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.
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. So 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)
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.