Brandy snaps with cinnamon cream

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
With Christmas just around the corner, here are some festive treats for gifts and entertaining.

Gentle handling will guarantee success with this classic Christmas treat.

The success of a brandy snap is all in the timing. The first is usually a failure and ends up as the cook’s perk. Once out of the oven, leave them on the hot baking tray for 5 minutes or so before attempting to lift them off. Sliding a palette knife under them is the best way to remove them, then carefully wrap the bendy circle around a wooden spoon to make it curl.

Makes 12-15 large brandy snaps

2 Tbsp caster sugar

2 heaped Tbsp golden syrup

60g butter

4 generously heaped Tbsp plain flour

1 level tsp ground ginger

1 tsp brandy

2 heaped Tbsp flaked or shredded almonds

For the filling

100ml cream

200g mascarpone

2 Tbsp caster or icing sugar

vanilla extract

cinnamon

Set the oven at 150°C. Very lightly butter a baking sheet. In a small pan, melt the sugar, golden syrup and butter. As soon as it starts to bubble, remove from the heat and stir in the flour, ground ginger and brandy and scatter in the shredded almonds.

Using a teaspoon, place 6 blobs of the mixture, each about the size of a large walnut half, on the buttered baking sheet. There is no need to flatten them, they will spread naturally in the oven.

Bake them, in two batches, for about 10-12 minutes until they are a rich golden brown. Leave them on the baking sheet for 5 minutes until they are cool enough to roll. Holding the baking sheet with an oven glove and using a palette knife in the other hand, loosen each round from the tray one at a time — they should still be hot. If it tears then leave to set a little longer.

Lift the snaps one at a time using the palette knife and fingers. Wrap each one around the handle of a wooden spoon with your hands, gently pressing each to fit. Work quickly, as they won’t roll once they have completely cooled. Remove each snap once it has set and leave on a cooling rack.

To make the cinnamon filling, whip the cream until thick, but stop while it is still soft enough to fall slowly from the spoon. Stir in the mascarpone and sugar. Add a couple of drops of vanilla extract and a knife-point of cinnamon. Pile the filling into the snaps with a teaspoon. — The Observer

By Nigel Slater