The fifth week of the Great Canadian Baking Show featured Brandy Snaps (or as I called them in a Tweet ginger snaps) for the technical bake, a rolled caramelly cookie that is filled with whipped cream! This is a fitting recipe for the technical bake as it is Best of Britain Week, and these are a classic British dessert.
The Brandy Snaps technical bake was won this week by Sabrina Degni . On the show the bakers were given all ingredients they needed to make the Brandy Snaps, along with a recipe that was missing some key bits of information. Those of us following along were lucky to be able to use a more complete recipe (here), and learn from their experience. The bakers also had 1 hour 30 minutes to complete the bake from start to finish.
I remember making these about 40 years ago from a Time Life cookbook, I am pretty sure the book had these on the cover too. As an aside these were an amazing set of cookbooks with many different volumes. They went into to detail on technique and had lots of great recipes. I think it was the good cook series. I am not sure what happened too these, but a quick search shows that if I want I can get them!
0 Minutes – I give the recipe a read, and assemble all my ingredients and tools. I also line a few sheet pans with parchment, oh crumb no parchment! Luckily I have some stashed away in the basement.
5 Minutes – First thing is to get the butter, demerara sugar and golden corn syrup melting in a pot. Not so hard yet, just like starting a caramel – sort of. Instructions are to do it slowly and do not boil!
18 Minutes – We have to let the mixture cool a bit, then sift flour over and add the ginger (this is why I mistakenly called them ginger snaps!). Mix it up and add some lemon juice. We are ready to make some cookies!
20 Minutes – Now prior to doing my bake, Joel Robinson had given me a tip on Twitter that he found the best timing in the oven was 6 minutes with almost a 2 minute cool, so I took his lead. At first I balked at the idea of just putting 3 on each tray, but decided to follow instructions and I am glad I did, more than 3 at a time would have been too much. The trick with these is cooking them just enough so they caramelize, but not so long that that they set up too quick and cant be rolled. You also do not want them under cooked, as they will then just collapse when rolled.
The first ones are dropped onto sheet 1, and put in the oven. I then get the next 2 trays ready too, as I am going to put one in the oven every 3 minutes.
23 Minutes – Tray 2 is now in the oven.
26 Minutes – Joel was right, they are looking nice and golden, time to come out, and tray 3 into the oven. Very gooey still, so they need to cool a bit.
28 Minutes – The first one is rolling nicely! Yahoo!
30 Minutes – The second tray is out, we will keep the assembly line going! Some tricks I learned. If they cool off too much back in the oven for a bit, and you are ready to roll. Not cooked enough, back in the oven too.
50 Minutes – Last tray is out of the oven, cooled and rolled. We 20 nice Brandy Snaps, and no burnt fingers! (I would have had 21 but I broke 1)
55 Minutes – Now we need to make the whipping cream for the filling. Now I know my judges, so if I present them something that is caramel like with whipping cream they will not like it much, but if I incorporate chocolate or perhaps some really good Valrhona cocoa, then I am golden! So I make some plain whipping cream with vanilla paste instead of the Grand Marnier, and also some with the Valrhona cocoa.
1 Hour 0 Minutes – I get my piping bags ready with the whipped creams and away we go filling the Brandy Snaps.
1 Hour 15 Minutes – We are done!
We do a quick taste test and they are quite delicious, the crispy cookie and cream go very well together.
I made these on Sunday December 3, which also happens to be our son’s Birthday, which allowed us to have these with birthday cake (which I also baked that day) later on after dinner at one of our favourite restaurants. As they sat in the fridge filled for about 6 hours, the cookie portion did soften a bit. If I was making these again I would certainly prepare the cookie portion in advance, but hold them unfilled at room temperature, then fill just before service.