by Lauren Bravo
The great British tea break is sacred, and it would be nothing without the perfect biscuit to dunk in your cup. Performing in flavour, texture and structural integrity, here are the greatest dunkers around – just don’t let it drop!
These twice-baked beauties are the probably hardiest biscuit around. Also known as cantuccini, meaning “coffee bread”, the nutty fingers are baked as a whole loaf and made crunchy by slicing them while still hot from the oven. We love studding them with cranberry and pistachio for a bit of festive colour, but there aren’t many nut, fruit and spice combinations that biscotti can’t carry with aplomb.
In their native Italy they’re most likely to be served as an after-dinner nibble with a glass of Vin Santo – but elsewhere biscotti have been embraced as the perfect companion to a cuppa or a coffee. Their shape makes them ideal for dunking, and they get bonus points for easy transferral from mug to mouth once they’ve soaked up your brew.
Soft, crumbly shortbread, though delicious, is normally one of the weaker choices in the dunking stakes. But Jammy Dodgers have a secret weapon – their sticky raspberry centres provide the perfect adhesive, holding everything together nicely in your cup. An architectural triumph.
Gingerbread and ginger biscuits are loved in so many parts of the world. They run the whole gamut from rock-hard ginger nuts to the soft, treacly parkin beloved by northerners.
Where dunking’s concerned you can’t go wrong with a sturdy gingerbread man (although let it be known that only sadists eat the head first), but for real sensory pleasure try Germany’s lebkuchen. There won’t be time for a long dip before this headily spiced honey biscuit turns to mush, but leave it just long enough to soften and you’re in for a real treat.
Chocolate chip cookies
There’s only one thing better than chocolate, and that is melted chocolate – as proved by our dunking habits. Last year a poll by netvouchercodes.co.uk declared the chocolate digestive as Britain’s favourite dunker, while Australians have long practiced the art of sucking tea through a chocolate-coated biscuit bar, known in legend as ‘the Tim-Tam Slam’.
But we think you can go one better with freshly-baked cookies, just as comforting with hot tea as they are with cold milk to our American chums. For ultimate dunking you want it packed with ready-to-melt chocolate (use chunks rather than chips) and golden syrup for a chewy texture. True cookie monsters have a chilled roll of dough in their fridge, ready to cut and bake whenever occasion calls.