According to the Tate & Lyle Golden Cookery Book, circa early 1960’s, I picked up on holiday Golden Syrup is really rather good for you.
Golden Syrup isn’t just one sugar – it’s three: sucrose, glucose and fructose. So it gives you triple-sugar-energy. One reason why Golden Syrup is so good for children is that it stops them getting overtired and fretful. Give your children plenty of Golden Syrup. Give it to them often – The Golden Cookery Book
Can you imagine a child after a daily dose of Golden Syrup particularly after the recommended bedtime snack (according to this glorious book) of Golden Syrup stirred into a wholesome glass of milk? The advice in this book is rather like some of the suggestions in some of my other vintage cookbooks extolling the virtues of cigarettes and opium. It does make you wonder what advice given out now will be scoffed at in the future. I picked up two other books while in Richard Booth’s Bookshop. A McDougalls flour baking book and a Domestic Economy textbook from 1890’s but neither have such fabulous advice as this gem of a book.
Now I love Golden Syrup as a baking ingredient and thankfully I have no overtired and fretful children to worry about. After seeing the trailer for this week’s Great British Bake Off I knew I had to try the Brandy Snap recipe I had seen in The Golden Cookbook. I remember these as a child for being rather posh and the prime serving suggestion of a brandy snap that had been filled with as much squirty cream as possible and if you were feeling particularly flush a garish glace cherry to decorate each end.
This recipe curiously omits brandy (unlike most other Brandy Snap recipes I’ve looked at) but for pure authenticity I stuck to the recipe word for word. Warning this recipe makes lots of brandy snaps. We’re talking about 60 brandy snaps! They do however keep well in an airtight box or do what I did and dish them out to some very pleased friends. Unless you have a line of industrial ovens and a bevy of helpers it’ll be nigh on impossible to make these in one go. The best way is to be a production line. While one tray is baking, roll and set the freshly baked brandy snaps, set out tray with fresh mixture then swap with the tray in the oven once they are ready. The raw mixture gets easier to work with once it’s cooled down a bit. The trick for rolling them is to wait 3-4 minutes once they are out of the oven. Any sooner they will be too soft and hot to roll, later and they begin to set and crack before you have formed them into the right shape. If you find they have hardened too much to shape put the tray back in the oven briefly to soften them. Instead of rolling into a tube shape you could shape on the bottom of a small pudding bowl to make brandy snap baskets. Of course you are working with hot sugar, be careful. Hubs will tell you how much hot sugar burns after he accidentally went to retrieve a metal spoon that had fallen into a saucepan of boiling toffee.
I challenge you to try and take a simple photo of brandy snaps without it looking a bit sordid.
From The Golden Cookery Book by Tate & Lyle (early 1960’s)
½ lb (225g) plain flour
1 tsp ground ginger
½ lb (225g) butter or margarine
½ lb (225g) caster sugar
8oz (225g) Golden Syrup
1 dsp (2 tsp) lemon juice
1) sift flour and ginger.
2) Melt the sugar, syrup and butter over a low heat, then thoroughly stir in the flour and lemon juice.
3) Drop the mixture, in teaspoons, on to a well greased tray [I used baking parchment]; about 6 inches apart to allow for spreading. They will spread a great deal.
4) Bake at 190°c for about 10 minutes or till golden brown.
5) Leave to cool slightly, remove from the tray and roll each around the handle of a wooden spoon. When set and cold fill with sweetened, whipped cream.