In the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man, Australia, and New Zealand and most of the former British Empire, they are often called ginger nuts. Ginger nuts are not to be confused with pepper nuts, which are a variety of gingerbread, somewhat smaller in diameter, but thicker. McVitie’s ginger nuts was listed as the tenth most popular biscuit in the UK to “dunk” into tea.
Ginger nuts are the most popular biscuit in New Zealand, normally attributed to its tough texture which can withstand dunking into liquid. Leading biscuit manufacturer Griffin’s estimates 60 million of them are produced each year. This has become the title of a book, 60 Million Gingernuts, a chronicle of New Zealand records.
Scandinavian ginger nuts, also called ginger bread or “brunkage” in Danish (literally meaning “brown biscuits”), pepparkakor in Swedish, piparkakut in Finnish, piparkūkas in Latvian, piparkoogid in Estonian and pepperkaker in Norwegian (literally, pepper cookies), are rolled quite thin (often under 3 mm (1/8-inch) thick), and cut into shapes; they are smooth and are usually much thinner and hence crisper (and in some cases, more strongly flavoured) than most global varieties. Cloves, cinnamon and cardamom are important ingredients of these, and the actual ginger taste is not prominent. Allspice was used formerly to season ginger biscuits, but cloves replaced it later.
In the United States, the usual term is ginger snaps, and they are generally round drop cookies, usually between 3 mm (1/8-inch) and 6 mm (1/4-inch) thick, with prominent cracks in the top surface. One recipe for these cookies contains maple syrup.