…is actually the same as the taste of success, if you’re making brandy snaps. See, the mixture is easy enough. Cooking them is easy enough. It’s the getting them off the tray with the spatula in one, flat piece that turned out to be my downfall. Aside from all other issues of timing it so that all the biscuits on the tray were wrapped around the cream horns* before they got too hard, I am still clueless as to what I was doing wrong at the start of the batch, what I started to do right somewhere in the middle and why it all mysteriously started to go wrong again. I’m telling you, folks. The Small Cakes section of Ladies, A Plate is my DOWNFALL!
Brandy snaps are a classic kind of treat, a delicate and crisp toffee tube filled with cream. I’m not entirely sure if they are an exclusively New Zealand thing or not – my only indication was that Nicole didn’t know what I was making, but was interested in the photograph. You can buy them commercially made and fill them yourself, and until I got my copy of The Greatest Cookbook Ever I’d never considered making them from scratch. But, as always, curiousity got the better of me. Food porn will do that to a girl…
Here we have three examples of a batch of snaps. You cook only two or three at a time as they spread a long way and you want them to have lots of room on the tray. The problem I encountered was this: if the first one on the tray was perhaps scraped up a little early, making it bunch up a bit, the last one was still scraped up too late, making it less likely to stick unto itself and form a tube (or horn in this case – thank you cream horns!) On the larger plate, from left to right, are the second, third and first to come off the tray. The smaller plate shows attempts from my first two trays of biscuits. Don’t ask me how I managed to make that one on the left. That’s pretty much what we are aiming for.
But although I seemed to have it sussed after a few trays of mishaps, I faltered. I don’t know what went wrong, but the brandy snaps started not coming off the tray again. I still managed to make a a passable effort to shape them, but much of what I did ended up in the bowl of duds. Though, I see now, in amongst those duds are some that would have shaped quite nicely, had I known what I knew later in the batch. Is this post confusing you? It’s confusing me. I really have no idea what happened this afternoon. But it sure tasted good, whatever it was.
* A note on the cream horns: I found these on TradeMe one night and decided I should be allowed to bid on them. My bargain? That since Louis was buying another copy of a Sendak book he already had two of, so I should be allowed to buy something that a) I wanted, b) was awesome and c) would come in handy in my quest to become the queen of domesticity. I doubt Louis would even be able to tell you which book it was that he purchased in his side of the deal, but these cream horns, I promise, will serve our kitchen well. Just as soon as I master this recipe. Long live single-purpose kitchen equipment!