For this weeks cookie, I decided to challenge myself a little. I've always had my eye on a recipe for Brandy Snaps from The Cookie Book. I think what drew me to it was the picture. These cookies looked so elegant, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy trying to replicate them.You probably don't know this, but for me, tuiles have always been more than a little daunting. I had a nasty experience with fortune cookies in the past, but I decided to give this recipe a try anyway. Halfway into the process, I started second-guessing myself. Why, you ask? Well, my first batch was a disaster. I took my eye of the cookies and I went by the time in the recipe and in half the time specified, I had a feeling that my cookie was overdone. I took them out of the oven, and they just wouldn't come off the sheet. They were charred and stuck to the sheet and nothing I did could get them off. So into the sink it went. I was so disheartened, I almost threw away the dough and started on another recipe. Almost. Then I heard a little voice in my head (Oh yes, I do hear this little voice from time to time (*wink*) ) that said try out another batch, you've got nothing to lose. So I started out with another batch and this time I stood by the oven, staring at my cookies, and lo and behold, in a couple of minutes, these cookies were ready to be taken out. Fortunately for me, I managed to get them of the sheet and shape them as well. Imagine my joy, I wanted to jump around and cry out from the rooftops that I had conquered the mighty tuile. Sorry, I get carried away :o)
Ultimately, it turned out that I got better with each batch. They turned out delicious. My only regret is that these cookies take some time and effort, since you can bake and shape only a few at a time. I've incorporated the changes that I made to the original recipe that worked for me. A word of advice though, when you're trying these cookies out, make sure you have a little time at hand, because you can't leave them unattended.
You have to work with these cookies while they're still hot. If they cool down too much, you'll be left with a little disc, which is pretty as well. You can serve these with some creamy desert or ice cream.
Adapted from: The Cookie Book
(Makes 18-20 depending on size)
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2/3 cups (superfine) sugar
1 1/2 tsp. golden corn syrup
1/3 cup plain all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
For the filling:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp brandy (optional)
Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the corn syrup and mix again. Sift in the flour and ground ginger and mix till it forms a coarse dough.
Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease a baking sheet.
Working in batches of two (the original recipe says 4, but I couldn't handle them fast enough, 2 works much better), form 2 little balls the size of a large marble and place them well apart on the baking sheet. These will spread a lot. Flatten them slightly. I find it helps to indent the centre of the disc with your finger. This way the cookie cooks without the edges burning. Bake for about 2-3 minutes till it gets a shade of light golden brown. (The original recipe suggests 10 minutes, but I found that was way too much, go by what you see and not by the time).
Remove from the oven and let it cool for a couple of seconds on the sheet itself. Using a metal spatula, take it off the sheet, one at a time and turn it on the other side onto a plate. Wrap around the (round) handle of a wooden spoon or a round chopstick using it to guide the shape. When firm, slide off and leave to cool completely.
For the filling:
Whip the cream and brandy together till soft peaks form. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle and pipe into each end of the brandy snaps just before serving.
Note: I find that the filling is good even without the brandy. So if you're serving these to kids, you can leave out the brandy.
My Observations: This turns out a little sweet so try and use a whipped cream that isn't sweetened or isn't very sweet, unless you'd rather have these really sweet.
Verdict: These are really de-li-cious. While making them, initially I was almost reduced to tears and I swore I would never make them again, but changed my mind the second I put one in my mouth. In the end, its well worth the effort.
Check out what the others have baked this week!