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Tender, buttery, melt in your mouth Viennese Whirls!
Mary Berry’s Viennese Whirls – delicious butter cookies slathered with raspberry jam and a light vanilla buttercream filling.
Are you a fan of The Great British Baking Show? If you’ve followed along on PBS or binged all available seasons on Netflix, you may remember these Viennese Whirls featured in Season 4, Episode 2 as part of a technical challenge for the bakers.
This delicious recipe comes from Mary Berry one of the celebrity judges on the show. My husband and I had never seen The Great British Baking Show before it was released on Netflix, but by the end of the first episode we were hooked. It’s easy to see why it’s so popular everywhere!
We were drawn into the variety of the challenges, the personalities, and the sheer magnitude of their creativity! The show has featured some pretty amazing bakers and equally fantastic creations.
These tender little cookies (a/k/a biscuits) are really easy to make (if you follow the directions – haha – always a caveat!)
All measurements for the ingredients are noted in grams instead of the typical cups we use in the United States. I’ve made these cookies several times and during the first two attempts I tried converting the measurements to cups instead of grams. I hoped this would make it easier for our readers who don’t own a digital scale.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t happy with either attempt and found that the measurements don’t convert as well as hoped. Do yourself a favor and buy an inexpensive digital kitchen scale and get it right the first time. The balance of butter to flour must be exact to achieve the perfect swirl and proper texture.
In addition to a digital scale, you’ll need two piping bags and two decorator tips.
I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe the cookie dough and the Wilton 4B tip for the buttercream. You could use the same tip (1M) for both if you want, or just spread the buttercream on with a knife. The swirl on the cookies is much more important than the buttercream filling.
Ingredients needed to make Viennese Whirls:
For the cookies:
- unsalted butter
- confectioner’s or powdered sugar
- all-purpose flour
- cornstarch or arrowroot
For the filling:
- unsalted butter
- confectioner’s or powdered sugar
- vanilla extract
- raspberry jam
TIPS and Techniques to make Viennese Whirls:
- As mentioned in the recipe below, the butter must be very, very soft (not melted) in order to pipe the dough into swirls.
- Pipe the cookie dough slowly and evenly ensuring a good thick line inside the circle template. Start piping on the inside edge of the circle and end in the middle by pulling up into a point. The dough will settle down when baked and leave you with the pretty pattern on the top.
- Use the best swirls for the cookie tops. Nobody needs to know if some are not perfect. The cookies are delicious no matter how they look.
- Don’t get carried away and add too much jam. Spread on just enough to cover as it will ooze out a little when sandwiched together.
- I hope all these tips help and that you enjoy making, baking and sharing these treats. They are buttery and light. So delicious and pretty easy to make too!
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For the cookies:
- 250 grams unsalted butter very soft but not melted
- 50 grams powdered sugar
- 225 grams all-purpose flour
- 25 grams cornstarch
For the fillings:
- 100 grams unsalted butter room temperature
- 200 grams powdered sugar plus extra for dusting on top
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup seedless raspberry jam
To prepare the cookies:
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment. Using a 2-inch round cookie cutter as a guide, trace 15-16 circles on each piece of parchment, spaced at least 1-inch apart. Turn the parchment over so the pencil marks are on the bottom. Set aside.
- Prepare a piping bag fitted with a medium star tip. Set aside.
- Combine the butter and powdered sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat until pale and fluffy. Sift the flour and cornstarch together over the butter mixture. Beat on low until just combined, then beat on medium until well blended. Scoop the mixture into the prepared piping bag.
- Pipe the cookie dough into swirled rounds (not rosettes) ending in the center with a little peak. Pipe each round a little smaller than the circle. The cookies will spread a little when baking and are best when not too big. Go slow and pipe a thick stream of dough for best results.
- Refrigerate the unbaked cookies for 30 minutes before baking. This will help the cookies keep their pretty shape. Repeat with remaining dough.
- After 30 minutes in the refrigerator, bake the sheets, one at a time, at 375°F for 10-15 minutes. The cookies should be light golden brown around the edges. If too pale, the cookies will not hold together well when eaten. They are best when just slightly brown on the bottom. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare the filling:
- Prepare a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Combine the softened butter, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and light. Spoon the buttercream into the prepared piping bag.
- Spoon about 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons jam onto the flat side of half the cookies. Pipe buttercream onto the flat side of the remaining cookies. Gently sandwich the two sides together using one with buttercream and one with jam. Repeat until all cookies are filled. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.
- The butter must be very soft when mixing or the dough will be impossible to pipe into rounds.
- Take your time when piping the rounds. The piped dough should be somewhat thick to achieve pretty swirls.
- Depending on how thick you make the rounds, you may or may not need to pipe a few additional rounds on a third piece of parchment.
- Use the 2-inch circles as a guide and try to keep the dough inside the rounds to make them a bit smaller. The cookies are thick so they don’t need to be big too.
- Refrigerate the unbaked cookies for 30 minutes before baking to set the butter and help the cookies keep their shape.
- Bake until the bottom edges of the cookies are just lightly browned. If too light the cookies will not hold together well. If too brown they are not as pretty. Watch your baking time closely.
- Don’t use too much jam as the top of the cookie may slide off.
- Refrigerate finished cookies until ready to serve. Allow them to come to room temperature for 15-30 minutes before serving if desired.
Another one of our favorite butter cookies with raspberry jam are these always popular Raspberry Almond Shortbread Thumbprints. With a subtle almond flavor and a buttery, crisp shortbread base, these cookies are topped with sweet raspberry jam and an almond flavored drizzle. And finally, don’t miss these Chocolate Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies too. Who can resist the classic combination of raspberries and chocolate?! This little cookie boasts plenty of chocolate flavor and a fun little heart shaped thumbprint filled with seedless raspberry jam.
Originally published November 2018, updated November 2020