Monday, 12 September 2011

Brandy Snaps

Recipe Number Eighty Seven:  Page 226.

How could I resist trying these after watching the Great British Bake Off earlier in the week? To be honest I'd previously never given brandy snaps much thought, so I hadn't realised how fiddly they are to make! I ended up making the brandy snaps on the Friday afternoon, instead of at the weekend, as Neil had requested I make them while he was at work. I can't imagine why!!

The previous day I read through the recipe and noticed that I needed four wooden spoons to shape the brandy snaps. All but one of my wooden spoons had flat handles, which were no good. My Mum, who had come to visit, took Isaac for a walk via the shop. The owner of the shop very kindly went and searched out at the back and proudly presented Mum with a wooden spoon. He looked rather bemused when Mum asked if he had any more!! Alas he did not. To solve the dilemma, Neil cut some dowel to size so I ended up with two makeshift spoon handles – what a resourceful man!

Armed with my two wooden spoons and two pieces of cut dowel, I was ready to make a start. To keep any potential stress at bay I put on a soothing CD and attempted to glide around in a calm and collected manner! First of all, I measured out the butter, demerara sugar and golden syrup and heated them in a small saucepan. On the Great British Bake Off, Mary advised using a wooden spoon when stirring the mixture. This way you can feel when the sugar has melted. I followed the advice and found it very helpful as I could easily feel the grittiness of the demerara until it melted. Once all the sugar crystals had disappeared, I left the mixture to cool for a couple of minutes. I weighed out the plain flour and sieved it into the saucepan along with a tiny amount of ginger. The last ingredient to be added was lemon juice. As I only needed half a teaspoon of juice, I just had to give the lemon the smallest of squeezes to collect the little drip! I gave the combined ingredients a good mix, until I was happy that it was smooth. I had already put some greaseproof paper onto two baking trays (Mary uses baking parchment), so the trays were ready for their four dollops of mixture. I only needed a teaspoonful of mixture for each brandy snap. It looked a tiny amount but they would spread out in the oven. Brandy snaps only take eight minutes or so in the oven, so I watched them like a hawk. Out of all the things I have watched cook, these have to be the most entertaining. They bubbled away quite merrily and spread out into thin lacey discs.

I took the golden brown brandy snaps out of the oven and left them to cool for about two minutes as Mary suggests. When I tried to remove them with a cake slicer, I found them to be absolutely welded onto the paper. I didn't really fancy adding greaseproof paper to my diet, so had to throw them away! I started to feel a little stressed, so had to think quickly! I decided to give up on the paper and instead very lightly greased the trays. I put the dollops of mixture directly onto the trays and anxiously placed them in the oven. I hoped it would work. I admit I didn't feel very hopeful! Once the brandy snaps were cooked and out of the oven, I let them cool for just one minute, if not less, before removing them from the trays. They came away very easily and wrapped around the oiled wooden spoon handles and dowels like a dream - phew and hooray! I carried on in this way until I used up all of the mixture. They did turn brittle very quickly so I couldn't hang around! When it came to the process of piping some whipped cream inside the cold, set brandy snaps, I soon discovered more cream was spilling out of the seam of my reusable bag than coming out of the nozzle - I got smothered!

Neil was amazed when he got home to find a relaxed and happy wife, and most impressed when he saw the plate of finished brandy snaps!! They had such a satisfying crunch when they were bitten into, and had a real taste of ginger. Having cream in the middle made them even scrummier. Neil ate six, one after the other! Apart from the greaseproof paper issue, I really did enjoy making the brandy snaps; they were quite fun. As I'd used greaseproof paper instead of the suggested parchment paper, I am holding that responsible! I did feel rather proud of my brandy snaps, but we had to eat them quickly as the cream soon turns them soft. Oh it's a hard life!!
Feel quite proud of them!!!


  1. They look fab hun, no defrosting brandysnaps for you and always your blog made me smile xxx

  2. Aww, thanks so much. So relieved they worked out! Thank goodness there is no defrost setting on my oven! Really pleased it made you smile :-) xxx

  3. They look so lovely Anneliese, well done :-) I meant to try these this weekend but ended up putting up bunk beds instead! Maybe next weekend :-)

  4. Thanks so much Nicola - I am so glad they worked!! Oh poor you, putting up bunk beds doesn't sound like much fun to me!! Hopefully you'll get a chance to make them soon :-)