1. In America, biscuits refer to small quick breads, which often use leaveners like baking powder or baking soda. Biscuits are generally savory (but can be sweet), and the texture should be tender and light. 2. In the British Isles, the term biscuit usually refers to a flat, thin cookie or cracker. 3. The word biscuit comes from the French bis cuit ("twice cooked"), which is what the original sea biscuits aboard ship had to be in order to remain crisp.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.