What Are Brandy Snaps?

Kyla Chele Cambrooke

Brandy snaps are sweet, crisp cookies or biscuits that are in the shape of cylinders and are filled with one of various types of creams, such as butter cream, orange cream or whipped cream. The outside of the cookie appears brittle and has a lacy or holey texture. It is about 4 inches (about 10 cm) long and almost 1 inch (about 2 cm) in diameter. Brandy snaps are frequently eaten in the Untied Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia as snacks or desserts.

Brandy snaps cookies may or may not be made using actual brandy.
Brandy snaps cookies may or may not be made using actual brandy.

A brandy snap's ingredients typically include butter, molasses, sugar, flour and ginger. Other ingredients, such as salt, also might be included. Some recipes suggest adding brandy, but this is not a requirement, despite the cookies' name.

Chocolate may be used to make brandy snaps.
Chocolate may be used to make brandy snaps.

The ingredients are mixed together in a frying pan in the shape of a pancake. The cook places the mixture in the oven to bake. While it is still hot, the biscuit or cookie is wrapped the around the handle of a wooden or stainless steel cooking spoon to give it a cylindrical shape.

Fillings vary depending on the cook’s preference and usually consist of heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and a bit of brandy for taste. Some recipes add other sweet treats, such as finely chopped chocolate chips or graham crackers. Adding the filling usually is the last step.

Another version of these sweet biscuits is the brandy basket. It essentially is the same as a regular brandy snap but is in the shape of a cup rather than a tubular shape. Draping the hot baked biscuit over a small cylindrical object gives this desert its cup shape. Whipped cream or butter cream can be used as fillings. A brandy basket also works well for holding ice cream topped with berries.

Brandy snaps are derived from the French gaufres, or wafers, from the 14th century. In addition, the first colonists introduced this tasty sticky desert to America. Brandy snaps often were purchased at fairs in Britain, especially the Herefordshire Fair in the 1900s. During that time, these cookies came in an array of shapes and sizes. Some brandy snaps even included treacle or honey.

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