I really want to bake these biscuits and so I suggested the theme, Viennese Shortbread for our bake along with Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Lena from Frozen wings.
Viennese biscuits? These feather-light but buttery kind are typically made with soft buttery kind of cookie dough that is piped into whirls or fingers. While browsing for more Viennese biscuits recipes for my references, I have noticed that most recipes do not contain eggs at here, here, here and here. However, some recipes suggest the addition of eggs and egg yolk at here and here as it helps to hold the shapes of the biscuits after baking. To stabilize the structure of biscuits further, some at here and here even suggest the addition of egg white.
Soft buttery kind of cookie dough that is piped into whirls or fingers??? I can't help to associate these Viennese biscuits with the Donna Hay's melting moments that I have baked before. When I had a closer look at both Donna Hay's melting moments and Love and Sugar's Viennese biscuits recipes and noticed that the proportion of flour to butter of both recipes are about the same!!! Interestingly, both recipes do not contain eggs to stabilize the structure of the biscuits and this explained why my Donna Hay's melting moments lost their shapes really really really badly after baking them.
Lesson learnt... but I'm giving up baking the recipe from Love and Sugar because I know that these biscuits are going to feathery light and melting in my mouth too, just like the Donna Hay's melting moments. After researching further, I have managed to bake these Viennese biscuits successfully with these great tips...
|A beautiful afternoon tea classic, Viennese Biscuits|
Tip One: Do not use an electric mixer to mix the cookie dough!
Yes that you don't need a powerful Kenwood or a fanciful Kitchen Aid electric mixer to bake these cookies as over-beating the butter will cause the air pockets in the fluffy batter to expand too much and destroy the shapes of the cookies during baking. For this reason, all you need is a mixing spoon!
|Sorry, my sexy KA... I'm not using you today.|
Tip Two: The butter has to be very soft!
Try not to bake these biscuits on a freezing day! If you really have to bake these biscuits on a cold day, wrap a warm towel around a bowl of grated butter... this will guarantee creamy and soft butter in less than 15 mins :)
|Yeah... This is the kind of soft butter that I'm talking about.|
|Next, beat in the vanilla paste or extract.|
Tip Three: Use less but not completely no baking powder!
As you know, the addition of baking powder creates small air pockets in these biscuits for a feather-light texture but too much baking powder can cause them to look ugly being overly puffy. Instead of adding pinches of baking powder as suggested by the original recipe, I have added 1/8 tsp and the amount is still ok. Yeah... You can add pinches of small teaspoonful of baking powder but remember not to add too much!!!
|Mix, mix, mix...|
|You can use either a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle or a cookie press like this.|
|I have piped my dough into these two shapes.|
|phew!!! They don't look so bad after baking!|
|They should be COOL enough to be dunk into the melted chocolate.|
|Mum, can I have one of these?|
|Hands off!!! Shoo!!! You have to wait for the chocolate to set!!!|
While waiting, I have been hearing this question: Mum, can I have one please? Not just once but repeatedly!!! See... Kids can be naggy!!!
|Now, son... You can enjoy this!|
Me? I need a cuppa to fully enjoy these...
Here's the recipe that is mostly adapted from Love and Sugar and Marie Claire
Makes about 20 - I made 10 whirls and 10 broad wavy ones
For the biscuits:
125g unsalted butter, very softened - very important!!!
25g icing sugar
1/8 tsp baking powder
125g all purpose flour
1/4 tsp vanilla paste or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
50g dark or milk chocolate, preferably the best quality ones like Callebaut dark chocolate callets with 70% cocoa if using the dark chocolate
Preheat oven at 325ºF or 170ºC or 150ºC fan forced.
Place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Using a spoon, beat them until they are well combined. Then, beat in the vanilla.
In another bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Sift the flour mixture into the butter mixture and stir to form a fairly firm dough.
Spoon dough into a piping bag or cookie press fitted with a star nozzle.
Line baking trays with baking papers. Pipe the dough into whirls or wavy fingers, spaced well apart onto the prepared trays. Bake for 13-15 mins until pale golden brown. Allow the biscuits to cool slightly (about 10 mins) on the trays and then transfer them onto the wire rack to cool completely.
To coat the biscuits with chocolate:
Line trays with baking papers. Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl. To melt the chocolate, either place the bowl 1) over a pot of simmering water 2) in a microwave for several pulses of 10 secs in medium power. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted. Dip one side of the biscuits into the melted chocolate and place them onto the baking papers. Allow the chocolate to set before removing them from the baking papers.
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Please note that the linky tool for bake-along is no longer available.