Viennese Whirls

Serves: Makes ~30 Whirls
Cost: ~€3
Preparation and cooking time: ~40 minutes
Calories: ~148 per 1 Viennese Whirl

From France, to England. In this post I’ll be making a childhood favourite of mine – Viennese Whirls. I say England because despite the name, these are a real British classic, and I’m not entirely sure whether they came from Vienna or not (Google doesn’t seem to help much either). Suffice to say that they rock! My mother used to make a slightly different version – much larger, baked in a paper muffin case, with a big blob of jam on top. Others consist of two delicate cookies, sandwiched with butter-cream and jam and these are the ones I have opted to go for today. It gave me a great opportunity to use my cookie “gun” to pipe out the dough and makes for some incredible looking end results.

The biscuits are short and light – a bit like a cross between shortbread and Swedish drömmar biscuits. When fresh they are beautifully crisp but I actually think they benefit from being eaten the next day. After you’ve piped the butter-cream, and sandwiched everything together with the jam, of course – enjoy some – but put one or two aside in a tin for at least a day or so. The biscuits will absorb moisture from both the air and the filling and while they won’t go “soft” per se, they assume a slightly different texture; one with a bit more bite, a bit more crumble. I personally love them this way, but they’re delicious any way you decide to have them.

Viennese Whirls

After having made these, it would be a perfect time to plan an English tea party. Find your best teapot and finest china plates, serve up some cucumber sandwiches (white bread, and crusts removed, of course!), make some scones, served with strawberry jam and clotted cream, serve up a big pile of Viennese Whirls and then sip your tea and utter phrases like “what ho’ old chap”, “jolly good old bean”, and “mm, yes, indeed. Quite, most verily”. I should add that you’ll be able to reproduce the most authentic British feeling if you have a table and chairs in a  little shady corner in a lush, verdant garden somewhere, surrounded by tea roses. Of course, a spot of rain half-way through tea will help get you in the mood as well!

I hope you get a chance to try these though – they’re one of my absolute favourites, and I’d actually forgotten all about them until recently (I’m not sure what caused me to remember them again, but I’m sure glad I did). In other news, my site has now completed a move to a new host. Everything seems to have worked just fine, but if you do happen to notice any problems, I’d be most grateful if you could let me know (comment, Facebook, Twitter – whatever works for you).

Have a nice day everyone and I’ll be back in a few days with something… sweet! Oh my, two baked goods in as many posts?!

Viennese Whirls

Adapted from an original recipe here


Viennese Whirls ingredients

For the biscuits

  • 250g Butter, softened
  • 50g Icing Sugar
  • 250g Plain Flour
  • 2tsps Vanilla Sugar

For the filling

  • 100g Butter, softened
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • 1 Vanilla Pod
  • ~4tbsps Raspberry Jam


  1. Start by preheating your oven to 190 degrees Celsius and then mix together the butter, icing sugar, flour, and vanilla sugar for the biscuits in a large bowl until you get a smooth, workable dough.
    Making the dough
  2. Pipe out the mixture onto a non-stick baking sheet until you have about 30-34 cookies, allowing room for expansion between each one. If you have no piping bag or gun then you can alternatively roll ~30 small balls and press them down gently to a thickness of about 2cms using a fork. Place the cookies into the oven and bake for about 12-13 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown.
    Piping the whirls
  3. While the cookies are baking, mix together the butter and icing sugar for the filling in a bowl. Split the vanilla pod down the centre and scrape out the seeds inside. Add to the butter-cream and beat until well-distributed and smooth.
    Making the buttercream
  4. Once the cookies are ready, remove from the oven. Transfer them to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely. Divide the batch into two. On one set place a blob of jam into the centre of the underside of the cookie. It should be enough jam to fill out to the edge once sandwiched together, but not enough to spill over the edge. On the other set, pipe or spread a liberal amount of butter-cream onto the underside of each cookie.
    Sandwiching them together
  5. Sandwich the cookies together, one jam, with one butter cream, and set aside to allow the butter-cream to set for an hour or so. Dust with a little extra icing sugar before enjoying!
    Viennese Whirls
    Viennese Whirls


  1. says

    I have no clue why they are called Viennese whirls Charles! I have never seen those in Austria before so they are not part of our baking culture and if they were, we would have been making them in college time.
    It seems as if it’s some kind of shortcrust pastry? just that there is a whole load of butter involved here. ^.^ That explain why you like them so much and I bet I ll enjoy them as much. Thank you for sharing and introducing me to your favorite childhood treat. Have a nice weekend!

    • says

      Hi Helene, how strange – I guess it’s possible that someone in England who invented them wanted to make sound more exotic so they chose Vienna maybe?

      Wherever they’re from, they’re well worth a try – I absolutely love them!

  2. says

    Charles, I have never seen anything similar in my whole life but it looks sensational! The different textures, flavours, vanilla (real! thumbs up!), strawberry, butter… I am bookmarking it and will prepare it one day. They also make me think of the elegant sophisticated high tea I hope I will have one day in UK 😉

    • says

      Hi Sissi, I really hope you do! I like them so much, they’re a perfect coffee/tea-time treat! I’m thinking they might be lovely with poppy seeds in the biscuit dough too… it would give another note to the flavours and make a lovely colour too!

  3. says

    I love your little piped cookies and the butter cream swirl to help sandwich them together with the jam. You’ve pretty much convinced me to make another kind of sandwich cookies this weekend. I’ve been planning on making them since last summer but they kept getting pushed back.

    I was hoping to make them today but I have to visit a friend this afternoon and set up her new computer so her new internet provider can come with the modem on Monday. Then I have to go grocery shopping … 2 grocery stores and the city market. If I have the energy.

    • says

      Hi A_, they were really good – I hope some day you’ll be able to try them yourself. Which sandwich cookies did you make (or did you plan to make at least)? Maybe they’re on your site already… I’ll check it out in a bit :)

    • says

      Hi Sawsan, hehe – I hope you will. Pastry cream… well, I don’t see why not? It would help make them a bit lighter I think. As long as the cream was quite stiff and held its shape in the middle it would be no problem at all!

  4. says

    These look so pretty and I love how you’ve piped them and then piped the cream. They do look very ‘Downton Abbey’ – something Beryl Patmore would have coming out of the oven for a high tea to be sure. Love how you photographed them xx

    • says

      Hi Charlie, I’m not the most skillful person at piping, but something like this is quite forgiving. The hot oven causes them to melt out a bit as they bake and smooth over all the rough edges 😀

  5. says

    I’m trying catch up on my fav blogs. It’s been awhile and noticed you made some changes to the site – looks great! These viennese whirls look so darn yummy! Omg, if I made these they’d be all gone in one sitting! LOL Hope you and the family are doing well!

    • says

      Hi Lisa, thanks a lot, and welcome back – it’s been so long since you’ve been around! Life keeping you busy, eh?

      The whirls are great, but yes – dangerous to have around. They’ll disappear fast!

    • says

      Hi Gloria – I hope you can give them a try, they’re really tasty! I don’t use my cookie press often either. It’s one of those things which sometimes you regret buying, but when you have a need for it, like for these, it’s indispensable!

  6. says

    Wow, this is perfect with tea or coffee. Looks so good, that vanilla butter filling and jam is a nice surprise in the middle :)

  7. says

    I absolutely adore these but have never eaten anything other than Mr Kipling’s version – yours put his to shame, they look so gloriously full and decadent!

    • says

      Hi Chica, aha, I’d forgotten all about good ol’ Mr Kipling. Mm, now you mention him, it makes me want to make some French Fancies… yum!

  8. says

    I remember making these when I was about 12 years old1. My mum had a cookie gun too!! Yours look so much more beautiful than mine did! I love the soft buttery texture of these biscuits… I wish I could try one of yours right now!

    • says

      Thank you GG, I must ask my mother about the ones she used to make… I remember them being much bigger and made in paper cases – not a sandwich biscuit like this!

  9. says

    They look glorious Charles! I have had them as a child back in India. A neighbourhood bakery baked them and I loved it when my parents bought these. It always signified a special occassion, so I have such fond memories….but they were not called Viennese swirls. But I am sure they are British which explains why they were available in almost every bakery in Allahabad where I grew up. That city was full of Anglo-Indians and I think they made sure this was alive and kicking in their backyard, lol!! Thank you so much Charles for this beautiful post.

    • says

      Thank you Minnie – can you remember what they were called in India? I’d be interested to know, as well as seeing if they’re exactly the same or have some small differences? I hope you decide to give these a try sometime! :)

  10. says

    Oh my….these look fantastic. I grew up in a British Colony (Hong Kong) and I love British food and snacks. But I think I’ve only tried the packaged version. I bet these homemade ones are way better. I’ll definitely take your recommendation and leave some for next day for the optimal texture. :) Can’t wait to try these. Thank you so much for sharing. Have a wonderful week ahead.

    • says

      Hi Amy, the packaged versions aren’t too bad… the biscuit is ok, but the filling and jam is never very special. Of course, it’s not “real” butter-cream, so at least in that regard, home-made is better! I hope you try them – let me know how it goes!

  11. says

    They do look wonderful Charles, I love the flower shape to each side too. I used to have one of those cookie presses but gave it away when we redid the kitchen, I hadn’t used it in so long — now I wish we hadn’t. I really love the flavours you’ve used in this recipe the rich buttercream and the tartish raspberry jam.

    • says

      Hi Eva – cookie presses aren’t something I use regularly. Sometimes I regret getting it, but at times like making these, it’s absolutely indispensable. Just one of those things which doesn’t get used too often, but I wouldn’t trade it away. Doesn’t take up too much space anyway :).

  12. says

    Hi There,
    This is looking so tempting and I can’t wait to try this recipe on my own. Lovely work as always.
    Have a wonderful day.
    Regards, Sonia

  13. says

    What a fabulous cookies! I would be happy with just the biscuits and buttercream filling, but the raspberry jam really, really makes these cookies special! Lots and lots of flavors and textures. Great cookies Charles!

    • says

      Hi MJ – it had been so long since I’d had these… it was nice to revisit my childhood again, but you definitely need friends to share them with, hehe :)

  14. says

    These look so good Charles! And wouldn’t you know I just started drinking tea…and I’m actually starting to like it. I bet these cookies would make it even better. Maybe I’ll have an English tea party for myself. Wouldn’t the kids get a laugh if I started talking like a Brit all day. :) Cheerio!

    • says

      Hi Kristy – does that mean you weren’t (never?) drinking tea before? Oh my God… I feel it’s my duty to introduce you to some “good tea”. I have some absolute favourites…
      Keemun, Assam, Darjeeling are wonderful – Earl Grey and Lady Grey are great at the right time of day, you can’t beat a nice cup of Ceylon or English Breakfast either… mmm. Keemun is quite difficult to find I think – if you’d like I can send you some?

        • says

          Not really a fan, I must say Kelly. It’s ok in baking, and you made a hot latte or something a while back, right? Like that it looks pretty good, but just on its own? I dunno… just doesn’t do it for me.

          Incidentally, my wife (not a tea drinker) refers to our beloved drink as “dirty pond water with twigs and leaves floating in it”. Heathen!

      • says

        Never. Can you believe that! I’ve now had green tea, white tea with blueberry and Earl Grey. I think the white tea is my favorite so far, but I have enjoyed them all. It’s a rather relaxing drink (even with the caffeine). Keemun? I’m going to have to look for this one. :) I don’t think I’ve heard of Ceylon either. Oh I have so much to learn!!!

  15. says

    Ah, there’s nothing quite like a childhood favorite to tweak the memory, especially one associated with mom’s home baking. And Charles, I have to say, these look professionally accomplished; like I would expect to find at a fine bakery (and, really, you don’t make french fries?! I just don’t believe you! ;-)).

    Hey, I really like the perspective of turning the biscuit on its side – such a good idea! (you know how sometimes you’ll be looking at food photos and craving a view from a different angle just for fun? – you satisfied that with this series).

    • says

      Thanks Kelly, you’re too kind to say so. I’m not the most delicate person with piping and the like, but the cookies are quite forgiving, especially once you’ve dusted them down with icing sugar! :)

      Glad I could satisfy your urge to see the biscuit from a different view!

        • says

          Thanks for letting me know Kelly – good to see my hours (more like weeks…) of tweaking and research haven’t been in vain :)
          (Edit: and yes, I did accidentally comment as my wife just now :p, but thanks to the magic of editing, no-one will ever know, although I did just say so!)

  16. says

    Seriously, these cookies are one of the cutest thing you made!! I’ve never “pipe” before… but these cute shapes really make me want to try. I have so many things on my to do list when it comes to baking!

    • says

      Thank you Nami, I thought they came out rather well, and the good thing is, even if you’re not so talented in piping (like me) they will usually end up quite well in the end after baking! :)

  17. Carole says

  18. Kilian Metcalf says

    These just turned up on Food Porn Daily, and I nearly fainted they look so yummy. It’s 112 today in Tucson, and we’ll probably be in the triple digits for the next three months, so baking will have to wait. Come October, though, this is at the top of the list.

    • says

      Yikes, that’s pretty hot! It would take a lot to put me off baking. I figure I can always go sit in a tub of cold water after I’m done, hehe :D.

      Do give these a try when the temperature is down a bit, they’re really nice and popular too (they won’t last long when you show them to people! :D)

  19. says

    These are so darling! I thought those were macarons first. I adore your photo styling very much. I love sweets so I will copy this recipe.

    • says

      I can see how you could get them mixed up with macarons at first glance. I still didn’t try to make my own macarons before actually. Hopefully when I finally do, some day, they’ll have a rather more smooth surface than these :D.

  20. fiona says

    hi there, the biscuits look gorgeous and are also a childhood favourite of mine. Just wondering if i could make these biscuits 3 days in advance of eating and stored them in a tin before adding the filling and serving?Would they taste stale?Thanks!

    • says

      3 days… hmm, I think they should be ok. Make sure the tin is completely clean, as they’ll suck up all the other aromas of stale cake crumbs otherwise, and of course completely dry. They might not be optimum freshness, but I think they’ll still be pretty enjoyable!

      Hope you like them :)

    • says

      Hi Andria – I use salted butter usually. A lot of baking recipes ask for a “pinch of salt”… I figure that if you just use salted butter and forget the “pinch of salt” it saves time and gives a good flavour! :)

    • says

      I’d say a good few days. You’ll find that, even though they’re in an airtight container, the consistency will change a bit overnight and over the following days. They’ll become a bit more soft. I think they’re actually better like this! I probably wouldn’t want to keep them longer than 2 or 3 days in a tin, but they probably won’t be left there that long anyway since they’re so darn tasty 😀

      Thanks for stopping by!

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