Friday, November 10, 2006

Snap To It

Brandy Snaps

Here’s something from the vault.

Baked about two weeks ago, I discovered what cruel fate awaited my fingers after baking these Brandy Snaps. A favourite as a child, mum would always buy us Brandy Snaps from
The Cookie Man after school. Once in the seclusion of the backseat of the car, I would open the tightly sealed foil bag and proceed to munch through a whole packet while on the traverse home. It sounds somewhat dubious and I wouldn’t go as far as to include it in a bio, but perhaps this is where my fondness for cookies began, in the backseat of the car?

Back then I never gave a second thought as to how these beautifully brittle cookies were made and it is probably an advantageous thing not to embark in baking these cookies at all. That is, unless you are prepared to suffer the consequences. So if you wish to shape them into cigars, just know that you have been warned as burnt fingers are your portion when baking Brandy Snaps.

Brandy Snaps

The store-bought snaps were left flat and now I know why. Cigar shaped snaps are finicky, painful and time consuming, although, they are not impossible. Finicky, because you need a certain amount of nimbleness in rolling the cookies swiftly before they turn hard. Painful, because in order to roll them you will need to do so while they are still piping hot, your fingers may need a cold bath afterwards. And time consuming because you can only bake two or three at a time. Like making fortune cookies, brandy snaps are somewhat akin to kitchen callisthenics as you’re constantly pacing back and forth from the oven to the bench, moving as deftly as you can. So forget about putting your feet up while baking; this is no one hour cheesecake.

That said, once the baking and the rolling has been endured, these cookies is pure pleasure. Whether or not it is the reminiscence for long-gone school days that helped me persevere through burnt fingers and all, I can safely say it is worth the trouble and sincerely retract my statement about not making these cookies at all.

Brandy snaps are sweet, very sweet, and very hard. S
o don’t be surprised if you need some cavities filled or some teeth replacing after eating them. And trust me, you won't be stopping at just the one, so chipping teeth is a prospect you might want to preapre for. I also decided to use maple syrup as opposed to golden syrup which is typical of the recipe. To be honest I don’t really like golden syrup as much as other sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. But if you happen to like it then by all means substitute the maple for some golden syrup. The results should be very similar.

Maple Brandy Snaps
(makes lots of snaps)

Brandy Snaps

50g unsalted butter, cubed
¼ cup raw caster sugar
½ cup maple syrup
½ cup plain all-purpose flour
2 tbsp brandy (optional)
¼ tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 180˚C. Prepare two non-stick baking sheets, or alternatively use silicone sheets.
Place butter, sugar and maple syrup into a medium saucepan and dissolve over medium heat.
Add brandy, if you are using it.
Sift in flour and ground ginger and stir. Cook for a further 2 minutes.
Drop half a tablespoon worth of batter onto the baking sheet and spread into a thin circle.
Only bake two or three cookies at a time and make sure you spread them out at least 10cm apart as they will spread significantly.
Bake cookies for about 6-8 minutes or until they have turned a golden brown colour.

TO SHAPE THE COOKIES
Allow cookies to rest no more than 30 seconds after removing them from the oven, as these cookies harden in a split second.
Using a wide metal spatula lift the cookie from the baking sheet and quickly transfer to a flat surface.
Take the edge of the cookie and proceed to roll into a cigar shape.
Place on a wire rack to cook.
If the snaps harden before you get a chance to roll them, just pop them back into the oven for a minute and begin to re-roll.

NOTES: The Brandy Snaps can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week.

24 comments:

Tanna said...

Do they actually last a week in an airtight jar? I think I'd have them gone faster than that all by myself. But to eat them all by myself I'd have to keep them under lock and key or my husband would have them gone on 24 hours.
These look incredible and sound really labor intensive.

Yvo said...

Oh, delicious! I'm assuming it's okay if we skip the step about rolling though? I'm not too fond of burnt fingers. And I'm a complete spaz so I doubt I could even do 2-3 at a time, haha.

Monisha said...

I understand what you mean about burnt fingers, I recently attempted the fortune cookie recipe to make cigars, rolling as fast as I could trying not to sustain 3rd degree burns, did need to wear gloves as they were right out from a 400F oven, but were worth the effort!

Matt said...

I'll have to admit to having some pretty dubious memories of these things as well. Mostly of stealing cream filled ones from the tray before Mum's dinner parties, which was when she used to make them. So thanks for putting them back on my culinary landscape. Digital dexterity is not my forte either... but I'm glad you went to the effort :)

Lovely work.
Matt

joey said...

They do look lovely and I'm sure they taste wonderful! Hmmm...maybe one day I'll get up the courage..."kitchen callisthenics"? I'd definitely rather do a batch of these yummy looking gems then go to the gym!

Helene said...

Ma-gni-fi-que! I can never stop at one! I love making these, especially nice if you mold them as cups to showcase ice cream or fruit salad.

Ivonne said...

Oh my!

How I would love to enjoy a bundle of these sweets with my cup of tea! As always so beautiful, jenjen!

ilingc said...

oh.. i love brandy snaps, last time i tried to make them into baskets umm.. it didn't really turn out so good.. and i know of the cookie man ones you're talking about. i always get some everytime i walk pass the shop!

Brilynn said...

Burned fingers aside, theses are very pretty.

wheresmymind said...

Holy catz those look so damn good!

foodiemama said...

looks sooooo good!

peabody said...

Yeah, they wouldn't last a week at my house!

Bronwyn said...

Mmmm yummy!
However I like them best when they have been sitting filled with softly whipped cream for an hour or more!
Still crunchy on the ends but soft and "mooshy" in the middle! hehe

Ashley said...

Beautiful! It looks like they were worth the pain.

noémie said...

Hi jenjen! lovely brandy snaps...like Peabody, I don't think they will last a week! it's a very beautiful work you've made! Glad to come back into the blog's world and see all the luscious recipes you've posted! Incredible!

bea at La Tartine Gourmande said...

Lovely they are! They look like "cigarettes russes" which are cookies I grew up with, and that I love to make too! yum!

Anonymous said...

Your photographs look like something out of a food magazine. I'm really enjoying looking through your site. :)

Ari (Baking and Books)

angelika said...

They look amazing ! I think with me they would not last a week, in an airtight container or not.
Have a nice weekend, angelika

Orchidea said...

Very nice those brandy snaps ans so cute...
Ciao.

Rachel said...

Yum! I never have hear of them before but they look fantastic!

Erielle said...

They might be labor intensive, but it looks like the ingredients are usually already in one's kitchen, so time is saved by not having to go to the store. Now there is no reason not to make these beauties!

mimosa said...

très jolis!!!

Lady Lunchalot said...

I use white cotton gloves from teh supermarket to help with hot jars when I am making preserves. They'd probably come in handy for something like this.

fracas said...

I agree with anonymous, your photos look like they're out of a food magazine, they're wonderful! Good on you!