If you’re a fan of whipped cream and you’re on a New Year’s resolution diet, then I suggest that you don’t read any further. It’s not that I don’t want you here, I really do. But once I introduce you to the whipped-cream-that-is-even-better-than-whipped cream that I filled these gluten free brandy snaps with, your diet will be over, and I just can’t handle that kind of responsibility.
For those who are willing to be cream corrupted, read on…
Brandy snaps were often one of our Christmas desserts until we started requiring gluten free sweets, and since gluten free brandy snaps aren’t available at the supermarket like the trusty old Ernest Adams ones, we haven’t had them in a fair few years. This year I decided to have a go making them with gluten free flour, and had I known just how easy they were to make, I’d have been making them every year!
If you haven’t had brandy snaps before, they are thin, crunchy, delicious little tubes made with golden syrup and lightly spiced with cinnamon and ginger. While the snaps are still warm they’re shaped into a tube, and when they’re cooled you fill them with whipped cream. I always assumed that there was brandy in brandy snaps but apparently often there is not, and you’re actually supposed to eat them with a glass of brandy. Plus I guess the name ‘ginger snaps’ was already taken.
But let’s talk about this whipped cream for a minute. If you didn’t think it was possible to have whipped cream that is even better than whipped cream, then I’m about to blow your mind.
The evilness of this cream was a bit of an accident really. See, my Mum makes tiramisu every year for Christmas lunch, but we couldn’t find the usual recipe in amongst the recipe jumble. After a quick Google search she found one that looked good. She usually makes two separate Tiramisus- a regular one and one with the sponge fingers dipped in a hot chocolate mixture instead of espresso for the non-coffee drinkers, and we weren’t sure if the recipe would make enough filling for two desserts. So what do you do when you’re not sure how much of something a recipe makes? You triple it, of course. Turns out doubling it would have been more than enough!
So there we were with a container of leftover tiramisu filling in the fridge (and by left over, I mean there was still a whole lot left after my parents, my aunty and I were done spreading it on the leftover pieces of the gluten free sponge I’d made… *cough*, quality control, *cough*)
On Christmas Day, when I was whipping cream to fill the brandy snaps, I spotted the container of Tiramisu filling in the fridge, and figured why not add a bit of that good stuff to the cream? Adding more cream + egg yolks + mascarpone cheese would make a pretty nice whipped cream, right? I cannot even believe how right that was. You might think that those ingredients would make the cream too rich, but in fact it is the total opposite, they make a whipped cream that is silkier and smoother and somehow even lighter. Add in a healthy dose of vanilla paste, and you have the ultimate whipped cream.
So last week I came up with a recipe using the egg yolks and mascarpone, added to lots of softly whipped cream, and it really does make the perfect filling for these lacy little tubes.
The snaps can be a little fiddly to make, but once you’ve worked out how long they take to cook in your oven and after you’ve rolled a few, then you can churn through a batch pretty quickly. Because they need to be shaped while they’re still warm, you can only bake one tray (four snaps) at a time, but if you place a new tray in as you take the previous one out then you get a little production line going and it doesn’t take too long. On Christmas, my Mum and I made them together, so we each rolled two on each tray, and never had any problems with the snaps cooling too quickly. So if you can, grab a friend! Nothing like a bit of team effort in the kitchen.
(They’re also pretty useful for snapping you rolling some snaps.)
I used non-stick cannoli tubes to shape my brandy snaps, but if you don’t have tubes then you can use the thick handle of a wooden spoon. Ideally you need four of whatever you’re going to shape them around, if not then you may need to warm the snaps back up if they cool down and harden before you’ve rolled them. And of course if you don’t want tubes, you could shape the snaps into baskets over an upturned muffin tray or some small bowls. Or leave them flat and layer them up with cream and fruit.
Once the snaps are cooled you can pipe in your whipped cream.
The gluten free brandy snaps are best eaten soon after they’re filled, so they don’t get too soft and chewy. But trust me, eating them quickly is no trouble whatsoever…
It's best to fill the brandy snaps just before you eat them, but unfilled snaps can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 - 3 days. Since the snaps need to be shaped while warm, only bake one tray at a time. To keep things moving, as you remove one tray from the oven place the next tray in (and re-set the oven timer). This way you can crank out one tray every six or so minutes. I used brown rice flour and tapioca flour, but you could try these using your favourite gluten free flour blend. If you don't need the brandy snaps to be gluten free, replace the brown rice flour and tapioca flour with 100g of plain flour. Recipe adapted from Mary Berry's brandy snap recipe
For the Brandy Snaps
For the Ultimate Whipped Cream
Ultimate Whipped Cream:
It's best to fill the brandy snaps just before you eat them, but unfilled snaps can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 - 3 days.
Since the snaps need to be shaped while warm, only bake one tray at a time. To keep things moving, as you remove one tray from the oven place the next tray in (and re-set the oven timer). This way you can crank out one tray every six or so minutes.
I used brown rice flour and tapioca flour, but you could try these using your favourite gluten free flour blend.
If you don't need the brandy snaps to be gluten free, replace the brown rice flour and tapioca flour with 100g of plain flour.
Recipe adapted from Mary Berry's brandy snap recipe
That is Christmas for me, right there ^ .
Happy New Year everyone!
PS: Want another festive sweet? Try my Festive Almond and Honey Nougat.