Saturday, 20 September 2008

Viennese Fingers

Phew, it's been a very busy few weeks for me and I'm finally getting round to some baking and of course blogging.

I learnt a few lessons this week, the first being don't bake when you're tired, as you will make mistakes! This happened making Viennese Fingers. They are a buttery, shortbread type biscuit originating've guessed it... Austria. The recipe below is good, but I find that using 4 oz of plain flour instead of 2 oz of flour, 2 oz of cornflour doesn't make any difference and is much easier.

The first results of careless baking were not reading the instructions properly and putting 4oz and not 1 oz of icing sugar in. This was after I'd mixed it with the butter. Subsequently I did the only thing I could, made 3x the mixture to 'even' out the ingredients. Unfortunately (OK fortunately) this meant I make loads of them, and was popular with my friends and family for a while :) The second result was in slightly burning one set while piping out yet another. The taste was only very slightly affected but they didn't look as nice. I made my close family eat these ones.

The recipe is actually very straight forward, but there are a few tricks to making them better. The most important is to use real, full-fat butter. I normally prefer margarine for my arteries sake, but it being such a principal ingrediant here calls for quality. Also, unless you leave the butter out all night until it's very soft, shaping the mixture will be like piping wet sand. A final trick someone told me afterwards was to leave the full piping bag sitting in lukewarm water when not being used, to keep the mixture inside it soft.

Here's my result:

A star shaped nozzle gives a lovely shape, which is held perfectly in the oven. Traditionally these would have one end dipped in chocolate, but the result of lesson number two (check you have all the ingredients before you start) meant I had to leave them as they were. It was no huge detriment, as the flavour and texture really are lovely. Occasionally I have created sandwich style ones using chocolate spread, but personally I think the spread overpowers the biscuit and is a waste.

Next time I think I'll try Viennese Whirls, when I have more time to play with my piping technique. On another slightly random note, I took the picture on the biscuit tin lid simply because I had something in my other hand and couldn't reach the plates, but I quite like the effect :)

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