The finished brandy snaps, served with cream and fruitAnother classic New Zealand recipe from the Edmonds Cookery Book. This time it is the mysteriously-named brandy snaps - a quick and relatively easy dessert that looks incredibly fancy for only a little work.
When I first started making brandy snaps I found the hardest part was getting the consistency right to create that wonderfully bubbly texture. I do not guarantee you will get it right first time but the beauty of this recipe is that even if you screw it up the worst that happens is that you end up with ginger cookies instead.
The recipe in the book actually doesn't work very well without modifications. The following is my version, adjusted for US audiences.
The original recipe calls for Golden Syrup, which is ubiquitous in New Zealand but hard to find in the USA. I substitute maple syrup and brown sugar with good results
- Butter - 5½ tablespoons
- Ground Ginger - 1 teaspoon
- White Sugar - ½ cup
- Maple Syrup - 3 tablespoons
- Brown Sugar - 1 tablespoon
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- Flour - ½ cup
You will also need a saucepan, a large flat baking tray (preferably nonstick), parchment paper, some way to sift the flour, and some small bowls.
Preheat the oven and the baking tray to 350°F or 180°C, according to preference.
Gently melt the butter in the saucepan over a low heat. Add the ginger plus all the sugary stuff and stir over the heat until mixed. Do not let the butter boil or brown. The sugar will not completely dissolve - that is OK.
Remove from the heat and sift in the flourWith some recipes you can get away with not sifting the flour - this is not one of those recipes. Mix to combine.
Take the tray out of the oven and quickly cover it with parchment paper. Spoon out the mixture onto the hot tray and use the back of the spoon or a knife to spread and flatten the mixture so it covers the entire tray to a depth of about 3-4mm or 1/8 of an inch or thinner. The mixture doesn't need to be very even, it will melt and spread while baking.
If your tray is on the smaller side then you might like to bake the mixture in two batches, it is important that the mixture is not too deep.
Bake for 10 minutes then check on your creation. It should be bubbling away across the entire surface and starting to turn a golden brown color. The mixture is probably not quite ready yet so keep checking on it until the brown color spreads from the edges to the center. Sometimes I increase the oven temperature during the last few minutes to really finish it off.
Take the tray out of the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes, but not too long because you want to mold the brandy snaps while the mixture is still hot to the touch.
Cut the mixture into large sheets (8 or so) and carefully mold the sheets around a small bowl to form a crude cup shape. It doesn't have to be very good, in fact the rustic look works much better on the table. I usually leave a couple of sheets flat to put into ice cream later on.
Let the brandy snaps cool of completely then serve with cream and fruit.
Left-over brandy snaps can be stored in the fridge, they will still taste great but they lose their distinctive crunch after 24 hours.