My Brandy Snap Disaster
For this assignment, I sought to create brandy snaps, a popular seasonal dessert in the U.K. This required flour, brown sugar, ginger, maple syrup, and kitchen utensils. Despite having done a little baking alongside my grandmother, I felt completely uncomfortable taking on such a complicated project. Brandy snaps are incredibly time dependent and time sensitive. There is a fine line between having them be grossly underdone and burnt. If you manage to cook them for the precise amount of time needed, you must wait only a minute before picking them up and attempting to roll them around the handle of a spoon. If you don’t wait long enough, they fall apart in your hands. If you wait too long, however, the result will be a stiff wafer that cracks at any folding.
Needless to say, timing was a really difficult part of this task. It took four attempts before I finally surrender to simply making something edible rather than beautiful. I struggled with folding the snaps the most. It was impossible to fold all 6 wafers I had made in each batch within that brief time period between being malleable and hard. Some of my snaps came out incredibly mushy and soft chew candy-like, while others came out far too dark.
Keeping both my preferences and Vark learning results in mind, I tended to find online written recipes with photos as I prefer reading things thoroughly before proceeding and then using photos as references when looking at my result. I also used one Youtube video tutorial. These recipes were virtually all the same save a few tricks each baker opted to throw in. Two of the creators are professional chefs/bakers that also have television shows, either here in the U.S. or in the U.K. The others were simple baking bloggers who used average ingredients and utensils you can find in most household kitchens. In terms of credibility, I felt all of them were reasonable sources. I did prefer reading the blogs of those who were not professional bakers. Their perspectives were useful, far more relatable, and they addressed problems that came up as they themselves were following the professional recipes. The video tutorial, for example, expected me to know a lot of baking lingo or have specific baking tools; those cases were really where the “casual” baker blog came in handy. When I was my most desperate, I sought guidance from a baking forum and read a few posts from other users on how to fix the issues I was having.
My learning style quiz results were surprising, but I tried to utilize that newfound knowledge throughout my brandy snap attempt. My Read/Write score was 8, and I believe that was evident in my preference for written instructions throughout this process. I only watched one video tutorial because I felt only one was incredibly helpful and credible, but perhaps others would’ve helped when looking at my learning results. My highest learning skill score was actually for Aural learning, which I think of myself as having a hard time with. I tend to not absorb things simply by listening, so I usually take extensive notes. Had there been an audio based tutorial for making brandy snaps, I wouldn’t tried to listen and take notes on it to see how that aspect of my learning style might come into play within this assignment.
One of my recurring Vark “intake” styles was “trial and error.” I think when it comes to something like baking, trial-and-error is crucial to the learning process. I noticed that each of my brandy snap attempts was different than the one before. I didn’t necessarily improve, but I was definitely forced to think about the problems with my results critically and then go through each step of the process in order to resolve the issues. Overall, I think of myself as a creative individual who rarely shies away from a good challenge. Unfortunately, the brandy snaps turned out tasty and edible, but definitely ugly.
Berry, Mary. “Brandy Snaps.” Food Recipes. BBC, 2016. Web. 2 Sept. 2016. Retreived from http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/brandy_snaps_47363.
Drummond, Ree. “Brandy Snaps.” The Pioneer Woman. Food Network, 2016. Web. 2 Sept. 2016. Retrieved from http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/brandy-snaps.
Fuschi, Janette. “Brandy Snaps.” Culinary Ginger. 2016. Web. 2 Sept. 2016. Retrieved from http://culinaryginger.com/brandy-snaps.
Langbein, Annabel. “Brandy Snap Biscuits.” A Free Range Life. 2016. Web. 2 Sept. 2016. Retrieved from http://www.annabel-langbein.com/recipes/brandy-snap-biscuits/955.
The Great British Bake Off. “How to Make Homemade Brandy Snaps.” Youtube. BBC. December 6, 2013. Web. 2 Sept. 2016. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TShL9JYtiJk.
“How Can I Correct this Brandy Snap Disaster?” 2012. Online forum. Seasoned Advice. Retrieved from http://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/18286/how-can-i-correct-this-brandy-snaps-disaster.