Brandy Snaps

Watching contestants make Brandy Snaps on The Great Australian Bake Off last year inspired me to give them another go myself. The last time I made Brandy Snaps (or should say, tried making them) as a child, mine were a messy failure.

Growing up, Mum let my siblings and I have the run of the kitchen and we regularly baked cakes, biscuits and confectionery. We spent hours flicking through Mum’s recipe books, which were mostly fundraiser cookbooks from local schools, a few Australian Womens Weekly cookbooks and Mum’s recipe clippings from the newspaper, looking for nice things to make the family for afternoon tea on the weekends or school holidays. Once our recipe had been chosen, we ran it by Mum and then we would be off, measuring, mixing and cooking (leaving the dishes in the sink for Mum, who always washed up later while the culprit dried).

The first time I made Brandy Snaps I burned most, couldn’t manage to roll the good ones, and spent the next thirty years buying them from bakeries. After watching the contestants on the GABO successfully bake Brandy Snaps, I summoned my courage, gathered the ingredients and baked. Yum. Not to mention easier than expected. Just make sure before you start cooking that your wooden spoons have round handles.

50 gm butter
1/3 C brown sugar
1/4 C golden syrup
1/3 C plain flour
1 tspn ground ginger

300 ml thickened cream
1 Tblspn icing sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 tspn brandy (optional)

Place the butter, bown sugar and golden syrup into a heavy saucepan and stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Don’t let the mixture simmer or boil (if it does, throw the mixture away and start again, as they won’t work).
Take the mixture off the stove and cool for a few minutes before mixing in the sifted flour and ground ginger.

Drop two large teaspoons of mixture onto oven trays (you could grease the trays, but I prefer to use baking paper) leaving loads of room around each because the mixture will spread like a rash all over the tray.

Cook the Brandy Snaps in the oven at 180.C for approximately seven minutes and then start watching them like a hawk, because they need to come out of the oven before they start changing colour. When the biscuits are ready, they will be thin and lacy.

Slide the Brandy Snaps, baking paper and all off the tray and onto a wire rack as soon as possible, as the Brandy Snaps will continue to cook on the hot tray out of the oven. After about 45 seconds the biscuits will be cool enough to handle and you can roll them around your wooden spoon handles. Let them cool for a few minutes wrapped around the handles before sliding them onto the wire rack.

Whip the cream, icing sugar and vanilla together and stir in the brandy once the cream is thick. Use a pipe to fill the brandy snaps with cream.

Plan B (which is much easier than rolling the biscuits around wooden spoon handles) is to make Brandy Snap Baskets. Just drape the hot Brandy Snaps over an upturned drinking glass to mould a basket. Baskets are also much easier to fill with cream than the traditional rolled Brandy Snaps.