I have a theory that baking can be influenced by attitude. It may sound like nonsense and it probably is, but anytime I have started baking or cooking in a bad mood things seem to go from bad to worse. Exhibit A – the Cornish pasty, I was grumpy and you saw those soggy bottoms. Exhibit B – a now infamous dinner my husband and I refer to as the hate nachos. While making nachos we got into a big fight and we had to sullenly choke down some burnt chips for dinner. Exhibit C – Brandy Snaps.
I don’t limit the phenomenon to mood alone. I also credit multi-tasking and dish disrespect for my baking failures. These Brandy Snaps were a perfect storm. Let me set the scene, after work last Tuesday I was in peak hangry mode and thought a whole bbq chicken would be the perfect thing to make for dinner. Why on earth would a meal that takes 90 minutes be a good idea? It wasn’t. So hungry and grumpy with 90 minutes to kill I started my Brandy Snaps.
Now comes the multi-tasking. Instead of setting out my ingredients and carefully measuring everything I dove in while simultaneously trying to unload the dishwasher, and occasionally thinking I should be checking the chicken. I threw some cream into the mixer and dumped things into a pot. I say things because I made some concoction of corn syrup and molasses to replace the golden syrup, I was a little heavy handed with the molasses. I hope the sugary cocktail I created was nowhere near what golden syrup was supposed to be because it was not nice.
I added the mixture to the pot with butter and everything else. Thankfully dinner was ready a little while later so I delayed the rest of the bake until I had eaten. Unfortunately, the food didn’t make the rest of the process any easier.
Heating all the sugar, butter and sugary syrup business together went pretty well. I forced myself to stay focused and watch the pot like a hawk. As I’ve mentioned I can get a little distracted and then things burn, boil over or generally go terribly wrong. But I made sure to stay on top of this sugar soup. It was hard to tell when it was done since the only instructions were to listen for the dissappearance of sugar crystals. Hmmm alright. So I scraped the bottom of the pan and listened….
When I was satisfied my crystals were gone and the whole thing threatened to boil I pulled it off the heat. the next part was easy, mix the dry ingredients into the sugar syrup. No problem.
That done I had a batter that smelled overwhelmingly like molasses. Again I was reminded of my recipe disrespect demerit. Why didn’t I just buy the golden syrup? I saw it in the store, I knew I needed it but I thought I could save $4. When will I learn?
I got a little anxious about the batter cooling and hardening so I kind of rushed getting it into the oven. I should note that there is never any mention of the batter hardening nor did it happen when it took me forever to make these things. Apparently, I am capable of inventing things to get worked up about without any help form others….oh wait that happens to me every day!
The first batch I baked for the allotted 10 minutes. The whole time these were in the over I watched as the changed from golden to black. But I did not want to be one of those people that thought they knew better than Mary Berry so I waited the full 10 minutes. Those snaps were BURNT.
I managed to roll the first three. But by the time I got to number four this happened…
Ok, so lesson learned I would take the next batch out of the oven as soon as they were golden. Great except this time I had managed to make one long Brandy Snap train.
I would not be defeated. I put more in the oven, took them out after a scant 6 minutes and rolled my perfect snaps.
Just kidding. They were terrible. I did my best to pull it back from the edge of failure by piping whipped cream into my blackened first batch of burnt snaps.
And, if you didn’t taste them those three snaps were a success. Except one bite was all it took to taste the telltale bitterness of burnt sugar. And no amount of whipped cream could save them.
So whether it was because I was a hangry mess to start, tried to do too many things or blurred the lines when it came to the ingredients that caused my snaps to fail I’ll never know. But one thing is for sure, I enjoyed lots of whipped cream that night.