I think I’ve just gone on a Ginger Kick… It’s the Kookie Kutter’s Ginger Snaps that surely got me going.
I’m intrigued because the item known as Ginger Snaps here in Eastern Canada appears to be semi-related to two other recipes that I know and love dearly from the other side of the world: Gingernuts, a very special family recipe in my last post, or Brandy snaps, similar yet different in taste, but considerably different in appearance.
In Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom there are also well known and loved but not the same items as known in North America.
My American foodie friend clearly has no idea of what I mean when I try and describe a Brandy Snap to her. Therefore I am interested to compare the various forms of these closely related cookies/biscuits, or in Sackville’s version: “kookies”.
If you are not from “Down Under” and you are looking for a make-ahead different dessert that people will adore, then please give this a try… filled with whipped cream, add ice-cream, fruit, whatever… these are soooooo good and they present beautifully. ( do add the cream last minute so that they don’t go soft) These are easier than they look.
I’ve added a LOT of instruction here to hold your hand every step of the way though this tutorial and cover all possible hassles you may encounter… but once you have done the first ones you’ll realise just how easy these are.
Let me take you step-by-step though the process of these wonderful biscuits/cookies. I can guarantee that if you add these to your Christmas trays they will go down a treat!
Brandy Snaps (there’s no actual Brandy in them by the way)… are a fine super thin filigree lacy ginger biscuit/cookie that you roll up over the handle of a wooden spoon a minutes or so after they leave the oven. They cool quickly, you slide them off the wooden spoon handle and then once they are really cold, pipe whipped cream into the tubular inside space.
I get out my one of my favourite recipe books: “New Zealand the Beautiful Cookbook” by Tui Flower, and assemble several of my wooden spoons for duty. This makes approximately 24 Brandy Snaps.
75 grams butter
3 tablespoons of Golden Syrup
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour (not self raising)
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Whipped cream for filling
1) Preheat your oven to 180C (356 F) and line biscuit/cookie trays with baking paper. (don’t grease the trays or the paper)
2) Combine the butter, Golden syrup and sugar in a saucepan and warm over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved into the melted butter and golden syrup. Make certain that you stir it well. Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool a little.
3) Sift the flour and ground ginger into a baking bowl and then add the cooled butter mixture, combining together well.
4) Place small teaspoons of the mix onto the baking trays… don’t get over-excited and do large dollops because otherwise they will be too big and unwieldy to roll up after they are baked.
Now, just a note: sometimes when I make this the mixture turns out more liquid or more firm, ( when I took these photos it was stormy and raining outside.. humidity? , I don’t know what influences this) It could be as ssimple as the fact that the Golden Syrup is messy to measure so might not be a really accurate ingredient that throws things off a bit.
But don’t worry, you can remedy it easily. These ones were not quite liquid enough and it’s easily solved by setting your spoonfuls onto the tray, ( I did spoonfuls onto three trays and then came back to the first one) They will firm up a little whilst on the tray.
Take a clean metal spoon and gently rub the spoonful of mixture with the back of the spoon until it spreads out very thinly. Doing this means that it won’t matter if the mixture isn’t perfect, the end result still will be perfect, without having to start fiddling or adding additional ingredients to your mix.
You will want no more than four spoonfuls on each tray. Yes, yes I know, my above photos show five… believe me I quickly stopped doing that because I had troubles to roll the fifth ones later. ( read on, it will become clear why LOL)
The trays will need to be baked one at a time, for only 5-6 minutes until they bubble, are very flat and the lacy effect gives a dark golden colour.
You want holes in them like these:
5) Once cooked take them out of the oven and after waiting for a minute or so, very gently roll the warm rounded cookie around the handle of a wooden spoon.
The timing of this is a little bit of an art-form because there is a very fine line between them being too hot and soft to roll, and then setting so quickly hard that they are impossible to roll up.
Note: when rolling them, DO leave the handle of the wooden spoons inside to keep the space open until the Brandy Snap has fully hardened (this literally takes only a few minutes) Please Note also: this is NOT part of the recipe that the kids can help you with, the cookies are very hot at first and you will need to take great care.
Actually this step is easier than it seems… expect a few less than perfect attempts with your first efforts, but you will quickly get the knack of gaging the exact moment when to start rolling for it to be successful. Believe me, the result IS worth a small learning curve !
Now, why not five cookies on the tray? Because you have to wait a minute or so until they are cool enough to roll, from that point onwards, because they are so thin you will have a very short window of time in which to roll them before they are too hard and break. You can do four cookies quickly in the time… in my experience the fifth is neigh on impossible.
BUT... here’s a tip if you do want to cheat LOL. You’ve rolled four cookies and the fifth is too hard, you know it’s going to break… leave it on the baking tray, and put it back into the oven for just 1 minute, even while the next lot are still cooking. Then whip it out and hey presto it will be soft enough to roll.
Press carefully but firmly at the last part of the roll maneuver so that you use any residual heat in the cookie to seal itself shut.
Another Note: ( just becuase this happened once lately to me )
If excess butter seeps out onto the baking tray, and is left behind after the first batch of cookies have been removed, but dab with a paper kitchen towel to get the excess away. NO need to wash the tray between batches into the oven though.
A Tip for rolling… I have one wooden board to place my hot oven tray on, I have a second wooden board next to it for rolling. Use the wooden spoon handle and your other hand to support the hot but firming cookie on a quick trip to the rolling board… roll it there. If excess butter seeps out onto the board, wipe it off, but No need to wash the board between rolling. ( if you are rolling it will all become clear)
Remove rolled cookies from the wooden spoon handles once they are cooled and stack gently to get really cold before storing. (10 minutes)
6) You can easily make these in advance and add the cream directly before they are served, but they need to be stored in an airtight container or they will go soft and collapse.
The final touch is that the inside tubular space is filled with whipped cream, use a small spoon, a piping bag or cream in a can, whatever is easiest !
If you make these a bit bigger, and mold them into a muffin pan or around the bottom of a glass tumbler to make little baskets, once firm these can be filled with ice-cream, fruit, or whatever you would like.
Guess what I’m preparing in advance for charity fund raising baking ?! ….