Inspired by biscuit week in bake-off? Try baking a brandy snap. Celebrity chef Rachel Allen has shared her brandy snap recipe exclusively with HELLO!: "One of the things I love about brandy snaps is that, depending on how you shape them, you can use them for so many different things: you can shape them into baskets and fill them with a rich chocolate mousse or ice cream; you can make chocolate-dipped cigarettes russes – perfect for sticking into ice cream, and the classic curved discs are great for adding crunch to creamy desserts such as possets or mousses."
Makes 10-12, Preparation time 10-15 minutes, plus cooling and moulding/shaping, Cooking time 8-10 minutes
• 50g/2oz butter
• 50g/2oz brown sugar
• 50g/2oz golden syrup
• 50g/2oz plain flour
• ¼ tsp ground ginger
• ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
• 2 tsp lemon juice
• 75g/3oz dark, milk or white chocolate (optional), roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4 and line 3 baking sheets with baking parchment, making sure it is completely flat with no ridges. Put the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the sugar and golden syrup. Stir to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar, but don’t allow the mixture to boil.
2. Take the pan off the heat and tip the mixture into a bowl then leave it to stand for 2 minutes to cool slightly. Sift in the flour, ginger and cinnamon, stir to mix, and then add the lemon juice, mixing well.
3. Put heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture on the prepared baking sheets, spaced very well apart, as they’ll spread out to about 12cm/4½in in diameter. Spread the blobs out slightly using the back of the spoon and then bake for 8-10 minutes until deep golden brown and lacy in appearance.
4. Leave the cooked biscuits on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes – if you try to remove them from the sheet too soon they will break, but if you wait until they are cool they will be too firm to mould into a shape.
5. If you want the brandy snaps to be flat, transfer them after 2 minutes using a fish slice or palette knife, to a cooling rack. If you want to mould them into shapes you need to remove them, carefully, from the tray while warm enough to be malleable but not so hot that they will collapse when trying to shape them.
6. To make baskets, put a small jam jar or bowl upside down on your work surface. Take the brandy snap off the tray, then flip it over to sit over the jar or bowl so that the lacy side – the upper side in cooking – will be facing up when the bowl is made. Hold down the sides to mould into shape.
7. To make brandy snap rolls or cigarettes russes, roll the malleable brandy snaps around the handle of a wooden spoon with the lacy upper side facing out. Gently squeeze it tight to hold it in a roll for a few seconds to set. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining brandy snaps.
8. To decorate with chocolate, if using, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and stirring regularly. Dip the ends of the brandy snaps in the chocolate or drizzle the chocolate over them and then leave on a wire rack to cool and set.