Since being in lockdown, the budget for snacks in our house has been totally blown out of the water. Generally, we don't have biscuits apart from the odd pack of ginger nuts. But since we've all been home, it's become apparent that certain members of the household clearly procure additional snacks when they are usually away from home.
Week one saw the ginger nuts run out by day two. Then the leftover amaretti biscuits from the wedding and the secret packet of mini jaffa cakes disappeared without trace. A trip to a large supermarket saw me score a family size packet of value custard creams. Clearly the term family means one person as this didn't last seven days either.
So this week when I was lucky enough to secure a couple of bags of flour without having to resort to the Dark Web, I took the opportunity to whip up a batch of my all time favourite biscuits.
Whilst they were generally well received, it then sparked a debate as to whether they really are biscuits. Apparently a biscuit needs to be dunkable. Hence hubby's preference for a ginger nut which are the perfect size for popping in to a cup of tea. Whereas a Viennese Whirl cannot be dunked at all due to the proportions and the filling. Therefore, it's not a biscuit, it's a snack or dessert.
My love for a Viennese Whirl is rooted in my childhood. They were something my mum baked when we we had "posh" visitors - she'd pipe them into fingers and dip the ends in dark chocolate. Posh visitors generally meant my grandparents friends who lived near Oxford. As an adult, I've now realised that it was more likely that the ingredients were in short supply due to finances rather than the biscuits being posh. Or it could be that they are just a bit rich and indulgent and shouldn't be eaten too often.
If you want something a little less rich, the individual biscuits without filling are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee mid-morning (not that I'm doing exactly that as I type!)
So without further ado, here is my take on the recipe; updated from the original recipe I published on my old blog in 2012
250g Plain flour
60g Icing sugar
250g soft, unsalted butter at room temp.
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
For the filling:
250g icing sugar
125g soft unsalted butter
1 tbsp cooled, boiled water
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
jam of choice
For the biscuits: Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and mix together until pale and fluffy. Mix in the vanilla
Sift the flour, salt and cornflour, add to the butter mixture and mix well until smooth.
Spoon the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
Pipe circles of the mixture onto a baking paper lined baking tray. Pipe a circle of about 3-3.5cm diameter finishing in the centre and lifting the nozzle to form a small peak. Place each swirl at least an inch apart. You should get about 30 biscuits from the mixture at this size.
Place the trays of biscuits in the freezer for 15-20 mins. This will help them hold their shape when baked.
Preheat the oven to 200c/180c Fan
Bake the biscuits for about 12 minutes until pale golden and turning very slightly brown at the edges.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Be gentle with them.
For the filling: Beat the butter, vanilla bean paste and icing sugar together until it resembles sand. Slowly pour in just enough water until the mixture begins to combine into a smooth paste.
Beat until light and fluffy then put into a piping bag and use to sandwich the biscuits together with a dab of jam.