Vegan Viennese Whirls
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These vegan Viennese whirls are crunchy shortbread biscuits sandwiched together with dairy-free buttercream and strawberry jam. They may look fancy but they’re actually pretty easy to make!
Viennese whirls. Have you ever tried them?
I used to LOVE Mr. Kipling’s Viennese whirls before I went vegan- they just melted in your mouth! But of course, they are made with butter so they’re off limits if you don’t eat dairy. *cries*
I’ve been working my way through my old favourite cookies and biscuits to make a vegan-friendly version and these whirls were next on my list. I made them as part of my 12 days of vegan Christmas cookies series.
More vegan biscuit and cookie recipes
Viennese whirl dough is more like a paste rather than the firm dough you get when you make regular shortbread. I had never made it this way before so I used Tesco’s recipe as a starting point. Because I was using dairy-free margarine instead of butter, I had to keep adjusting the ingredient ratios so it took me quite a few tries.
My first few batches tasted like nothing but cornflour so I removed that and replaced it with additional plain flour. The next couple of batches completely lost their shape in the oven (too much fat) and the following batch of dough was so thick that it broke my piping bag (too much flour)!
When I finally got the recipe just the way I wanted it, I realised it was very similar to Mary Berry’s recipe. The only differences from mine and Mary Berry’s recipe are that I didn’t use cornflour, I used vanilla extract in my biscuit dough, I used slightly less margarine, and I used shop-bought strawberry jam instead of homemade raspberry jam.
I also baked them for a bit longer at a lower temperature. Because the margarine holds more water, the biscuits weren’t cooking all the way through to the middle at the higher temperature.
What is a Viennese whirl?
A Viennese whirl is a sandwich biscuit, made up of two shortbread swirls with a filling of vanilla buttercream and raspberry or strawberry jam. They come in a few different forms: Viennese fingers, which are often dipped in chocolate (without a filling), and Viennese shortbread, which are basically just the plain biscuits on their own.
Because of the name, many people think these biscuits originated in Vienna, Austria but according to Google, it’s more likely that they originated in England! How bizarre.
Ingredients and equipment
- Dairy-free margarine. For dairy-free Viennese whirls, use the spreadable type that comes in a tub, not the block. Margarine contains more water and helps keep this dough at a pipeable consistency without losing shape in the oven. I used Vitalite.
- Icing sugar.
- Vanilla extract.
- Plain flour. Most recipes call for a mix of plain flour and cornflour (a.k.a. cornstarch) but I personally found the taste too strong in this recipe. If you want to add cornflour, which will make the shortbread slightly crumblier, I’d recommend substituting ~2 tablespoons of the flour.
- Strawberry jam. Or raspberry if you like! I used shop-bought jam but you can make it from scratch if you prefer.
- Baking tray. I recommend using a large tray lined with baking paper. If you use a non-stick cookie sheet, they’ll bake faster so you’ll need to take them out of the oven a little bit earlier.
- Piping bag. This biscuit dough needs to be thick enough to hold its shape when baking, which means you’ll need to apply quite a bit of pressure when piping it. Because of this, I recommend using a pastry piping bag if possible, to prevent the bag from tearing as you pipe.
- Star piping nozzles. I used a Wilton 1M tip to pipe the biscuits and Wilton 32 tip to pipe the buttercream.
How to make vegan Viennese whirls
Preheat your oven to 180°C (or 160°C if you’re using a fan oven). Line a large tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together 240g of vegan margarine, 50g of icing sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract until smooth.
Next, add 250g of flour to the bowl and mix it in. You should end up with a mixture that resembles a thick paste.
Transfer the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
Pipe 2-inch-wide swirls onto the baking paper, leaving at least a few centimetres of space in between each one. You should get around 24-28 swirls.
If you want to make sure they’re all the same size, you can draw 2-inch circles on the other side of the baking paper and use them as a guide.
Bake the biscuits for around 25 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Let them cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
For the dairy-free buttercream
- Add 80g of vegan margarine to a medium-sized bowl. Measure out 200g of icing sugar and mix it into the margarine, a little at a time, until smooth.
- Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- Whisk the buttercream with an electric mixer for a minute or so until it becomes pale and fluffy. If you want to thicken it, add more icing sugar and if you want to loosen it, add a splash of plant-based milk.
- Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag fitted with a medium open-star nozzle.
Place around 4 tablespoons of jam into a small bowl and mix thoroughly to loosen it. This will prevent it from breaking the biscuits when you spread it on.
Pair the biscuits up. Spread some jam onto the flat side of one, and pipe a small swirl of buttercream onto the flat side of the other one. Sandwich them together, being careful not to squash the buttercream.
Top with a dusting of icing sugar and enjoy!
- Use vegan margarine (the type that comes in a tub, not the blocky type) for best results.
- If you want the biscuits to be crumblier, you can substitute a tablespoon or two of the flour for cornflour (cornstarch). Don’t add too much as the flavour is quite strong!
- The dough is thick and you need to apply quite a bit of pressure to pipe it. Use a pastry bag or strong piping bag to avoid breakage.
- I recommend baking these on a lined baking tray but if you use a non-stick cookie sheet, you will need to take them out of the oven a little bit earlier.
- Do not overfill the biscuits with buttercream as it’ll spill out when you bite into them! Leave a small gap around the edges.
Keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 48 hours.
I don’t recommend freezing the assembled whirls but the biscuits on their own will freeze just fine. It’s best to fill them on the day of serving as they don’t last long! To freeze, pop the biscuits into an airtight container and freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost at room temperature on a wire rack or plate. Do not refreeze.
I hope you enjoy these dairy-free Viennese whirls! If you make them yourself, please let me know what you think by leaving a comment and/or rating below. Happy baking! xo
Vegan Viennese Whirls
Dairy-free Viennese whirls with vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam.
- 240 g Vegan margarine (the spreadable kind that comes in a tub, not the block)
- 50 g Icing sugar
- ½ Teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 250 g Plain flour
- 80 g Vegan margarine
- 200 g Icing sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 4 Tablespoons Strawberry or raspberry jam (mix it thoroughly to loosen it)
Preheat your oven to 180°C (160°C for fan ovens) and line a large tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the margarine, icing sugar and vanilla extract.
Add in all of the flour and mix well. You will end up with a mixture that resembles a thick paste. Transfer the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large star nozzle.
Pipe 2-inch wide swirls onto the baking tray, leaving a small space in between each one. You should end up with 24-28 swirls in total.
Bake for ~25 minutes until lightly golden brown all over. Leave to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Mix together the margarine, icing sugar and vanilla extract. To get rid of the yellow hue, whisk with an electric mixer for a minute or so until pale.
Transfer the buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a medium open star nozzle.
Pair up the biscuits. On the flat side of one, spread some strawberry jam and on the flat side of the other, pipe a swirl of buttercream. Gently sandwich the biscuits together.
Top with a dusting of icing sugar and enjoy!
- If you want to make sure the swirls are all exactly the same size, draw 2-inch circles on the other side of the baking paper to use as a guide.
- Do not use too much filling as it will spill out when you bite into the biscuits. It’s best to leave a small gap around the edges.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
Friday 7th of October 2022
These taste exactly like the normal ones and we had fun making them. Thanks for the recipe!
Sunday 9th of October 2022
Thanks for your review Hannah, glad you enjoyed them :)