A biscuit is a baked, commonly flour based food product. A small, typically round cake of bread leavened with baking powder, baking soda, or sometimes yeast. In some countries the word biscuit historically refers to a hard cookie or cracker. A biscuit is "any of various hard or crisp dry baked product" similar to the American English terms cracker or cookie, or "a small quick bread made from dough that has been rolled out and cut or dropped from a spoon." Today, according to the American English dictionary Merriam-Webster, a cookie is a "small flat or slightly raised cake". In the United States biscuits are generally small soft, yeast-based products served with breakfast or dinner. They perform a variety of functions including fill (hungry bellies), topping and sopping (eg. biscuits & gravy). Cathead biscuits and beaten biscuits are two popular American regional favorites.
The Middle French word bescuit is derived from the Latin words bis (twice) and coquere, coctus (to cook, cooked), and, hence, means "twice-cooked". This is because biscuits were originally cooked in a two fold process: first baked, and then dried out in a slow oven. This term was then adapted into English in the 14th century during the Middle Ages, in the Middle English word bisquite, to represent a hard, twice-baked product.
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