This was my first time baking viennese whirls biscuits, as you can see we have a ‘big mama’ biscuit with 2 babies…. soon to be 3!
Yes you guessed right or already know from my post on Cafe Muslimah I’m pregnant Alhamdulillah
These biscuits remind me of my pre teen and teenage years living with my grandparents. They would always stick by the old traditions of elevenses and afternoon tea, mr kipling cakes / biscuits would always be featured in at least one of those sittings.
A little wiki bird told me
Traditionally, loose tea is brewed in a teapot and served with milk and sugar. The sugar and caffeine of the concoction provided fortification against afternoon doldrums for the working poor of 19th and early 20th century England who had a significantly lower calorie count and more physically demanding occupation than most Westerners today. For laborers, the tea was sometimes accompanied by a small sandwich or baked snack (such as scones) that had been packed for them in the morning. For the more privileged, afternoon tea was accompanied by luxury ingredient sandwiches (customarily cucumber, egg and cress, fish paste, ham, and smoked salmon), scones (with clotted cream and jam, see cream tea) and usually cakes and pastries (such as Battenberg cake, fruit cake or Victoria sponge). In hotels and tea shops the food is often served on a tiered stand; there may be no sandwiches, but bread or scones with butter or margarine and optional jam or other spread, or toast, muffins or crumpets.
Nowadays, a formal afternoon tea is usually taken as a treat in a hotel or tea shop. In everyday life, many Britons take a much simpler refreshment consisting of tea (and occasionally biscuits) as one of many short tea breaks throughout the day.
Viennese whirls are one of my favourite biscuits that would often make an appearance at the table accompanied by a cup of Yorkshire tea that had been brewed in one of the many tea pots, my grandmother had collected over the years.
Viennese whirls are rich, buttery, vanilla flavoured piped shortbreads sandwiched together using a layer of jam (usually raspberry but in this case apricot) and vanilla buttercream (normally piped but I spooned it on)
I am satisfied with the flavour and texture of these biscuits 100% but i messed up on the sizes of my whirls and didn’t have the right star shaped nozzle for this type of biscuits, the big mama biscuit is piped into a large swirl that was too high using a large closed star nozzle and the baby biscuits are piped into something that resembles roses using my 1M wilton tip.
Looking back now maybe i should have used my open star piping nozzle but as the recipe i used didn’t specify open/closed just ‘large star nozzle’, i went with closed, whooops on the whirls but alhamduillah/All praise be to God, they look OK and are going down well with my family.
Improvements to be made next time, in sha Allah
- Marking out circles of 6cm diameter on the underside of my baking paper before piping
- Use a large open star nozzle
- Remember not to pipe high like you would on top of a cupcake
I must warn you, you have to have the strength in your arms for piping this dough because it is difficult, you have to use a lot of pressure as the dough is quite stiff just to get it to come out of the nozzle so you can imagine how hard it is to continue with the pressure whilst swirling!
In total i made 15 biscuits, 9 big mamas and 6 babies which meant i got 7 sandwiched biscuits and 1 leftover with no guessing who got to test taste first. Really though you should be able to get at least 32 according to the hairy bikers and to click here for their original recipe and adorable pictures, that’s how a real Viennese whirl should look!
- 250 grams butter / margarine, softened
- 50 grams icing sugar, plus extra to decorate
- 250 grams plain flour
- 50 grams cornflour
- ½ vanilla pod, seeds only
- 100 grams butter / margarine, softened
- 200 grams icing sugar plus ½ tsp for dusting
- ½ vanilla pod, seeds only
- 75 grams / approximately 4 tbsp jam
- Dash of milk to bring the filling to the right consistency *if necessary
- Preheat the oven to 190C/fan oven 170C/Gas 5.
- Line a baking sheet with baking parchment (on the underside using a pencil and 6cm diameter cookie cuter or bottom of glass mark out mark out circles as a guide for piping) Put the butter, icing sugar, plain flour, cornflour and vanilla extract in a food processor and blitz until smooth.You may need to remove the lid and push the mixture down a couple of times using a rubber spatula (Alternatively, put in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until smooth.) OR bring the whole thing together in a bowl using a butter knife and then your hands to bring the dough together.
- Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Pipe rosettes of the dough using your pencil outlines to guide you, each should be a diameter of roughly 6cm – slightly smaller than a digestive biscuit onto the baking sheet, spacing well apart. Press down with the piping bag to get a good shape.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 13-15 minutes or until pale golden brown and firm. Cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to allow to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough to make 32-36 biscuits.
- To make the filling, put the butter in a bowl and sift the icing sugar on top. Add the vanilla and beat with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk until very light and smooth. Spoon into a clean piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle or leave it in the bowl if you want to spoon it on like i did.
- Put the jam in a bowl and stir until smooth.
- Spoon a little jam onto the flat side of 16 of the biscuits and place jam-side up on the cooling rack.
- Pipe or spoon the butter cream icing onto the remaining biscuits and sandwich with the jam. Put on a serving plate and dust with sifted icing sugar. Serve.