The Piping Tip For Flawless Viennese Whirls

Buttery Viennese whirls make an ideal choice to serve alongside hot cups of morning coffee and afternoon tea. Delicate layers of fruit jam and buttercream are enveloped by biscuits that give just the right toothy bite for a sweet treat. These British delicacies were inspired by Austrian biscuits – thus the name. But the signature of these delightful cookies is their appearance. They are named for the whirl design on the outside of each biscuit that sandwiches the strawberry jam and buttercream frosting.

A gentle swirl on the surface of each butter cookie is made by piping dough through a decorative tip bakers commonly use for frosting cakes and other baked goods. The wave-like swirls on the biscuits are just as important, if not more so, than the rest of the recipe; for a Viennese whirl isn't quite a whirl without the swirly design. 

To be able to pipe cookie dough to make the biscuits with the signature wave, the right consistency of dough must be achieved. Butter has to be soft enough to be able to squeeze through a decorative tip, and when piping the dough onto a baking sheet, a steady hand is required. It is helpful to use a disc as a template, and if you don't have a cookie cutter in a circular shape, simply use the rim of a glass to trace the outline of circles onto parchment or baking paper. 

Becoming a swirl master at home

Using the circle as a guide, you can begin to make the shape by drawing a thicker line inside of the circle as an outline. Bakers and pastry chefs typically use a piping bag to make the designs, but you can also cut the tip off a plastic baggie and fill it with the dough you've made for your Viennese whirls. 

Once the initial outline of dough is set into a circle shape, the wavy designs that signify a Viennese whirls can be filled in by drawing the tip of your decorating tool up towards the center of the biscuit, almost as if to make a small point in the middle of the shape. Any small peaks that form will come to rest in the oven, and you'll be left with Instagram-worthy cookies to enjoy. 

Should your cookie designs end up less than perfect, don't stress. The recipe for Viennese whirls is nearly no-fail, and the taste will make up for whatever aesthetic shortcomings you might have encountered. Simply dust with powdered sugar and enjoy the jammy sweets with pleasure.