Viennese Whirls

Viennese Whirls are a delightful and elegant type of biscuit, originating from the UK but inspired by traditional Viennese baking. Imagine a light, buttery, and crumbly texture that melts in your mouth, a defining characteristic of these biscuits. They are made from a very soft, piped dough that includes a generous amount of butter, which gives them their distinctive rich flavor and tender texture.

The process of making Viennese Whirls begins with creaming together butter and sugar until the mixture is pale and fluffy, ensuring that air is incorporated to give the biscuits their lightness. Vanilla extract is often added for a subtle, sweet aroma. Flour is then sifted in, along with a touch of cornstarch, which contributes to the melt-in-the-mouth texture.

The dough’s consistency is key; it’s soft enough to be piped through a piping bag but holds its shape when baked. The biscuits are traditionally piped in a swirled or rosette shape, giving them an elegant appearance that resembles the fine pastries of Vienna. They are baked until they are just firm and lightly golden, retaining their pale, delicate color.

Once baked and cooled, the real magic happens in assembling these treats. Two biscuits are sandwiched together with a filling, typically a buttercream and sometimes a layer of jam – raspberry or strawberry being popular choices. The buttercream is smooth and sweet, complementing the lightness of the biscuits, while the jam adds a fruity, slightly tart contrast.

The final touch to Viennese Whirls is often a light dusting of powdered sugar, adding an extra sweet note and enhancing their visual appeal. The result is a biscuit that is both visually stunning and delicious, with a balance of flavors and textures – the rich, buttery biscuit, creamy filling, and the optional fruity sharpness of the jam.

Viennese Whirls are often associated with special occasions or enjoyed as an elegant treat with a cup of tea. Their delicate texture and refined appearance make them a favorite for those who appreciate the art of fine baking, embodying a perfect blend of British baking techniques and Viennese inspiration.

Ingredients:

For the Biscuits:

  1. 250g unsalted butter, softened
  2. 50g powdered sugar, sifted
  3. 250g all-purpose flour
  4. 50g cornstarch
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Filling:

  1. 100g unsalted butter, softened
  2. 200g powdered sugar, sifted
  3. ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  4. Raspberry or strawberry jam (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Start by preheating your oven to 190°C (375°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Make the Biscuit Dough: In a large mixing bowl, beat the softened butter and 50g of powdered sugar until pale and fluffy. This process incorporates air and contributes to the light texture of the biscuits. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
  3. Combine Dry Ingredients: Sift together the all-purpose flour and cornstarch. Gradually add this to the butter mixture, beating until well combined. The dough should be soft enough to be piped but firm enough to hold its shape.
  4. Pipe the Biscuits: Fit a piping bag with a star nozzle and fill it with the biscuit dough. Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheets in swirls or rosettes, leaving space between each one as they will spread slightly while baking.
  5. Bake the Biscuits: Bake in the preheated oven for 13-15 minutes or until they are just firm and lightly golden. They should remain quite pale. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Prepare the Filling: While the biscuits are cooling, prepare the buttercream filling. Beat together 100g butter, 200g powdered sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth and creamy.
  7. Assemble the Whirls: Once the biscuits are completely cool, spread a small amount of buttercream on the flat side of one biscuit. If using jam, add a dollop on top of the buttercream. Sandwich with another biscuit, pressing gently.
  8. Finishing Touches: Dust the assembled Viennese Whirls with a little more powdered sugar for a classic, elegant finish.
  9. Serve and Enjoy: Serve these delicate biscuits with tea or coffee. They are perfect for special occasions or as a luxurious treat.

Remember, the key to perfect Viennese Whirls is in the texture – they should be light, buttery, and melt in the mouth. Happy baking!

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