Brandy Snaps and The Great British Bake Off
Last night, the contestants on The Great British Bake Off, or GBBO for short, were once again toiling over some fiendish recipe test. If you’re not familiar with the programme, then each week a blind test is set by the Hitler and Stalin of the baking world, Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry. As you would imagine of a task forged in the malevolent minds of Berry and Hollywood, its wicked nature and inhuman time limits render any attempts almost pointless, with only a few of the highly skilled contestants able to produce something remotely edible. These said baking heroes should be applauded for their efforts, as us mere mortals clearly lack the divine powers they wield, week in and week out.
Alas this isn’t quite the case. Hollywood and Berry, although critical, are never anything but fair and accurate. The weekly tests are usually, dare I say, not particularly difficult. Ok, the Battenberg cake of week one was no easy feat, but last weeks focaccia and this weeks brandy snaps really lacked the same precise technique. So when confused contestants only add a fraction of the water required to their bread dough, or serve up undercooked biscuits because the oven was on defrost, I have little sympathy. If your biscuits are undercooked, don’t take them out of the oven, and maybe even turn up the oven, it’s a pretty simple solution and goes hand in hand with not changing the recipe that is put in front of you.
I was so amazed at the lack of judgment and poor outcomes of last nights brandy snaps that I set about making my own, even following the Mary Berry recipe. And guess what, it’s not that hard, my results were pretty decent. To be fair they aren’t great in regards to consistent sizing, however they have a great snap, good texture and a nice flavour, even if I do say so myself. Here is the recipe with a few pics and tips along the way.
Brandy Snaps (by the very lovely and not even slightly evil Mary Berry)
- 55g Butter
- 55g Demerara sugar
- 55g Golden syrup
- 50g Plain flour
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- Pre heat oven to Gas 4 and line one baking tray with baking paper.
- Put the syrup, butter and sugar into a thick bottomed sauce pan.
- Heat very gently, without boiling, until all sugar is dissolved, about 10 mins, take off heat and allow to cool for 3 minutes.
- Mix in the flour and ground ginger, then stir in lemon juice, mix well to form a thick paste.
- On your baking tray play four even tea spoons of the paste, spread well apart from each other, bake in the oven until they are golden brown in colour and have a lace like structure.
- Take try out of oven, and allow to cool for a minute or two. When first removed they biscuits will be too soft to shape, but after they have cooled slightly they will have a more solid feel to them.
- Pick up a biscuit with fish slice and wrap around handle of a wooden spoon to form tube, allow it to set slightly before sliding off onto a wire rack and cooling fully. At this point having several wooden spoons is a lot easier.
- Do the same with the remaining three biscuits, if they get too cold and hard, put them back in the oven for a minute to soften them.
- cook the remaining mixture in batches of 4, if this becomes too thick to spoon onto the tray, roll small amounts into balls and use them.
- You can fill them with whipped cream flavoured with vanilla or brandy.
- The Great British Bake Off Episode 4! (kerrycooks.wordpress.com)
- Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood: the best reality TV judges ever? (guardian.co.uk)