A platter of Viennese whirls

Indulging Viennese whirls and more

[su_spacer]

While the spritz and the whirls are pretty much available accross the world under different names and different shapes, the Viennese whirls are a big deal here in the UK.

They’re just amazing. Here is why:

Reason N 1: there is a spritz dough involved, so there is butter, healthy or not, but makes things taste good (ask the French)..

Reason N 2: it has jam in between,

Reason N 3: it has cream (not my thing unless it’s a fine layer, which just brings all these textures together heavenly.

Reason N 4: you can dip half of these sandwiched biscuits in chocolate.

Each reason I presented above is a world of texture and the Viennese whirls put them all together in one bite, a pure indulgence.

I followed the Hairy Biker’s recipe to make them and with a bit of frustration in the beginning and a trick learned on the way, I think that the recipe is a keeper.

Ingredients
Makes minimum 35 biscuits
Prep: 15 min + 15 min / Baking: 12-13 min

For the biscuits

  • 250g very soft butter
  • 50g icing sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract (I used the beans)
  • 50g of cornflour
  • 250g of flour

For the filling

  • Raspberry jam
  • 100g soft butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

 

Preparation

Before you get started, I would like to share with you a couple of things you need to know so this biscuit making experience does not turn into a nightmare especially if your wrist is not so strong..

1. You need a good robust piping bag and not those soft plastic ones because you will be handling a sort of soft dough and not a batter.

2. If you are making these when it’s cold, you might want to “massage the dough” inside the piping back or just place the bowl with the dough inside on the top of a bain-marie (just to soften it). This way, your piping experience will be “happier”.

The rosettes

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Line 2 baking sheets with baking paper.

In a food processor, blend all ingredients until you get a smooth dough. Use the spatula to scrap the corner and process again.

Fill a medium-size piping bag to 2/3, fitted with a large star nozzle unless you want to make small ones.

Pipe rosettes of the dough and keep space between each one.

Bake for 13 min or until pale golden brown and firm to the touch.

Cool on a baking sheet for a couple of minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool before filling them.

The buttercream

Beat the sifted icingsugar, the soft butter and the vanilla beans/extract until combined and set aside.

Assembly

Spoon a little bit of jam into the bottom/flat side of one rosette. Pipe the buttercream and assemble with another rosette to make the sandwiched Viennese whirl.

You could dip half of the biscuits in melted chocolate and let to set or just dust them with icing sugar before serving but I left them plain.

Use the same dough to make these if you want an simpler biscuit..

I brushed the bottom part of some biscuits with dark chocolate from the bottom side and then I added chocolate vermicelli.

The Viennese whirls keep up to a week but unfilled, you might get more days..


A stack of EARL Gray shortbreads

Earl Grey and lemon shortbreads, very very addictive and eggless

[su_spacer]
I think this blog has more sweet recipes than anything else, and I still have plenty of recipes which I didn’t have time to post.
No matter how many biscuit recipes you have one more is always a good thing.
Consider the sablés dough, which is a shortbread variety, well, there is an infinite number of ideas to present it. However, most of the time, it requires cookie cutters or cookie press.

 

 

But the way how these shortbreads are made is just as easy as it can get as you will see later on..Oh and they get better the next day; It just seems that the tea leaves infuses better.

I added lemon zest because earl grey and lemon are one of those combinations which just seem to work.

 

So, mix, roll, freeze, cut, bake…how easy is that?

 

Ingredients
Recipe adapted from here
Makes + 24 shortbreads
Prep: 5 min/ Rest: 30 hour/ Baking: 13 min
  • 240g of flour
  • 20g of ground almonds (almond flour, optional)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 200 g of butter
  • 100 g fine sugar (original recipe calls for 150g)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla beans
  • 2 tbps of loose Earl Grey tea leaves
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 3 tbps of fine semolina (not the superfine one) for rolling
Preparation

In a food processor, blend the flour with the tea leaves until you see black little spots looking like vanilla beans.

Add the other ingredients except the semolina and give a few pulses until they’re all combined or almost there.

Give the last mix with the palm of your hand against the worktop just to make sure that everything is really combined.

Divide the dough into 2 and place each part on a sheet of plastic wrap/cling film and roll into a log about 2 to 3 cm in diameter. Set them aside while you sprinkle the semolina over the plastic wrap. Roll them again over it.

Wrap and freeze for 30 min or until firm.

Preheat the oven between 170 and 180 C.

Slice the log into 4 mm to 6 mm thick discs. Place on baking sheets covered with baking paper, with a space between the disks.

Bake for 12 min approx until the edges are brown.

Once out of the oven, wait 5 min before you fiddle with the biscuits. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
These biscuits are just amazing eaten the next day with a cup of tea…

The biscuits keep well for 1 week. The dough freezes well for months.

The biscuits can also be dusted with icing sugar before serving them.

Note:  using ground almond in the dough and then rolling it in semolina give an extra crunch..but it’s totally optional..

[su_spacer]


A plate of pressed Moroccan aniseed biscuits

Aniseed pressed biscuits – Bechkitou be nafa’ – Spritz

[su_spacer]

Aniseed pressed biscuits are yummy little things dating from my childhood. But while living in Germany I discovered that they’re a big deal especially during this season.

They’re commonly called Spritz and are quite famous in France, Germany and Austria, not to mention the many countries who have adopted them, for a good reason: they’re buttery, they just need a few ingredients (the usual available stuff), not expensive to make. I mean, it’s just the perfect biscuit with a hot drink (or cold milk for children).

I’m keeping the decoration simple, just as I remember them when I was a child

Spritz biscuits come in different shapes. Most of them are shaped using a cookie-press or a meat grinder fitted with special nozzles. In case you have none, a piping bag fitted with the right tip will do (usually a star tip).

If you don’t like the anise flavour, use vanilla or lemon zest..

 

Ingredients
Makes 50 ish
Prep: 30 min –  Baking: 12- 15 min

  • 180g butter, at room temperature
  • 80g icing sugar 
  • 1 pinch of salt 
  • 1 heaped tsp of anise, toasted and coarsly ground (just to intensify the flavour)
  • 1 egg 
  •  230g of flour, sifted

 

I left some anise seeds in..I like it that way

 

Preparation
Place the butter in the bowl of a mixer and beat until creamy. Add sugar, salt and egg. Mix until all ingredients are combined then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix again at low speed until the flour is fully incorporated.
 
Preheat oven at 180 ° C and cover the baking sheets with baking paper.
Pass the dough through the press to shape the biscuits. Press them directly onto the baking sheets. Leave about 5 cm between each biscuits as they tend to spread a bit. 
I sprinkled these with those tiny candies
Bake for 12 to 15 min until golden from the edges.
Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.
Store in a cookie box for up to a week.
The humble biscuits..yet very satisfying..

Almond jammy sticks

Almond jammy shortbreads

[su_spacer]

I know you know how to make biscuits..I’m just going to share with you a variation of a shortbread dough or as we call them “sablés”..

I happen to love anything “sablé” and the dough can be shaped and presented in so many ways..

Use any jam you like..

Ingredients
Makes about 25
Prep: 40 min- baking: 12-15 min

  • 200 g flour
  • 100 g of butter in cubes (not too soft but not hard either)
  •  100g of fine caster sugar
  • 2/3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp of vanilla sugar or 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 egg

Finishing

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp of caster sugar (or vanilla sugar)
  • 70g flaked almonds
  • 4 tbps of raspberry jam (I used raspberry jam, strawberry jam, orange and ginger jam)
  • 100 g of white chocolate (dark will also work)

 

Preparation

Cream the butter with sugar. Add the egg, mix.

Fold in the other dry ingredients. Form a ball and then flatten it to form an “abaisse”. Cover with a cling film and transfer to the freezer for 15 min or the fridge for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven at 170 C.

Roll the dough between 2 sheets of baking paper. Cut rectangular shapes of dough of the same size. 

Egg wash them and then sprinkle the flaked almond. Sprinkle with sugar.

If you work in a relatively cold kitchen you can bake them straight away for 12 min until nicely golden.

If you work in a warm kitchen, you may want to place these biscuits in the freezer for 5 min before baking them (this steps helps the biscuits with butter to keep their neat initial shape).

Once baked, transfer to a wire rack and let cool. In the meantime, you could melt the chocolate in a bain-marie.

Assembly

Sandwich 2 biscuits with jam and dip the 2 ends (or just one) in melted chocolate.


Place the dipped biscuits onto a baking paper until they the chocolate sets. 


Transfer to a cookie box. 


These biscuits keep well for at least a week..I have a tendency to keep these biscuits in the freezer and I just thaw them 15 min before eating them..I also like that texture after they’ve been thawed, along with the cold jam…Yummy.

[su_spacer]