21st May 2012
I decided to set myself a challenge this week and bake 7 different things from the book in 7 days, so this is it ‘Day 1’.
To help me decide I asked my husband, daughter and son to pick a recipe each from the book and these would be the ones I would make first.
My daughter picked Brandy Snaps and as she is home from school at the moment (revising for her AS level exams), she suggested I made these first thing in the morning, so by the time she was up and dressed (which is later than normal with no school!) they would be ready for her to eat. I thought I would crash on and get these done first.
Looking through the recipe, there were only a few ingredients and it all looked fairly easy, so why was I nervous!!
The oven was put on, two baking trays were lined with parchment and a small saucepan taken out of the cupboard, quietly for once as it was on the top, so the dog didn’t think it was fun and games when the pans fall out onto the floor! I then had to oil the handles of four wooden spoons, in order to be able to ‘curl’ the brandy snaps around them once baked. This I think was the part of the recipe that was making me nervous.
Into the pan went the sugar, butter and syrup – it didn’t seem very much, you were meant to make 24 brandy snaps with this!! The mixture was heated gently until the butter had melted and the sugar dissolved. Mary then says to leave the mixture to cool slightly – this is where I think I went wrong, in my haste I left if for probably a couple of minutes – not long enough as I was to find out later.
Into the melted mixture went the sieved flour and ginger, together with a dash of lemon juice. This was mixed together thoroughly.
Next it was a case of placing teaspoons of the mixture onto the trays. Mary says no more than 4 per tray, so I did as I was told and 4 teaspoonfuls were put on each tray. These were then popped into the oven. As soon as they went in, I could see there was going to be a problem. The parchment on the trays started to curl up at the sides and was curling itself on top of the mixture. I had used foil lined parchment and though this would be stiff enough. I took them out of the oven and curled the parchment back the other way. Back into the oven they went and the same thing happened again! Out of the oven again and this time I put some big skewers down the side of each of the trays to hold the parchment in place. This seemed to do the trick! So back into the oven they went for a third time. After 8 minutes I had a look, they looked dreadful, they had spread out, but there were no holes appearing in them and they certainly weren’t the golden colour that Mary said they should be. I left them in for a few minutes longer, they had changed colour but they looked awful. I removed them from the oven, waited a few minutes then lifted them from the tray with a palette knife and curled them round the spoons. I wasn’t happy, they looked awful.
I decided to change the parchment and use greaseproof paper instead. So into the oven went the next batch. Things didn’t look good for these either. Instead of the 8 minutes, they were in the oven for nearly 15 minutes before they started going golden brown. By this time I was getting cross, I don’t like failures – well nobody does – but I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong at this stage. The next batch came out of the oven and I must admit I had a bit of a strop. I banged the trays down on the top of the oven and slammed the oven door shut – the look on my daughter’s face now when I look back was one of shock, but amusement too, she wasn’t sure whether or not to laugh at me. Five minutes later we were laughing, she couldn’t believe that I banged the oven door on my beloved cooker!
Well it just got worse! The brandy snaps were left to cool, but when it came to removing them from the tray I couldn’t get them off, they were stuck solid. The ones I did get off, had a lovely backing of greaseproof paper, so I couldn’t give them to anybody to eat!
That was it, the mixture was going in the bin and I was going to start again!
Second time round, I made the mixture and this time I made sure that the sugar had all dissolved and I left it for ten minutes before I added the flour, ginger and lemon juice.
This time I used the foil backed parchment, but weighed it down at the edges so it wouldn’t curl up. Four teaspoons of the mixture were placed on each of the trays and into the oven they went. They did take a couple of minutes longer than the 8 minutes Mary suggest, but they looked wonderful. They came easily away from the parchment and curled beautifully on the handles of the wooden spoons.
However, we couldn’t eat them as I didn’t have any cream and the little corner shop only had single cream, so we had to wait until the next day for me to buy some double cream, whip it up and fill them.
They were so good that I think they went in 10 minutes, even my son liked them – so much that he ate 5 of them in one go!
Looking back now I can have a good laugh at myself and think how silly I must have looked getting stroppy. As they say, if you don’t succeed at first, try, try again – I did and I think I did succeed in the end!
21st May 2012