Oh, Snap!

These beauties were paired with the rhubarb fool and make a most excellent spoon for scooping up the cream and jam. Brandy snaps are another popular British sweet that doesn’t appear very often on American menus. They’re lovely and often filled with a cream, like tiny delicate cannoli.

Last night Bryan and I had dinner at Hot Chocolate, one of the restaurants I recommend eating at in Chicago. The place has been getting a lot of press lately with Mindy Segal’s long-overdue James Beard win (for best pastry chef) and the Time Out story about her closing and reopening of the restaurant, and her personal struggles. The changes to the restaurant were almost imperceptible to me (paint, and some new furniture) and while the menu was slightly updated, it all felt very familiar. Those expecting any substantial changes will be disappointed, but sometimes familiar is nice and the food is as good as ever.

To the point—I chose to participate in their “study”, which is what they are now calling their seasonal composed dessert that focuses on a single ingredient. This month, the ingredient is rhubarb and the plate was impressive. It was an interesting way of exploring a flavor and I found it inspiring. The standouts were the tiny rhubarb and pistachio tart and the warm rice pudding.

Everyone is thinking about rhubarb.

But back to the snaps for a moment. This recipe is pretty standard, with the addition of some pistachios. It is a cookie that I find to be a delicious accompaniment to something else like, ice cream, whipped cream, or a fool. They are simple enough to make and even the forming of them isn’t so bad, it just requires a little patience. The cookies are very delicate, so handle with care. And store them in an airtight container, they don’t like humidity (either do I!).

Brandy Snaps (from A Girl and Her Pig by April Bloomfield)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped salted and roasted pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons brandy

Combine the sugar, butter, syrup, orange zest, spices and salt in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then immediately remove from the heat. Whisk in the flour and pistachios. Stir in the brandy. The batter will be as thick as peanut butter (the thin, natural kind). Let it cool.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment. You’ll need to bake the cookies in several batches. Do not bake more than one sheet at a time if you plan on forming them into tubes, you wont be able to work quickly enough.

Spoon on 1/2 tablespoon of the batter for each cookie, leaving a few inches between them— the batter will spread a lot. You should get 6 cookies per sheet. Bake until the cookies are deep golden brown, about 12 minutes. Llet them cool for a minute or two. Use a small thin spatula to gently lift the edges of the cookie and loosen them from the pan. If you want to form tubes, carefully wrap the still warm and pliable cookie around the handle of a wooden spoon to form shape. Allow it to cool for a few seconds before sliding off and repeating. If the cookies start to harden before you have shaped them all, return the pan to the hot oven for 30 seconds to soften.

***In my opinion, there is no a great substitute for Lyle’s, its flavor is pretty unique. If you want to experiment with molasses/corn syrup or honey, let us know how they turn out!

19 comments to “Oh, Snap!”

  1. Those look lovely. I love April Bloomfield and have been meaning to check out this new cookbook of hers!

  2. beautiful! Great tip about putting the pan back in the oven to soften the unrolled cookies. I tried making a Martha Stewart version of these years ago and it made me crazy because I couldn’t roll the cookies quick enough.

  3. I, certainly, am among those thinking about rhubarb… But what a lovely accompaniment! Cheers to you for posting something related but not the same. And perfect title! :)

  4. So funny seeing you using Tate & Lyle’s golden syrup! I have just bought a very cool tin for the Diamond Jubilee which you should try & take a look at. Of course I happen to be growing rhubarb on my allotment so the more recipes I can bookmark, the better!

  5. Love brandy snaps! The texture combination does add intrigue to the dessert, indeed.

  6. These look fantastic! I wonder if a strawberry whipped cream would go well in these. Hmm :-)

  7. My oh my, doesn’t this look good! Makes me want to dive right in.

  8. I haven’t made Brandy Snaps in years just because I tend to forget about them. Pistachios and brandy sound like a great addition.

  9. These remind me of making those famous little Thomas Keller cones for tartar. Which reminds me of burning the bejesus out of my fingers rolling them. They look pleasantly fancy and perfect for an ice cream making addict such as myself! Oh, ps. <<< total fan girl of yours

  10. I just can’t get past those delicate yet crispy looking brandy snaps…I am thinking of all the desserts they would go perfectly with!

  11. I agree with you about Lyle’s Golden Syrup. It is so unique and special…and I love the odd illustration of the lion and the bees on the label! I was out of lyle’s though, so I made these with Sorghum syrup, which is like Lyle’s less polished country cousin, and they were wonderful! I also made them with a mix of gluten free flours and it worked well, although gluten free flour can never quite absorb as much butter as wheat flour. I also made the rhubarb fool and the combination of flavours was just so clever! Thank you so much for your wonderful recipes!

  12. I am crazy about rhubarb! I actually just posted my Sticky-Sweet Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake on Edible Living today.

    These brandy snaps are so great, love the idea of this pairing.

    xo Sarah

    P.S. love the title!

  13. This is my favorite kind of dessert. Such a great thing to have in your repertoire to whip out for company! (Or for yourself. That’s cool too.)

  14. My aunt makes these every year for Xmas. She lives in England, of course! The first time I had one the cream filling went flying out of the end straight into my cousin’s face, like a puff of smoke or a lovely creamy cloud. It was whimsical and comedic. A great dessert.

  15. I live in the U.S. now, but I grew up in New Zealand, where brandy snaps are a ‘normal’ dessert, and I completely forgot about them until you posted this! Thank you!! I remember them being one of my favorites, and we only had them during the holidays :)

  16. These look so delicate and fancy. They would dress up just about any dessert.

  17. I made these and they were so very tasty! I had them with Strawberry Fruit Fool which is here:


    The recipe turned out well, though I noticed that re-using a warm baking sheet from batch to batch made the cookies spread much more uncontrollably and took two to thee minutes off the baking time.

    I loved them though!

  18. They’re absolutely beautiful. I can hear the crunch from here!

  19. Whoa. So pretty!

What do you think?