National Biscuit Day in the UK Date in the current year: May 29, 2024

National Biscuit Day in the UK National Biscuit Day is observed in the United Kingdom on May 29 every year. It celebrates flour-based baked food items that are called “cookies” or “crackers” in the United States and sometimes in Canada.

The word “biscuit” refers to two distinctly different modern types of baked foods in American English and British English. In the United States and Canada, a biscuit is a variety of quick bread that has a firm, dry exterior and a soft, crumbly interior. In the United Kingdom and most of the rest of the English-speaking world, a biscuit is a small, hard, and unleavened baked good that Americans would call a cookie if sweet or a cracker if savory.

The word “biscuit” derives from a Latin expression that means “twice cooked” because biscuits were originally cooked in a two-step process: first baked, and then dried out in an oven. Some types of biscuits, such as Italian biscotti, or cantuccini, are still made this way but the majority of modern British biscuits are not twice-baked.

Given the importance of tea in British culture, it is not surprising that the British love their biscuits. Dunking a biscuit into the tea is a time-honored tradition in the UK, so much so that scientists actually did research into it! Australian physicist Len Fisher even received the 1999 Ig Nobel Prize for Physics for his study on the optimal way to dunk a biscuit. And, of course, it was the British who invented biscuit tins that are now found in many households both in and beyond the United Kingdom.

Almost all countries have their signature types of biscuits, and the United Kingdom is not an exception. The list of popular British biscuits can go on and on; here are just a few notable examples:

  • Hobnobs: a brand of round biscuits made from rolled oats produced by McVite’s
  • Digestive biscuits: semi-sweet biscuits made from coarse brown wheat flour
  • Chocolate digestives: digestive biscuits with a chocolate coating on one side
  • Shortbread: traditional Scottish unleavened biscuits made from sugar, butter, and plain wheat flour
  • Jammie Dodgers: shortcake sandwich biscuits filled with strawberry or raspberry jam
  • Custard cream: sandwich biscuits with a creamy, custard-flavored filling
  • Jaffa Cakes: three-layered biscuits consisting of a genoise sponge base, a layer of orange-flavored jam, and a chocolate coating
  • Ginger nuts: ginger-flavored biscuits
  • Viennese whirls: shortbread biscuits piped into a whirl shape; they are often sandwiched together with buttercream and jam or dipped in chocolate
  • Bourbons: sandwich biscuits that consist of two rectangular biscuits flavored with dark chocolate and a chocolate buttercream filling
  • Cornish fairings: sweet and spicy biscuits flavored with ginger, mixed spice, cinnamon, and golden syrup.

The origins of National Biscuit Day are unclear but this shouldn’t stop you from celebrating this amazing holiday and indulging in delicious British biscuits. You can get your favorite biscuits at a store, bake your own biscuits and share them with the people you love, host a tea party, swap your favorite biscuit recipes with fellow baking enthusiasts, and spread the word about the holiday on social media with the hashtag #NationalBiscuitDay.

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National Biscuit Day, food days, unofficial holidays, observances in the UK, British biscuits