You will need:
50g (1¾oz) butter
50g (1¾oz) brown sugar
50g (1¾oz) golden syrup
50g (1¾oz) plain flour
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp lemon juice
75g (2½oz) dark, milk or white
chocolate (optional), roughly chopped
Three baking sheets
One of the things I love about brandy snaps is that, depending on how you shape them, you can use them for so many different things: you can shape them into baskets and fill them with rich chocolate mousse or ice cream; you can make chocolate-dipped cigarettes russes — perfect for sticking into ice-cream; and the classic curved discs are great for adding crunch to creamy desserts such as possets.
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas mark 4. Line the baking sheets with baking parchment, making sure it is completely flat. Put the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat and add the brown sugar and golden syrup. Stir to melt the butter and dissolve the sugar, but don’t allow the mixture to boil.
2 Take the pan off the heat and tip the mixture into a bowl, then leave it to stand for 2 minutes to cool slightly. Sift in the flour, ginger and cinnamon, stir to mix, then add the lemon juice, mixing well.
3 Put heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture on the prepared baking sheets, spaced very well apart, as they’ll spread out to about 12cm (4½in) in diameter. Spread the blobs out slightly using the back of the spoon. Bake for 8-10 minutes until they are deep golden brown and lacy in appearance.
4 Leave the cooked biscuits on the baking sheet for 1-2 minutes — if you try to remove them from the sheet too soon, they will break, but if you wait until they are cool, they will be too firm to mould into a shape.
5 If you want the brandy snaps to be flat, transfer them to a cooling rack after 2 minutes, using a fish slice or palette knife. If you want to mould them into shapes, you need to remove them, carefully, from the tray while warm enough to be malleable but not so hot that they’ll collapse when trying to shape them.
6 To make baskets, put a small jam jar or bowl upside down on your work surface. Take the brandy snap off the tray, then flip it over to sit over the jar or bowl so that the lacy side — the upper side in cooking — will be facing up when the bowl is made. Hold down the sides to mould into shape.
7 To make brandy snap rolls or cigarettes russes, roll the malleable brandy snaps around the handle of a wooden spoon, with the lacy upper side facing out. Gently squeeze it tight to hold it in a roll for a few seconds to set. Transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining brandy snaps.
8 To decorate with chocolate, if using, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water, and stir regularly. Dip the ends of the brandy snaps in the chocolate, or drizzle the chocolate over them, then leave on a wire rack to cool and set.