Due to a playful yet strenuous discussion over the merits of certain biscuits I have decided to come up with this, a definitive list of my top ten biscuits. This was difficult and there were some hard decisions and several compromises. Of course, this is wholly down to my opinion so feel free to nod in approval or hurl abuse in disagreement or even add your own top ten in the comments. There are some old-school favourites and some controversial choices (one goes against The Queen but sod it) yet top ten lists are never going to please everyone so here goes.
10. Malted Milk
A grossly underrated biscuit and one of my childhood favourites. Just thinking of them takes me back to wondering if my head would explode with joy if I dunked one in a glass of milk. It didn’t and it so worth the dare.
9. Fig Roll
The first of a few controversial entries which ponders the eternal question – ‘What exactly is a biscuit?’. I shall give you a clue to my thinking, all of these entries can be found in the same supermarket aisle. Anyway, you could argue that this is actually healthy and constitutes one of your five a day yet after eating a pack in one go I doubt your doctor would agree. Still, I wouldn’t blame you due to their rich, sticky interior and modest, complimentary casing.
8. Fruit Shrewsbury
Another fruity favourite is the Fruit Shrewsbury which, unlike most of these inclusions, is actually a little posh and tricky to find. That sweet combination of lemon, rosewater, caraway seeds and raisins is well worth tracking down though.
Yes, there’s a zillion varieties. Yes, the Oreo is American. Yes, it is still a damn fine biscuit. Up until my recent trip to America I thought I had tried every variety available but how wrong I was. Thanks to my Auntie I am now aware of the Heads or Tails (one side is chocolate biscuit, the other is vanilla) and the BerryBurst Ice Cream which tastes as orgasmic as it sounds. For the sake of argument I am going to include the mere classic black and white version; perfect for splitting, licking and dunking.
6. Jammie Dodger
Another childhood favourite. I’m not sure if it’s the playful heart shape or the sweet, gooey filling that lures me in. Incidentally, one of the most difficult omissions was shortbread and since that is the biscuit used here this inclusion proves a compromise.
5. Ginger Nut Creams
Another near-miss for this list was the humble Ginger Nut which is such a favourite I have even tried to re-create my own. Still, it’s tarted up comrade does get in as proof that nearly any biscuit can be improved with a layer of cream.
4. Dark Chocolate Digestives
As with most foodstuffs, a layer of chocolate also elevates many a biscuit. The humble Digestive is a favourite of my parents as it remains a solid, dunking biscuit; unpretentious, dependable and you know exactly how long you can leave it in your brew. However, the dark chocolate simply adds a layer of sophistication to it.
The biscuit that began the debate. It was not until I arrived into Melbourne that I discovered just how amazing this chocolate sandwich is. One of my housemates, Zoe, got me a cup of tea and excitedly produced a packet of TimTams (basically the Australian equivalent of a Penguin) and asked if I had heard of the ‘TimTam Slam’. I had not so she instructed me to dunk the biscuit into the tea and suck through the open end. My mind was blown. Not only is this an improvement on dunking but shortly after sucking through a gulp of your beverage you know it’s exactly the right time to scoff down the moist biscuit. After all that, it is still only ranked third.
2. Jaffa Cake
Apologies Maam. The Queen will disagree yet as the Jaffa Cake resides in the biscuit aisle I am implored to include it. Those unaware of the historical debate of whether a Jaffa Cake is a biscuit or a cake will be heartened to know that this actually went to a court of law, I certainly was. Under UK law when a biscuit is covered in chocolate it becomes a cake and subject to the standard VAT rate. However, in 1991 McVities challenged this ruling and came up against Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise. The case went to the courts who were forced to settle the debate and they ruled in favour of McVities. One of the critical arguments being the difference between what happens when biscuits and cakes go stale. Of course, biscuits go softer yet the Jaffa Cake actually goes harder. Case closed.
There are few things I truly missed more than Jaffa Cakes when I was traveling, so much so that my Mum posted a few boxes across to Australia. It’s been well known that I can scoff a whole packet in one go and have even gone to the extreme of pimping it to a full size cake version. For the record, the jelly is not orange flavoured but tangerine.
1. Monte Carlo
Top of the pile is the Monte Carlo. Sorry. What do you mean you’ve not heard of it? Shame that. Australians are rightly mocked for their lack of culinary expertise yet in the Monte Carlo they have created a gem of a biscuit. Two oval shaped biscuits of golden syrup, honey and coconut are sandwiched with a layer of rich vanilla cream and raspberry jam. Every component compliments each other and having worked in several Australian offices I can vouch for it’s versatility in the dunking and splitting stakes. You can also gauge it’s popularity by the very fact that it’s own secret fan club would get to work early just to hoard a couple.