Oh-so-light, melt-in-the-mouth gluten free Viennese Fingers, dipped in chocolate. Traditional English biscuits that are also optional dairy free and Vegan.
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Gluten Free Viennese Fingers – A Retro Classic Revisited
Meet my Gluten Free Viennese Fingers. They are melt-in-the-mouth divine. A classic retro-bake from my gluten-filled childhood… De-glutened for the 21st Century.
Okay… Heads up. They are not the easiest biscuits to perfect. But I’ve done the hard work for you in developing a gluten free recipe that actually works. Providing you follow that recipe and the tips and tricks provided, you too can have an amazing batch of light, buttery, crisp and superbly melty Viennese biscuits dipped in chocolate.
What are Viennese Fingers?
First. Viennese Fingers are not to be confused with Vienna Fingers (which appear to be a long, sandwiched Rich Tea-type biscuit). And no… They do not come from Austria either.
Viennese fingers are in fact, an English biscuit inspired by the delicate bakes of Austria. A spin-off from their close cousin, the Viennese Whirl (which was popularised by Mr Kipling sometime in the 20th Century), Viennese Fingers are the longer, non-sandwiched version of this amazing bake.
Actually, as Viennese biscuits start life as a piped dough, they can be made into any shape you choose. Long fingers or pretty rosettes are just the start… How about making pretty Valentines hearts? Or zig zags, flowers and even snails? There are no rules! Ok… the last one may be a bit random, but piped snails are quite a fun idea, don’t you think?
Whatever shape you make, Viennese biscuits may just be the meltiest, butteriest biscuits you will ever have the pleasure of eating.
How to make Gluten Free Viennese Fingers – Essential Information
Viennese Fingers look simple enough to make. But like any Viennese Biscuits, they require sticking to a few very hard and fast rules. These rules aren’t there to patronise. They are set out in stone to avoid a melted puddle of baked crumbs that wreak havoc on your baking esteem.
Follow the recipe to the letter
In order to ensure that you have the best chance of success in making great Viennese Fingers, follow the recipe closely… No deviations. The recipe has been carefully crafted to ensure that it works as well as possible for the gluten free community.
Butter and Dairy Free ‘butter’
For dairy biscuits, be sure to use a butter block. It has entirely different properties to the tubbed ‘spreadable’ variety. Not using a butter block will likely result in Viennese biscuit puddles.
Equally, if making gluten free-dairy free Viennese Fingers, be sure to use a good block butter alternative that closely mimics the properties of a dairy butter. Stork baking block is my ‘go to’ alternative, because it ensures a reasonably buttery flavour as well as texture.
Piping gluten free Viennese Fingers
This may be an entirely straight-forward process, or the dough may feel too stiff to pipe into anything but unsightly blobs. However you choose to pipe Viennese biscuit dough, a wider nozzle tip is crucial. The dough needs to flow. I use a large open tip star nozzle.
If the dough feels too stiff, gently massage it in the piping bag to soften slightly. I find that using a grippy piping bag (rather than the shiny smooth variety) also helps to get the piping right. And… Piping onto a good quality non-stick baking parchment/paper supports removal once baked.
Chill the dough before baking
For best results, it is always a good idea to chill the dough before baking, especially if you have a warm climate or kitchen. Although I’ve managed successful Viennese Fingers using un-chilled dough, it helps (as with any biscuit or cookie that needs to hold shape) to ensure the dough is extra firm before popping in the oven. Simply put the whole baking tray in the fridge (make sure it will fit before piping) for about 30 minutes while the oven is pre-heating.
Baking Viennese Fingers
It is essential that the piped gluten free Viennese Finger dough gets put into a fully pre-heated oven. An oven that is just ‘warm’ will instantly kill the biscuits by causing them to melt into mush. If the oven is properly hot, it will allow the fingers to quickly bake and set their shape.
Equally, keep a close eye on them to ensure they don’t burn. And switch the trays round part way through the bake for even cooking.
Cool completely on the trays
Like many other biscuits, it is important to let Viennese Fingers cool completely on the trays before attempting to move them. The biscuits will still be too soft to handle when they come out of the oven and need to be properly cold before dipping.
Handle Viennese Biscuits with Care
It probably goes without saying that Viennese biscuits (whether fingers, whirls or any other shape) need to be handled with kid-gloves. They are delicate morsels and designed to be so. Any rough-handling will ensure your efforts towards gluten free Viennese Fingers perfection are destroyed in an instant.
To dip or not to dip
Whether you dip your Viennese Fingers in chocolate one end, both ends or not at all is up to you. I think a little chocolate brings a delicious decadence to the bake, while also making them easier to hold and eat.
For best dipping, make sure the chocolate is super-runny and the bowl is small but higher-sided, so that the chocolate is deep enough for an easy covering. Using a mug is a good option.
And be sure to place the dipped Viennese Fingers on good quality non-stick baking parchment/paper to set, as this will allow for clean removal later.
Use a plate when eating Viennese Fingers
It’s super-tempting to grab and scoff a couple of Viennese Fingers when passing a batch in the kitchen. If you don’t want the dog to get them first however, make sure you use a plate. Viennese Biscuits (whether gluten free or not) are super-crumbly and fragile. While this ensures their texture is to die for, it also means a plate is a must.
But don’t feel you have to eat them all at once. Viennese Fingers will last for about a week in an airtight container… IF you can resist.
Can I make gluten free Viennese Fingers dairy free and Vegan?
Yes… You can! There are no eggs in this recipe for gluten free Viennese biscuits. A simple sub of butter for a good dairy free-vegan baking block such as Stork enables the recipe to be made dairy free and Vegan as well.
And when it comes to chocolate dipping, be sure to use a dairy free and Vegan alternative. Pick a brand you love and know will melt easily to a good runny consistency. Or use a quality dark chocolate with no milk solids.
Ready to make Gluten Free Viennese Fingers?
With nothing further to read, it’s time to grab your mixing bowl and piping bag, crank up the oven and bake!
Don’t forget to let me know if you make Viennese Fingers. You can leave a comment below, rate the recipe or tag me on social media. You’ll find me over at Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter. And don’t forget to use the hashtag #glutenfreealchemist on social media so that I can find you.
And if you haven’t found our Gluten Free Recipe Book Index yet, why not pop over and have a look…
Viennese Fingers – Gluten Free
- baking sheets
- large open star-tipped piping nozzle
- mug or small bowl
- pastry brush (optional)
- 240 g unsalted block-butter (or dairy free firm alternative) softened
- 65 g icing sugar
- 225 g plain gluten free flour mix I used GFA Blend A – See NOTES
- ½ tsp xanthan gum If flour blend already contains xanthan gum, DO NOT add.
- 60 g corn starch (UK cornflour)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 200 g dark chocolate approx amount – chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4.
- Base-line 2 to 3 baking sheets with good quality, non-stick baking paper.
- Cream together the butter and icing sugar (preferably using an electric whisk or food mixer) until well-blended, very pale and fluffy.
- Mix the flours and xanthan gum (if required) together in a separate bowl to blend.
- Add the vanilla extract and flours to the butter mixture and continue to beat until the mixture has become a very smooth, pale paste.
- Transfer the mixture to a large piping bag fitted with a large open star nozzle.
- Pipe the mixture onto the baking paper lined trays into even-sized 'fingers', leaving a gap between them.
- For best results, chill the piped dough on the baking tray for 30 minutes before baking (especially if your climate or kitchen are warm).
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown, turning the trays half-way through to ensure an even bake. Keep a close eye on them to ensure they don’t burn.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on the trays.
Dipping the biscuits in chocolate
- Once the biscuits are cold, use a flexible palette knife to carefully loosen the biscuits from the baking paper. They will be quite fragile, so handle with care.
- Place a clean sheet of baking paper onto a large baking tray ready for setting the chocolate.
- Take the chopped chocolate and place in a small, high-sided glass bowl (or mug).
- Melt the chopped chocolate either in the bowl set over a pan of just simmering water, stirring frequently. Or in the microwave on 30 second bursts (at medium setting), stirring well between each until the chocolate is just melted.
- Carefully hold each biscuit (one by one) at one end and gently dip into the chocolate (or brush one end with chocolate using a pastry brush), before placing on the baking-paper lined tray to set.
- The chocolate can be set either at room temperature or in the fridge.
© 2019-2024 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist