Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Viennese Fingers

Today I came home with the desperate desire to bake.  I've been working at the primary school this week, helping prepare for a show tomorrow.  It's been a bit stressful for all involved.  I knew I wanted to make crispy cakes, and I did, but they were not enough to relax me entirely.  I am craving iced buns but thought they'd take too long.  They would also have to be eaten the same day and I was wanting something I could perhaps take for my lunch.  After looking at what ingredients we had to hand, I settled on a favourite: Viennese fingers.  This has become one of the things people love me to bake.  They always go down well and never last long.  They're also fairly simple, especially since I've now acquired a decent sized piping nozzle.

This recipe was one I found on another blog, called Cooking at Marystow, which sadly does not exist any more.  At least as far as I know.  It's not at the blog location anyway.  It is apparently a Mary Berry recipe but I have her Baking Bible and the recipe in there is different.  I also added vanilla essence to it, since I like adding vanilla to things.

The number I end up with varies every time I do it.  Usually somewhere between 16 and 24.
  • 175g/6oz butter
  • 60g/2oz caster sugar
  •  175g/6oz self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 90g/3oz milk or dark chocolate 

  1. Prepare two or three baking trays, either by greasing or laying down grease-proof paper.
  2. Preheat the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3. 
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy.  Takes 5-10 minutes of stirring.
  4. Add the vanilla and mix in.
  5. Sift in the flour and stir until well combined.
  6. Using a piping bag and a medium star nozzle, pipe the biscuit dough onto the prepared trays.  Biscuits are usually about 10cm long and made up of 2 or 3 lines, depending on how big you want them and how many.  Fewer lines per biscuit means more biscuits in total.  Space them a reasonable distance apart because they do get a bit bigger when cooking.  You can use a smaller nozzle if you want, you just have to pipe more lines per biscuit.  I usually did about 5, layering 2 lines on top of 3 to make them thicker.
  7. Bake the biscuits for about 20 minutes.  Watch them near the end to stop them catching.  They should be a nice goldy colour.  They will be soft to the touch so don't press them too hard.
  8. Remove from oven and leave to cool on the trays for about 15 minutes, giving them time to firm up before moving them to cooling racks to finish cooling.
  9. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Don't let the bowl touch the water.
  10. Carefully dip the ends of the biscuits in the chocolate.  Be gentle because these biscuits are very fragile. (This was the first batch I've made where I've not broken any).
  11. Leave to set on the cooling racks.  Once set, be careful removing from the racks as some of the ends may have stuck and the biscuit will snap if you pull too hard. 

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