Well, it’s hard to believe but our 2013 event The Sweet Swap is almost over. Six months ago Sara (Belly Rumbles) and I started working on an idea Sara had for an event where Australian food and lifestyle bloggers cook and send parcels of sweet treats in the post to three other bloggers all while raising money for ChildFund Australia. Based on the extremely successful international Cookie Swap event already in its second year, we wanted The Sweet Swap to challenge and delight its participants.
And challenge it did…
Everyone can bake a cookie, but what if we were forced to be a little more creative? Forced to step out of our comfort zone and push ourselves to try something that we’ve never tried before. Well, let me tell you, making sweets is definitely a challenge – which 55 Australian bloggers found out.
Sara and I spent four nail biting weeks watching social media as many of The Sweet Swap participants tried elements of their recipes multiple times and took to twitter to voice their frustrations. We were amazed at how much everyone was pushing themselves and hoping to god that you would all realise that it was worth it once packages started arriving on your doorsteps.
Well my friends… was it all worth it? We think it was!
It was a lot of work from our end, but we loved it. We both feel we’ve learnt a lot in the process of organising the inaugural event and are delighted to announce that the event will definitely be back in 2014!
Monday 15 July is the date when all 55 blogger who participated take to their blogs to talk about their experience and share their recipes. From these posts there will be three prizes drawn for Best Recipe, Best Photo and Best Post with the winners receiving great prizes from our event partner Russell Hobbs. Good luck!
I’d like to take a moment to talk about my gorgeous co-host of The Sweet Swap, Sara (Belly Rumbles). I have absolutely loved working with Sara on The Sweet Swap and together we have forged an amazing friendship that will stand the test of time. A big big thank you to Sara for being the amazing and wonderful friend that you are!
So, without further ado, here are my Sweet Swap matches for 2013
1. Unbelievably flavourful Peanut Butter Fudge from Christine at Cooking Crusade – Thanks Christine!
2. Caramelised Cornflake Pralines; Lemon Myrtle & Thyme Shortbread; and Chocolate & Peanut Butter Fudge from Monica at Gastromony – Yep, I got THREE treats from Monica!!
3. Mallow Rough from Johnny at Perfection Chocolates – You have to teach me how you make that amazing marshmallow!
I’m a total lover of Italian nougat and have often thought about making it, but I just never got around to it. Well, the sweet swap has rectified that oversight and after a session of flavour planning and recipe development and a few hours in the kitchen, I sent the following three lovelies my Pistachio, Walnut and Coconut Nougat (at least I hope they all received them in the post!):
1. Billy from A Table for Two
2. Tina from bitemeshowme
3. Daisy from Never Too Sweet
I’m delighted to share this recipe with you all below – I highly recommend trying to make your own nougat sometime. It’s just so unbelievably tasty when its freshly made!
Pistachio, Walnut and Coconut Nougat
6 sheets rice paper
Whites from 3 eggs
150g whole pistachio nuts
150g whole walnuts
50g slivered almonds
25g coconut flakes
400g caster sugar
200g liquid glucose
1 tsp orange zest
Preheat a fan forced oven to 150°C. Then place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Oil a baking tray and then line with baking paper ensuring the paper sticks well into the edges. Top the baking sheet with three rice paper sheets (or cut down the third sheet if it won’t fit in its entirety). Set aside.
Once the oven has reached heat place pistachios, walnuts, almonds and coconut flakes on another baking tray and place in the oven for 18 minutes or until lightly toasted.
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar, honey, liquid glucose, water and orange zest and insert a candy thermometer. Cook and stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture comes to the boil. When the syrup reaches 118°C turn the stand mixture on medium high speed and beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form.
When the syrup has reached 142°C gradually add it to the beating egg whites slowly in a steady stream. Once the syrup is incorporated and the mixture is thick and glossy, turn off the mixer and with a wooden spoon stir in the lightly toasted nuts until well combined.
Carefully transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tray spreading the mixture out till it evenly fills the tray. Top the mixture with the three remaining rice paper sheets and press down ensuring even contact. Place a wooden board on top and weigh it down.
Set aside for an hour to cool completely. After it has cooled, turn onto a clean work surface and using a very sharp serrated knife, cut nougat into desired shape/size.