You could say the Viennese swirl is an exceedingly good biscuit, which it is, and not just because it was popularised by Mr Kipling back in the day.
It doesn’t have anything to do with Austria or Vienna, but is British through and through, although it is said it may have been inspired by the Austrian pastries of the time.
Personally, I don’t care. It is a brilliant melt-in-the- mouth biscuit to have with a cuppa some late afternoon when you can relax without a care in the world.
The most difficult thing about this simple recipe is the piping, which isn’t difficult at all. And even if your piping isn’t up to an acceptable level - as you can see, mine isn't! - you can hide any little mistakes with a good sprinkling of icing sugar, or melted chocolate.
You can pipe the mixture into various shapes, the most common being the whirl (thanks Mr Kipling), but fingers are popular, kind of a mini eclair shape, or a zig-zag shape which is what I have made here.
I like the bottom of my biscuits dipped in melted dark chocolate and sprinkled with chopped pistachio nuts. But you can also make a sandwich biscuit by layering one round swirl with jam and buttercream before topping with another swirl.
Or just keep it simple and make them plain, whether whirls, fingers or zig-zags.
250g very soft salted butter 50g icing sugar 2 tsp vanilla extract 250g plain flour 50g cornflour 150g good quality 70% chocolate, melted 100g shelled and chopped pistachio nuts
Heat oven to 180℃/160℃ fan and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Cream the butter, icing sugar and vanilla extract together until very pale and creamy. I beat mine with a food mixer for about 10 minutes.
Sift in the plain flour and cornflour before gently beating to incorporate everything to a smooth paste, suitable for piping. If you find the dough too stiff, loosen it slightly with a tablespoon or so of milk.
Fill up a piping bag fitted with a star nozzle with the mixture, and pipe out your desired shape or shapes. I made 12 biscuits with this amount of dough, although I like a Geordie-sized biscuit. Normal folks could probably get 15 biscuits from this.
Bake in the oven for between 13-15 minutes (mine took 15) depending on how hot your oven runs.
Leave to set on the baking tray before moving to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Then dip in chocolate, sprinkle with nuts, or layer with jam and buttercream if making sandwich whirls. The world’s your biscuit!