I know, I know, I know… I hate cookies. Aside from my mothers traditional Italian Christmas cookies, which my sister and I make in her memory each holiday and the occasional batch of peanut butter cookies I make when my better half requests them and the very rare excursion down the cookie aisle at the market for a box of vanilla wafers, you will rarely if ever see me go anywhere near a cookie. I can count on one hand the number of cookies that I actually like and will on occasion consider making. I can happily pass by the cookie table at weddings and parties without giving it a second glance. It isn’t that I really hate cookies per see, it’s just that I find them to be about the most tedious things on earth to make and more often than not the end result never seem to justify all the effort that goes into making them. I detest all the rolling and slicing and forming and then being chained to the oven to watch them like a hawk only to have them burn or be under-baked. They just aren’t worth it. Give me a nice simple pound cake any day.
So, with all that being said, why am I making these brandy snaps? Well, it all has to do with my new-found fascination with British baking. While watching British baking shows and in all my reading about British recipes, these little buggers just keep turning up. I became so fascinated with them that I finally decided the time had come to bite the bullet and make them. This is a Mary Berry recipe. Even Mary admits in the recipe that she rarely makes them herself as it is too easy to buy them. Well maybe in Britain but I have never seen them here so into the kitchen I went.
The recipe is fairly simple. 50 grams each of butter, golden syrup, Demerara sugar and flour, 1/2 teaspoon each of ginger and lemon juice. Combine the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan and heat until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved. Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool a minute. Then sift in the flour and ginger and add the lemon juice and stir it up until well combined. Then comes the tedious part. Line two baking sheets with parchment and drop 1 teaspoon of the mixture at 4 inch intervals on the sheets. You can only make 4 cookies per sheet. Bake them at 325 convection, 350 regular for 8 – 9 minutes until they spread out and turn a golden brown. Take them out of the oven, allow them to cool a bit ( this is where it gets tricky) You have to catch them when they are just slightly firm. Grease a wooden spoon handle and wrap the warm cookie around the handle and then slide it off onto a cooling rack and keep going. You have to move very quickly as they set up very fast and if they get too brittle they just shatter. If they start to get brittle, warm them a few seconds in the oven to soften them and continue. I will not kid you here, they are tedious and you can’t leave them for a second or they burn, harden or shatter. Once they cool, fill them with sweetened whipped cream and store in an air tight container. They are really good but I am with Mary, if you can, buy them.