Often following the one recipe for cupcakes or cookies produces way too much for me alone to eat. For this reason I’ve got fellow foodie work colleagues, friends and family who are more than willing to be my culinary guinea pigs. But about a few months ago, I received an email from Sara of Belly Rumbles, a fellow Sydney food blogger who wanted to let me know about a plan, called The Sweet Swap.
The Sweet Swap is an online event for Australian food & lifestyle bloggers which results in packages of sweets arriving on your doorstep and a few friendships formed. Each blogger is matched with three other bloggers and will mail off parcels of homemade lollies to their matches. In return three parcels of lollies arrive on your doorstep. We all post about the experience and get a lot of inspiration and ideas from one another. The small registration fee goes to charity (Child Fund Australia) and then you can get your bake on!
As exciting as this was, the prospect of other food bloggers reviewing my food was also ridiculously scary. You also had to make something that you haven’t already blogged about.
It took me some time to brainstorm ideas, taking into consideration factors such as postage cost, heat and temperature, packaging, fragility, and once I got my swaps – dietary requirements. I had one person who was allergic to a few specific nuts but I decided that on the safe side, to put a blanket ban on any nut products.
Ultimately, I decided to make honeycomb. Well, I dubbed it ‘Hokey Pokey Honeycomb’, to be precise. A sweet, moreish treat that would hopefully be quite a light package and wouldn’t shatter too easily upon impact during its travel.
You will need:
- 215g caster sugar;
- 80ml honey;
- 1 + 1/2 tablespoons cold water;
- pinch salt;
- 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate-of-soda;
- 100g good-quality eating chocolate.
Line a baking tray with paper. Place the caster sugar, honey, cold water and pinch of salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until dissolved. Increase the heat to high and boil until a sugar thermometer reaches 145 degrees Celcius and the mixture turns golden.
Working quickly, remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the bicarb. The mixture will whoosh up in a glorious caramel-coloured cloud.
Pour this gorgeous liquid honeycomb out onto the baking tray and allow to sit in a cool, dry room for approximately two hours or so until set.
At this point, you can choose whether you want to drizzle your melted chocolate over the entire slab or break it up first before doing so. I chose to do it afterwards as I wanted to first test the consistency of the honeycomb, but it would be much easier if you did it the first way. After two hours of cooling, it should be brittle enough for you to break it cleanly with your hands. Don’t worry about any of the smaller shards – they’re wonderful sprinkled over ice cream 😉
Over a double saucepan, melt the dark chocolate until it’s glossy.
With a small spoon, drizzle it over the set honeycomb and allow to sit at room temperature until it sets.
Now to package it with love and care!
And off in the post they went! I fretted over whether or not they would arrive, but was reassured when Instagram photos (tagged #thesweetswap) popped up of my deliciously sticky treat!
But I was even happier when my own arrived, of course 😉
My first package was from Humble Crumble, who sent me a little gift box of Black Forest Fudge.
While rich in chocolate, it was offset perfectly by the tart, sour cherries and I hoovered up a few of these gorgeous little treats as soon as I opened the box. They were so good!
The package which arrived the next day was a funny one. I had been looking through the Instagram photos for The Sweet Swap when I saw that with one poor blogger – one was gluten-intolerant, and the other allergic to nuts! I really couldn’t imagine anything more difficult… but saw from her photo that she had produced some lovely little traditional Indonesian cheese biscuits made from starch flour. And I had such a big laugh when these arrived on my doorstep the next day!
Wonderfully buttery and crumbly, the biscuits were almost sweet and savoury at the same time and as the label promised, did ‘melt in my mouth’! Unfortunately though the blogger only gave me her first name and while I know her Instagram name, I don’t know what her blog’s name is so I can credit her here! But they were deliciously cute biscuits that I greatly enjoyed.
The last package was a little later but well worth it. I just got back from doing the grocery shopping when I spotted that there was a large Express Post bag on the shelf in the garage – turns out the postman left it there on Friday! Reading that it was addressed to ‘Confessions of a Glutton’, I eagerly took it inside and ripped it open with great anticipation.
It was a gorgeously packed box by Natasha at Playing House in Adelaide, full of moustache-chocolate-pops!
The ‘mos came in Choc-Peanut Butter, Pink Chocolate with Raspberry & White Chocolate Ganache, and Dark Chocolate Freckle. My favourite had to be the Pink Chocolate with Raspberry & White Chocolate Ganache – the ganache inside had the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Tash had also enclosed a cute note to apologise for the delay in posting and said that when she sold cupcakes at the markets, she had a competition called ‘Snap a Stache’, where people would send in photos of themselves with a chocolate ‘mo to win a dozen cupcakes. What a brilliant idea!
So which ‘mo suits me the best? 😉