British Brandy Snaps
British Brandy Snaps are simply delicate, crispy, golden lacy cookies, shaped into tubes and filled with a whipped cream filling. Contrary to the name, the addition of brandy is entirely optional.
Brandy snaps are a cherished Christmas treat in many parts of the world, including Australia and New Zealand, with a particularly strong tradition in the United Kingdom.
Given that this is a quintessential British recipe, there is one ingredient that might require a substitution: golden syrup. If you’re in the U.S., I purchase it from Amazon or Cost Plus World Market. However, if you’re in a location where it’s unavailable, you can use light corn syrup or maple syrup as a substitute.
Brandy Snaps origin
I’m unsure about the origin of the name, especially since there is typically no brandy involved. Nevertheless, mixing brandy into the whipped cream adds a delightful flavor, so I’ve included both options in the recipe card.
These crunchy treats bear a resemblance to Italian cannoli. However, there are a few differences: cannoli tubes are crafted from a mixture of flour, butter and cocoa powder, deep-fried, and the filling is traditionally made with ricotta.
Staying with the Italian theme, Brandy Snap cookies bear a striking resemblance to Italian Florentine Cookies, as they both begin with lace-like cookie bases.
Making lace cookies
Where I don’t think the shells are particularly difficult to make, the first time you make them should be a practice test. This way, once the time comes to make them for serving, you’ll be well practiced.
Making Brandy Snaps – Step by Step
- They start by making the mixture for the crispy lace. Butter, brown sugar, and golden syrup (a British product that can be found in some stores; light corn syrup can be substituted) are heated over medium-low heat in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Do not let the mixture boil.
- Flour and ground ginger is added and when the mixture thickens it is put into circles on a prepared baking tray/sheet lined with parchment paper. Place them about 4-inches (10 cm) apart because they will spread so a large baking sheet/baking tray is best. They are then baked and they until golden brown (which happens very quickly) It was 5 minutes for me so I advise you to watch them as time depends on your oven. See pic below.
- They are removed and allowed to cool for no more than a minute so they can be handled. Any sooner and they will fall apart; any longer and they will be too crispy to roll. I use a fish spatula to lift them off the parchment paper.
- They are then rolled around the handle of a wooden spoon to shape them into tubes. It might take you 1 or 2 tries to get it right, but there’s really no wrong way. Place them seam side down onto a wire rack to harden, which will only take about 2-3 minutes. See pic below.
- Once they are cooled and crispy, it’s time for the cream. The snaps are really good on their own to eat, but I prefer them with the cream. Heavy whipping cream is whipped (use cold cream, it will whip faster), and you can add an optional touch of brandy. Then, fill the tubes with the cream using a piping bag.
Make ahead Brandy Snaps
You can easily prepare the shells and whip the cream a day or 2 ahead of when you need them. To retain the crispiness of the shells, store them separately in an airtight container from the cream. The shells can be stored at room temperature, the cream must be refrigerated.
Storing Brandy Snaps
Store filled brandy snaps in an airtight tin or container for up to 5 days refrigerated.
If you’ve made these Brandy Snaps, leave a comment below. I love to hear from my readers!