If you are part of the ‘I Quit Sugar’ brigade, back away from this post now. By the time you get to the end, your whole exterior will be lightly dusted in sugar crystals and if the sugar high doesn’t kill you, the fat content will finish you off. For the rest of you sensible people, read on…
Last year I saw mention of The Sweet Swap, where food bloggers across Australia cooked and swapped sweets with one another. I saw a few posts about it after the event and thought ‘That sounds like fun’. This year, when I saw someone tweet about it, I did a little more investigation. Turns out it’s very well organised with registration, coordination, rules, instructions and deadlines. My kind of activity. Even better, money raised via registration goes to charity. So I registered. Afterall, when you’ve only got just over a month until you go on overseas holiday, why not add an extra deadline into the mix? On Monday 11th August I received the name of the three bloggers I was going to prepare and send my sweets to. Luckily for me, Wednesday 15th was the Ekka Show Day public holiday in Brisbane so I was able to get the jump on events by making all of the sweets. Best of all though was that my chosen sweet, Butterscotch Brazils, takes less than 10 minutes to cook and only a few minutes to turn out on a baking sheet. Thankfully, none of my Sweet Swappers had a nut intolerance.
What Goes Around
After I sent off my sweets, I camped at the letterbox, waiting for my own little surprises to arrive. I received goodies from A Cupcake Or Two and Create Bake Make including Salted Caramels w Fennel & Chilli (as good as they sound), Caramel Hazelnut Fudge and Caramel Tim Tam Rumballs (mostly eaten by the time I took the photo). Thank you! You can follow The Sweet Swap on FB so you know when it’s on again next year and can join in the fun. Whilst you’re there, please follow my blog page on FB too! The link is just over there to your right, in the middle of the sidebar.
Everything Old Is New Again
I love this recipe and use it regularly at Christmas, to turn out impressive looking sweets to use as gifts. The thing that makes it so easy is that the toffee for the butterscotch is made in the microwave. We all know how touchy any hot sugar and water mix can be. It can catch, stick, crystallise, burn, spit and basically be just a pain to get right. Making the toffee in the microwave means you don’t have to worry about the toffee sticking or catching, you don’t need a sugar thermometer and it’s easier to stop it over browning (ie: burning) at the end of the cook. This recipe is in the 1989 Women’s Weekly Microwave Cookbook. It was a gift from my at the time, 11 month old baby brother – he put an inscription in it but I think he might have had some help from my Mum… I can’t say I cook from it much but I’ve always kept it as it has a brilliant section on microwave sweets and jams and a great recipe for Lemon Delicious Pudding. Over time, I’ve had to modify the recipe as microwaves have become more powerful. It shouldn’t be too hard to find in an op shop as they seem to be overflowing with microwave cook books.
Originally this recipe took nearly 20 minutes in the microwave. Now it takes only 8! This would be just as succesful with pecans, walnuts or almonds but there is something attractive about that large buttery Brazil sitting on that bed of crunchy butterscotch that continues to maintain its appeal.
(adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly)
- 1 cup sugar (white or raw)
- 1/2 cup liquid glucose
- 1/4 cup water
- 60g butter
- 100g brazil nuts
- 2 baking trays lined with parchment or silicone mats
- Place sugar, glucose and water in a large microwave proof glass or china dish. (I use a good old brown tinted Pyrex bowl)
- Cook on high for 4 minutes, stopping every minute to stir and dissolve sugar. Mixture will start to bubble a little towards the end.
- After all sugar is dissolved, cook toffee on high for 4 minutes. Mixture will bubble up and start to change.
- Watch mixture, particularly in the last minute. It should not get too brown. You may need 30 secs less or more, depending on the power of your microwave.
- Remove dish from microwave and place on heat proof surface. Give a quick stir with a fork and then add the butter. Stir quickly to dissolve butter and turn toffee into butterscotch.
- Tumble brazil nuts into bowl and stir to coat in toffee.
- Working quickly with 2 teaspoons, scoop a nut and some of the butterscotch mixture and drop it onto a lined baking tray. Quickly pick up next nut and spoonful of toffee and repeat.
- As you work and butterscotch starts to cool, small strands will form between the bowl and the nuts you are placing on the baking tray. Ignore these, they will easily snap off when you are finished. The trick is to get all of the nuts sitting on a bed of butterscotch before it cools and hardens.
- Allow trays of nuts to cool. They are then ready to package up in airtight containers. Voila!
Bri, Deepa and Gabby were the recipients of my Swaps. I hope they enjoyed their sweets, even though they now know that I barely lifted a finger to make them. If you haven’t visited Eat Meets West, One Small Pot and Baking With Gab make sure you follow them on social media; stop in to read what they’re up to; say ‘hi’ and tell them ‘Microwave Girl’ sent you.