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Or they’re also known as commercially made Walnut Whips. These tasty cookies are unlike anything I’ve seen for sale here in the United States.
What’s a Walnut Whirl?
Crisp biscuit(cookie) base, whipped marshmallow topping with a coffee ganache center, covered in tempered chocolate, and topped with a walnut half. See? Nothing quite like it over here!
You CAN buy Walnut Whips on Amazon though. Of course! As I said I’ve never seen them IN a store. But my experience is limited to Alaska, where caster sugar is hard to come by, so take it for what it is, a limited view.
But in the Britain they’re a big deal, and we’re making them!
The FINAL TECHNICAL for the 2020 Bake-Along was Prue’s Homemade version of the Walnut Whip, the Walnut Whirl.
Final Bakes for the 2020 Great British Bake-Along:
- Signature Bake: Custard Slice
- Technical Bake: Walnut Whirl
- Show Stopper: Dessert Tower (anything they felt like making that summed up the year)
Why is called a Walnut Whirl and not a Whip?
Obviously, you can’t make a name brand cookie by hand on a famous television show and call it by the same name. And so because the Walnut Whip is owned and manufactured by Nestle they had to change the name to Whirl.
This is BASED on Prue’s Recipe
That is over on the GBBO website. I say based because HOLY DUMPSTER FIRE that recipe is a mess. I’m not sure ANY of the elements are actually correct. I labored on, mostly in vain, but wow.
The bake time is off, and I burned the daylights out of the first batch of sables.
They SECOND batch I went with my gut and pulled them TEN MINUTES EARLY. They were perfect.
The recipe states it make 8 cookies but I could have made 16 sables AND there’s enough meringue to make 16+ cookies.
Theres a bit of mocha ganache left and honestly I don’t mind that!
BUT NOTE I replaced her corn syrup-based meringue with an Italian Meringue with added gelatine. I could NOT make her recipe work, maybe it was the recipe, maybe it was me. Every time I added the hot syrup the eggs would deflate. I mean just collapse. No amount of beating them would ever bring them back.
If you plan to make Prue’s recipe please be aware of the notes from above, most importantly that listed 20 minute bake time.
ALL IN ALL the flavors a Walnut Whips are fantastic! If they weren’t so much work they go into heavy rotation. But it’s a lot of nit-picky steps to get 8 walnut whirls.
Is This the Fussiest Bake We’ve Done?
Considering ALL the trouble this recipe gave me I would call it the worst recipe we’ve ever done.
The fussiest? I still think the Sussex Pond Pudding and Floating Islands Dessert were more work. And those Religieuse
? They were fussy but that was because the recipe I was working off didn’t list the WATER in the actual list of ingredients.
Tips on Making the Meringue or Marshmallow Layer
As noted above I replaced the Marshmallow layer with an Italian Meringue with gelatine added as a stabilizer. In the show, Prue stated the marshmallow should be just set but very soft, and I could not get her version to set for me. EVERY time it melted and wept away.
I had to replace it right?
Before I did that I did a ton of research on WHY I kept failing. The eggs would deflate EVERY time I added the boiling corn syrup. In the end I decided the corn syrup part was the problem and so I changed it up. Here’s what I read up on
- make sure everything you use to make the meringue is grease-free, wash it well in hot soapy water, dry with clean towels, and then wipe it down with vinegar to remove any lingering grease. Seems like overkill but I can assure you that my first batch died a horrible death because I didn’t take these precautions
- get those eggs out and let them warm-up
- add cream of tartar OR a 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice to the eggs when you first start whipping them
Tools Needed to Make Walnut Whirls
- Stand Mixer
- Candy Thermometer OR Instant Read Thermometer
- Baking Sheets
- Double Boiler
- 175 mls heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder OR 2/3 cup of coffee beans
- 300 grams milk chocolate, I used semi-sweet because it's what I had
Meringue-see notes in the post above
- 2 teaspoons knox powdered gelatine or 1 envelope
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 2 egg whites
- 1/2 cup (75 grams) sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2/3 cups walnut halves
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 Tablespoons butter, soft
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 cups dark chocolate
- preheat the oven to 390˚
- toast the walnuts for 5 minutes or so just until they just start to darken a bit, you can use a frying pan or a baking sheet in the oven
- when they're done grind them in a food processor or blender, you want them fairly well chopped
- in the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy
- add the egg yolk and beat that in
- add the walnuts and mix them in
- add the flour and stir it in until the dough forms, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for 20 minutes
- meanwhile, warm the cream and espresso powder in a saucepan over medium heat until the cream is almost boiling, remove from the heat, and set aside to steep for 15 minutes
- pat out the dough on parchment paper or a baking tray lined with silpat
- it should be 1/4 inch thick or so, cut out 8 cookies they can be 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches across
- bake for 9-10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned
- allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet 5 minutes to set up and then move them to a rack
- when the cream has steeped long enough pass it through a sieve if need be to remove the coffee beans, if you used espresso powder then there's no need to strain
- rewarm the cream until it's almost boiling
- put the chocolate for the ganache in a heatproof bowl
- pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit 2-3 minutes, and then gently stir to completely melt the last of the chocolate
- set the ganache aside to cool while you make the meringue
- make sure your utensils and tools are completely grease-free, read about why in the post!
- put the knox gelatine in a cup add 1/4 cup of cold water, stir to combine, and let it soften while you work
- boil the water and sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat, use a candy thermometer, and cook it until it reaches 239˚ or the soft ball stage
- meanwhile put the egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip until they hold stiff peaks
- when the sugar mixture hits 239˚ take it immediately off the heat and with the mixer running on low drizzle the hot syrup into the egg whites
- beat on high 3-5 minutes until it's thick and glossy
- drain any water out of the gelatine that you can and add the softened gelatine to the meringue in small bits, I used a small spoon and dropped it in that way
- once the gelatine is in beat in add the vanilla
- put the meringue in a piping bag with 1/3 inch tip (really any small tip would work) a store in the fridge until ready to use
- put the ganache in a piping bag with 1/2 inch tip
- when ready to assemble pipe ganache on each sables about 1 inch tall or so
- pipe around it with the meringue, cool in the fridge until the topping is done
- melt 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate in a double boiler use a thermometer and melt it until it hits 111˚
- remove from the heat and add the remaining chocolate and stir to melt, and cool until almost cool but STILL pourable
- remove the sables from the fridge and coat them with the melted chocolate
*PLEASE NOTE this recipe will be updated as I figure out the best way to make it all work smoothly--if you've printed this off be sure to come back and visit the updated version
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Amount Per Serving Calories 779Total Fat 49gSaturated Fat 26gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 73mgSodium 228mgCarbohydrates 76gFiber 7gSugar 51gProtein 12g
This nutrition information was calculated using a computer program, results may vary.