuit, preferable the rectangular one rather than the round ones...
"I will always prefer pancakes smothered in Maple syrup, three spicy sausages and a side of scambled eggs with bacon bits."
OMG, Sweet'n'Sour breakfast! You heathen! I'll take a guess and assume you are a colonial who knows no better and that what you call bacon is actually thinly sliced belly pork, so getting maple syrup on it is probably doing it a favour.
I have found the best thing for gluten intolerance (for me at least) is rye bread. Smells revolting but I'd rather that than my stomach grumbling incessantly all day, every day. For cereal its Frosties for me. This may contain some gluten but it's all about degree, it's not like a nut allergy where even a trace can cause distress or death, even.
In the US, a biscuit is a quick bread made with baking powder (or perhaps for the old-timers baking soda). Biscuits form a larger part of southern food, for the hotter weather makes for less protein in wheat, so southern wheat is less suitable for yeast breads. They go very well with coffee, particularly if you slather on some ham gravy.
One thing missed off the article and in the comments is: Not all biscuits are created equal.
If you look at a cheap packet of bourbon biscuits you'll probably see no cocoa on the ingredients list, lots of palm oil and cheap ingredients.
With friends I did a taste test and the only biscuits that seemed to be consistently good quality were Marks&Spencers. Their dark chocolate digestive uses brown sugar and seems high quality. No waxy oil texture and fake chocolate flavour. Same quality for their ginger nuts and bourbon biscuits.
I have noticed degradation in the biscuit quality over the last 40 years and I think it's manufacturers and supermarkets trying to drive down the cost of a packet, but quality is better than quantity. Short of DIY, is there a list of biscuits that have maintained the original ingredients and quality? Some brands are really poor, even Waitrose's digestives are awful.
Also the drive to reduce sugar and salt and fat.
I had some McVities iced gems the other day (as the conclusion to a lettuce=based joke). They were flavourless cardboard with virtually no discernable sweetness.
Likewise modern party rings wouldn't give a kid a sugar high.
Iced gems have been flavourless cardboard for as long as I can remember having eaten them - three decades at least. I'm sure party rings had a little bit of flavour (mostly sweetness) in them at one time though I was thoroughly underwhelmed last time I tried one.
mainly here to agree with everyone else about the severe misclassification of ginger nuts.
also, bourbons are (slightly) better than digestives because a huge pack of reasonable quality bourbons is considerably cheaper than a normal size pack of reasonable quality digestives. and, bourbons are great.
where are the plain chocolate hobnobs?
Jaffa cakes are not biscuits, and either way, are vile and need to be destroyed by fire.
Fie sir! Better a chocolate digestive than a chocolate hobnob (although I wouldn’t say no to the latter!), and what have you got against Jaffa Cakes? Agreed, they aren’t biscuits, and they should never be stored in the same tin - but they’re delicious nonetheless.
The Jammie Dodger is a top tier biscuit, and are we allowed to admit a Penguin into that category too?
The pink wafer, along with the party ring and Rich Tea are appalling confections which cause me to shudder involuntarily - even though I know for sure that there are none in the house, and than therefore do me no harm. Honestly, I’d rather dunk a weetabix.
Unless I've been very unobservant and missed some horrible imposter in the biscuit aisle, that is most definitely a little vanilla cake, not a biscuit.
Icon, because my desk-reachable biscuits are stashed in a foot high McVities branded Penguin shaped ceramic bicuit barrel, that I found in a charity shop.
I must admit they are not top flight but I miss Royal Scot. They don't normally sell them any more but occasionally McVities included them in their Christmas box of mixed biscuits. They have a distinctive salty taste. For a moment google seemed to tell me I could buy a packet for £1.20 https://shepherdminiatures.com/product/royal-scot-biscuits/ only to find it's a 20mm long miniature for a dolls house:-(
What about the Australian Tim-Tam? I recently found them at a store in little old Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada (pop. 17,000.) They came highly recommended by Aussie friends and were the most decadent thing I have ever eaten, and well deserving of their reputation.
Granted they are not a UK biscuit, but if they're including Weetabix, I think they must be including non-UK products in their search. Give our brothers and sisters down south at the bottom of the world a chance to compete - they just might surprise you! :)
I’ve taken a liking to Dutch Stroopwaffles since I found them during my last trip to Costco.
It says to each them with coffee.
They don’t crunch so I suppose that makes them non-biscuits.
With regard to chocolate hobnobs. Is it possible to eat only one?
It seems that once I open the packet I run out of them..
Having become exposed to the "cookies" proliferating throughout convenience food outlets, I have determined that a "cookie" is something resembling a biscuit, but made with far too much sugar. Probably high fructose corn syrup, at that. Is it any wonder that the rest of the world hates America?
There is a place for excessive sugar.. and that is the filling, and/or coating of the biscuit.
I personally consider a cookie the large, fudgy kind, better if they're warm.
There are also several biscuits rammed with chocolate chips that are called cookies, so it's just easier to call them cookies, even though they could also be considered biscuits.
Ah, but when you go in there the shop hides the other ones because they just know which ones you prefer.
Best before you go in there to wear a false beard. Not sure how you would otherwise delete cookies in a bricks and mortar environment.
There may be other contenders for this accolade but it is obviously the Bath Oliver. It is intended as a robust platform for cheese unlike those crumbly flaking "cream crackers" and related abominations apparently popular among those with a less discriminating palate. Any premium restaurant that serves anything other than the noble Bath Oliver with the cheese-board should be stripped of any star rating, I would propose that the proprietor be the beneficiary of a public flogging but apparently that's frowned upon these days.
Of course Stilton is the ideal choice of cheese but even some of those continental cheeses can be rendered acceptable with a proper biscuit.
Bath Oliver may not be sweet, chocolate coated, or filled with sugary paste but it is a _proper_ biscuit unlike some of the other contenders - fig rolls? Weetabix? Carame Wafers? Jaffa Cakes (what self respecting biscuit would try to pass itself off as a cake?) What is the world coming to!
The scoundrels at United Biscuits ceased production of this historic national treasure in 2020 citing Covid as their spurious justification. The news headlined not only in the quality press but was even covered by the tabloids. In response to the justifiable outrage and the creation of "The Bath Oliver Preservation Society" they made another batch.
Ensure your local cheesemonger/ delicatessen/ grocer carries stock or move your custom to a better class of vendor for your essential comestibles.