Sweeeeeeeets! After I tried the silly sugar-free diet earlier this year, I uncovered a newfound respect for all things sweet. The subtle sweetness of almond milk in my morning weetbix, the drizzle of Manuka honey on my crispy toast, nature’s sweeteners in a slice of vine-ripened tomato or a plump sweet potato. It’s safe to say, I finally understood why the sensation of sweet was indelibly ingrained into our DNA; it’s just too good to give up. But The Sweet Swap was a whole new world, complete with the idea of boiled lollies, jiggly jubes, rocky roads and sticky fudge. ‘Welcome to a new side of your cooking repertoire, dear girl’, this exciting challenge declared to me. I had a heap of fun basically improvising a recipe I thought I could follow. And I’ll be honest, to this day, I still don’t know if my Salted Tahini-Choc Rocks were any good. Let me divulge into the story, just so it’s clear.
It started with my beloved SBS Feast magazine – this deliciously diverse and culturally-aware publication is my cooking Bible. I learn so much about all kinds of cuisines, techniques, historics, foodie destinations and so much more each month. I’m obsessed, and I’m pretty sure all my friends are begrudgingly aware of it! I trawled through my ever-growing collection to dig up a fun-filled, colourful special they did last year (Issue 17, 2013) titled ‘Sugar Rush: 50 Sweet Temptations’. I was pumped. Bring on the sugar-laden treats, I say! I needed something super simple; I can’t follow recipes for the life of me. A little less here, a little more there.Frantically flicking through its pages, I discovered Beijinho – Brazilian coconut caramel balls – and after hurrying to Coles, the adventure began. All was going swellingly until I had to wait for the caramel to change colour. It changed, but I don’t think I took it as far as I should because it didn’t set all too well and I needed a backup plan. How were they to survive the harsh world outside?! Chocolate, of course (duh). After dipping them into cocoa powder and realising they weren’t setting, I quickly melted a block of Lindt 70% and just prayed for the best. One by one, I messily dipped a caramel ball into the luscious, rich chocolate and waited for them to set. And guess what? It worked! But it felt like forever waiting for the magic to happen.I’m one of those people who is constantly tasting things they make, just to be 100% sure that someone won’t throw a dummy spit after tasting something odd. I did, after all, replace coconut milk with tahini and chucked in a little Fleur de Sel to balance out the sweetness of the creamy innards. Then suddenly, I found the perfect taste tester – while I was hurrying about, the Telstra electrician came over to install the internet (hallelujah, this took a month). I explained the sitch and gave him a spare piece while I waited in nervous anticipation. This guy was hilarious! It was as if he had practiced his tasting technique time and time again, swishing it around his mouth as if sipping a sharp, dry red wine at a cellar door. Finally, he swallowed in one gulp and exclaimed, ‘It’s good! The chocolate is very good, very nice. If the person likes soft caramel, they’d enjoy it’. I almost squealed with glee. But who knows, there is the possibility that my sweet receivers – Simon, Emily and Kate – prefer a harder caramel. Only they can know, I guess.I had saved the packaging from some Formaggi Ocello amaretti biscuits a friend had given me on my 21st and this was the perfect time to use them. I wrapped the sweets up tightly, wrote a loving message on zip-lock bags, enveloped that in beautiful pink gift paper and tucked my treats into post boxes. I hope they survived the trip to their faraway destinations. I tried my best guys – I hope you enjoyed them!
You can find the original recipe for Beijinho here.