For a long time, I was unaware that brandy snaps could be eaten on their own as opposed to being used a decorations for bigger, grander desserts. While this discovery hasn’t exactly rocked my world, it has given me another recipe in my biscuit arsenal, one that is particularly quick and easy to make! Whilst containing almost identical ingredients to gingerbread, the difference in ratios is what gives brandy snaps their distinctive appearance.
While in the oven, the butter and golden syrup melt, as does the sugar. This makes the brandy snaps spread out from teaspoon sized blobs to several inches across. The bubbling in the butter causes little holes giving rise to the lacy appearance. As the sugar caramelises in the oven and the butters flows out of the biscuits, they darken. Once removed from the oven, the brandy snaps are far to soft to handle but as they cool, the sugar begins to harden. This is when they should be shaped. Cigars are shaped using an oiled wooden spoon but more exciting shapes can also be made. Laying the soft biscuit over an oiled cup or orange can give a beautiful bowl which can hold a dessert or cutting into triangles or long rectangles and curling can give an ornate garnish to a pudding.
Dating back to the early 1800s, brandy snaps have been around for a long time and haven’t really changed at all! They are traditionally filled with whipped cream however they can also be dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts to give another dimension. The origin of the name is actually thought to have been derived from the word ‘branded’ referring to the fact that they can appear burnt. Having said that, I can appreciate that you may wish to drink a couple of brandys whilst baking these as they are some of the fiddliest things I have ever created.
One thing to note is that while you want to shape them while they are still hot, they have to cool enough not to break when you handle them (and also not to burn your fingers). Another thing that makes them so useful is if you only want a few to jazz up your dessert, the lack of eggs in the recipe means you can reduce the quantities as much as you want – providing you stick to equal ratios of all ingredients other than the ginger.
I hope you enjoy the recipe and have a chance to try these at home!
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 40
Makes: 30 medium sized brandy snaps
100g unsalted butter
100g brown sugar
100g golden syrup
100g plain flour
1tsp ground ginger
(optional: 1tbsp brandy or lemon juice)
Vegetable oil and wooden spoons
300ml whipping cream to fill
Preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (1800C).
Sift the flour and ginger into a bowl and make a well in the middle.
Gently heat the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan until it has all mixed together and the butter is fully melted. DON’T LET THIS BOIL!
Pour the butter and sugar mixture into the well in the flour and mix together.
Add the lemon juice or brandy and mix into the batter – it should be thick and flow very slowly.
Using a half tablespoon (or a heaped teaspoon), dollop four blobs of batter onto each baking sheet – they will spread out a lot so do not put more than 4 on the first couple of sheets. Once you know if you can fit an extra brandy snap on the sheet then you can add one to the next batch.
Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown – but not too dark as no one wants burnt brandy snaps.
I tend to use three sheets on a rotation as the lower one doesn’t cook as fast so once I remove the first sheet, I move up the lower one and add the third sheet on the bottom of the oven and work in four or five minute intervals from there.
Lightly brush the handles of some wooden spoons with the vegetable oil.
Let the brandy snaps rest for a minute until they are cool enough to handle and won’t rip when lifted but are still soft and malleable.
Wrap each one around the handle of the wooden spoon and place (seam side down so they don’t unwrap) onto a surface to cool.
The brandy snaps should have cooled enough to remove from the wooden spoons without losing their shape when the next batch comes out of the oven.
Keep this rotation going until you have cooked all of the brandy snaps.
To fill them, whip the cream and pipe into the brandy snaps from both ends. You can also dip ends of brandy snap into melted chocolate (before filling with cream of course) and roll it in chopped nuts.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe. Let me know how these turn out for you, drop me a tag on Instagram @thatcookingthing as I love seeing what you guys create at home. If you fancy something more cakey – check out my recipe for a Yule Log (they don’t have to just be for Christmas)! Alternatively, if you are looking for something a little more savoury, why not make yourself some delicious Curried Parsnip Soup?
Have a good one and I’ll be back next week with a base recipe for one pot pasta which can be adapted to make masses of dishes!