Made with only 7 ingredients, these Viennese Whirls are unbelievably moreish! Melt-in-your-mouth sandwich cookies filled with jam and vanilla buttercream make a delectable cookie. Simple to make and delicious, you'll love them!
A new season of The Great British Bake Off is returning to our screens this month. Hoorah!
Let's celebrate with Viennese Whirls made famous by celebrated baker and judge Mary Berry and baked by the contestants as part of the Season 4 technical challenge. The butter shortbread is unbelievably tender and pairs so well with the lightly vanilla-sweetened buttercream. And the raspberry jam, well, that just finishes them off perfectly!
🌟 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Uses basic ingredients. All the ingredients are basic pantry or fridge staples. You can whip these up at the last minute to satisfy a cookie craving!
- Unbelievable texture. The minute you bite into these Viennese Whirls, they just melt away. They are so tender because of one secret ingredient I can't wait to share with you.
- Simple to make. The cookies and buttercream come together in under 20 minutes. Have fun piping those swirls. Get creative!
❓ Where Are Viennese Whirls From?
Whilst you may think these Viennese Whirls cookies come from Austria, they actually originate from England. However, the inspiration for their shape comes from the pastries of Vienna, hence the name.
They're commonly piped into round swirls and sandwiched together with buttercream and jam, popularized by Mr Kipling in the UK. (I sure enjoyed them sitting around my Grandparents' kitchen table!)
Instead of sandwich cookies, you can leave them as a single cookie piped as a 'finger' or squiggle dipped in chocolate. They're such fun to get kids involved with as they love having fun with the shapes!
🧾 Ingredients Needed
With only 7 ingredients needed, one of those a storebought jam, this Viennese Whirl recipe couple could not be any easier to prepare!
- Cornflour - My secret ingredient for tender cookies! It also helps bind the liquid (water and milk fat in the butter), making the butter spread less. Sub with flour, but the cookies may spread more.
- Flour - Plain (all-purpose flour) is used. Too much flour will make the cookies too dry and crumbly so weigh with digital scales for accuracy.
- Butter - I've suggested unsalted, but you can use salted if you prefer. Ensure the butter is at room temperature.
- Butter - Like with the cookies, this needs to be at room temperature. If using salted butter, omit the additional salt.
- Raspberry Jam - Good quality storebought jam is perfect here but by all means, go for homemade raspberry jam if you fancy it. Or choose another flavour, such as blackberry jam or plum jam.
These are such versatile cookies. There are so many options that you can play around with, from the flavour of the cookies, different buttercreams or the condiment or jam that you use. Here are some of my favourites:
- Chocolate Caramel Whirls: Substitute a ¼ cup of flour for cocoa powder, add salted caramel sauce to the buttercream and fill with more caramel instead of jam. A Holiday Season favourite!
- Lemon Viennese Shortbread: Add zest to the dough and the buttercream, then swap out the jam for a creamy Lemon Curd. A spring or summer delight.
- Chocolate-dipped Viennese Biscuits: Yes, here in the UK, cookies are called biscuits! Dip a single biscuit in milk or dark chocolate. You can add sprinkles for some fun or sprinkle over chopped hazelnuts or almonds for crunch.
👩🏻🍳 How to Make
The process of making these Viennese Whirls is really simple. Points to note are that the dough is thick. It's meant to be like this. But it does need some pressure to pipe onto the baking trays.
*Be sure to see the recipe card below for the full ingredients list & instructions!*
Make the Viennese Cookies
STEP 1. Cream the butter and sugar together.
Beat the butter and icing sugar (Image 1) for a minute before scraping down the sides and base of the bowl, but also the paddle attachment (Image 2). Then continue to beat until pale and creamy (Image 3).
Note: I prefer to use a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment for both the cookie dough and buttercream. Electric hand-held beaters can be used, but you may need to beat the butter for a little longer.
STEP 2: Add dry ingredients.
It's best to add the flour and cornflour in two additions so that we don't risk overbeating, which will cause less tender cookies. First, add half the flour and vanilla extract (Image 4) and beat till combined. Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl.
Then add the remaining flour and cornflour (Image 5) and beat until just combined (Image 6). The dough will be thick!
How to Pipe Viennese Whirls
STEP 3. Fill the piping bag and prepare the tray.
The easiest way to fill the piping bag with the cookie dough is to fit the bag with the piping nozzle (we'll use a large star nozzle) and place the bag in a tall glass or jug (Image 7). You'll be able to scrape the dough easily into the bag.
The dough is thick to squeeze out, so you may only want to add half the dough and pipe it in two batches (Image 8)
To get even-sized whirls, draw 2-inch-sized circles onto parchment paper (Image 9). Flip the paper over and stick the corners down with a blob of dough to stop it from moving (Image 10).
STEP 4: Pipe whirls and bake.
It takes a bit of pressure to squeeze out the dough. I suggest using two hands for even pressure. Pipe the swirls starting from the centre and working your way out (Image 11). The cookies will spread a little once baked, so stay within your circle template.
Use a wet finger to push the swirl ends to make a neat round (Images 12 & 13).
Bake in a 180C/350F preheated oven until golden around the edges (Image 14).
Make the Buttercream and Assemble
STEP 5: Make the buttercream and prepare the jam.
Beat the butter for a minute until it's creamy (Image 16), and then add in the icing sugar, vanilla extract and salt (Image 16). Beat for another 3 minutes until fluffy and smooth (Image 17). Add a teaspoon or two of milk if needed to achieve a pipable consistency.
Scoop the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with your favourite piping tip (Image 18).
When assembling the Viennese Whirls, I found it easier to pipe the jam, so I spooned it into a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off (Image 18).
STEP 6: Assemble Cookies
Pipe a swirl of buttercream onto the base of one cookie (Image 19), then add jam into the centre (Image 20). Be generous with the jam!
Note: You can pipe the buttercream onto one cookie, spoon jam onto another and then sandwich the two together. Personally, I find this a little messy as the two halves tend to slide. but you do you!
Pop another cookie over the top and press together gently. And there you have your freshly made batch of delectable Viennese Whirls. Enjoy every bite!
💭 Recipe Pro Tips
- The butter must be soft. This goes for both the dough and buttercream. Make sure it's not melted, though!
- Use a good-quality piping bag. It takes some pressure to pipe the whirls, and a cheap piping bag or sandwich cookie bag will just split.
- Refrigerate the cookies if needed. If your kitchen is warm, refrigerate the piped cookies on their tray for 20 minutes for the butter to firm up. This will avoid excessive spreading whilst baking.
- If the dough is hard to pipe, use the warmth of your hands around the piping bag for it to soften slightly.
📋 Recipe FAQs
Either the butter wasn't creamed enough at the start, or too much flour was added, which made the dough dry. Cream the butter and sugar until pale, adding much-needed air to the dough. Also, weigh out the flour with digital scales for accuracy.
This is most likely because the dough was too warm when going into the oven. If the dough is soft or your kitchen hot, then once piped, make sure to refrigerate the cookies until fully chilled.
Store Viennese Whirls in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. Refrigerate if in a warm environment.
The Viennese Whirls are best frozen before assembling. Cool cookies completely, place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
The buttercream can also be frozen in the same way. Thaw both cookies and buttercream at room temperature and assemble as per the recipe.
🍪 More Cookies Recipes You'll Love
If you've tried this Viennese Whirls Recipe or any other recipe on my website, please let me know how you go in the comments below. I love hearing from you. Also, please leave a 🌟 star rating whilst you're there!
Viennese Whirls Recipe
- 2 Piping bag plus open star nozzle
- 2 Baking Tray
- 300 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 60 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar), sifted
- 280 g plain flour (all-purpose), sifted
- 60 g cornflour (corn starch)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste
- 120 g unsalted butter
- 240 g powdered icing sugar (confectioners’ sugar)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 105 g raspberry jam
Make the Viennese Whirls
- Cream butter and sugar. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Place butter and icing sugar into the bowl of a standmixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On medium-high speed cream together for 1 minute. Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl and attachment. Continue to beat for a further 2 minutes until pale and creamy.
- Add dry ingredients. Add half the flour and the vanilla extract into the bowl and beat till combined. Scrape down the base and sides of the bowl. Add remaining flour and cornflour and beat till just combined. (Note: The dough is thick.)
- Fill the piping bag and prepare the tray. Scoop dough into a piping bag fitted with an open star piping tip. Draw circles 2-inch in diametre on two sheets of parchment paper, leaving space between each circle. Flip the paper over and place it on a baking tray. This is your piping template.
- Pipe whirls and bake. Using firm, even pressure, pipe swirly circles in your drawn templates. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, swapping trays halfway through baking. Bake until golden around the edges and set. Cool on the baking tray for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.
Make the Buttercream
- Make the buttercream and prepare the jam. Beat the butter on medium-high speed until it's creamy, then add in the icing sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Beat for another 3 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Add milk, a teaspoon at a time if needed to achieve a pipable consistency. Scoop into a piping bag.Spoon jam into a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off (optional).
- Pipe buttercream onto the base (flat side) of half the biscuits. Pipe jam onto the buttercream. Top with the remaining biscuits and press gently together. Alternatively, spoon jam rather than piping.
All recipes are developed and tested in Metric grams. I strongly recommend that you bake using digital scales for a more accurate result. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.