We Brits quite simply love our biscuits! Whether it’s dunking them in tea, or having a savoury salty cracker with some cheese and chutney. Large, small, sweet, salty, jammy, nutty, or crumbly - we just can’t get enough of them! To celebrate National Biscuit Day, we’ve put together a special post to celebrate the wonder that is ‘the biscuit’. Whether you’re a digestive, custard cream, or shortbread fan, or you're just looking to find yourself a new go-to snack - this is the post for you.
A little backstory on biscuits...
“Biscuits”, derives from Latin word “bis coctus” meaning, “Twice-baked.” There’s a long history associated with biscuits, dating right back to the Middle Ages. Tudors were fond of sweet treats, including gingerbread, but sugar was very expensive at the time. Biscuits became increasingly popular as overseas exploration became more prevalent.
In the 16th century, biscuits were renowned for their “indestructibility” with some even being used as postcards by sailors. They were easy to carry and store, had a long shelf-life so were the perfect on-ship snack.
As the English empire expanded its territory in the 17th century, sugar became more accessible to all as sugar prices fell. This was also when chocolate, coffee and tea became popular in England. Biscuits stopped being something you had with your dessert or nibbled on during the day, and became an important part of “Afternoon Tea” during the early Victorian era.
Later in the 19th century, England had been through two industrial revolutions, and the increasing amount of factories meant higher biscuit production capabilities (and more people being able to enjoy them!)
What's the UK’s most popular type of biscuit?
Biscuits have had a huge part in English culture, but we seek to answer the real questions, what are the nation’s favourite biscuits?
In 2018, YouGov featured the following data on their “Britain is a nation of…” episodes. So it turns out we're a nation of Digestive lovers!
Why do we dunk our biscuits in tea?
Our tea-dunking antics actually date back to naval life in the 16th century! Apparently the go-to biscuit for sailors during that time was called ‘hard tack’ - and it was made to be incredibly hard so it could survive the long voyages! As a consequence, these biscuits weren’t very ‘tooth-friendly’ and were given the nickname ‘molar breakers’.
To deal with this issue, sailors came up with the idea of dunking them - yet not in tea, as we now love! Instead, they would be dunked in coffee….or even brine! Not so sure about the latter option...
Now dunking is a favourite tea activity beyond the UK. In Italy, crunchy biscotti are often served with cappuccino, and in the US, cookies are dunked in cold milk.
Famous chef Heston Blumenthal actually did some research on dunking chocolate biscuits and suggested it improves biscuit flavour and texture!
How long should I dunk my biscuit in my tea for without it breaking?
Believe it or not, there has been scientific research into biscuit dunking! Dr Len Fisher conducted a study with Bristol University’s physics department because of a BIG problem. According to Dr Fisher - “one biscuit dunk in every five ends in disaster, with the dunker fishing around in the bottom of the cup for the soggy remains”.
To solve this, he did some testing and found out the perfect ‘dunking time’ was between 3.5 and 5 seconds. So next time you’re thinking about dunking - don’t forget the stopwatch!
What biscuits does BoroughBox sell?
At BoroughBox, we have plenty of options for you to get your ‘biscuit fix’ which you can find here. We thought we’d showcase a few of these...
1) Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Moreish peanut butter cookies made with oats, organic coconut sugar, and organic coconut oil.
2) Bite Sized Highlanders Shortbread
Authentic shortbread made in Scotland in delicious bitesize portions.
3) Smarties Cookie Mix Jar
Craving that ‘just out of oven’ taste? Well now you can have it by making your own smarties cookies.
Finally we leave you with some great biscuit facts...
- Hexagonal shaped biscuits were used during Queen Victoria’s reign, these were easier to pack and required fewer materials.
- Early biscuits were very hard, dry and unsweetened.
- Queen Victoria’s royal navy sailor’s diets consisted of biscuits up to 1847, when canned meat was officially added to their rations.