I love reminiscing about the childhood treats from my youth – fairy bread, chocolate crackles, Australian Women’s Weekly Birthday Cakes, honey joys and more. This month’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is hosted by the lovely Sophie from The Sticky and Sweet with the theme Childhood Favourite. Today I will be sharing with you two of my favourite childhood sweet treats, reinvented into a tasty hybrid treat with an adult twist.
So I present to you… the Chocolate Joy. A Chocolate Crackle x Honey Joy concoction that has been given a very adult dress up. For overseas readers, a chocolate crackle is traditionally made of rice bubbles, copha, cocoa powder and desiccated coconut, whilst a honey joy is caramel in flavour and made of cornflakes, butter, honey and sugar.
I took the concept of a basic chocolate crackle and swapped out the rice bubbles for cornflakes. I used a mixture of 70% dark chocolate and butter to coat the cereal instead of cocoa powder and copha, and made a salted caramel topping to echo the flavours of a honey joy.
- 300g 70% dark chocolate
- 50g butter
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 3 cups cornflakes
- Store bought caramels (like Werther’s Caramel Chews)
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Melt the dark chocolate and butter together in the microwave in short bursts on medium.
- In a large bowl, mix the cornflakes and coconut together.
- Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the cornflakes and coconut, and stir until each piece of cereal is coated.
- Transfer the mixture into mini baking cases arranged on a tray – I use about a heaped teaspoon of mixture per case.
- Put the tray in the fridge to set whilst you make the cheat’s salted caramel.
- Melt around 15 Werther’s Caramel Chews (or similar caramel lolly) over a low heat. Add in sea salt and stir.
- Drizzle caramel over each Chocolate Joy. Tada!
And the result? A rich and chocolately crunchy treat that isn’t too sickly – with a nice salty and sweet drizzle to top it off. Bring these to your next birthday or fete and the adults will go wild! Thank you Sophie for thinking of such a fun theme!
What’s your favourite childhood treat?
I love Greek food but must admit it’s a cuisine I rarely eat. So when Alpha opened up in the CBD I rallied a posse of foodie ladies to try it out, and then bought my family back for a birthday several weeks later.
When Wasamedia contacted me to try out Alpha’s newly launched Saturday lunch menu I jumped at the chance. Another opportunity to try the delicious Greek offerings!
Alpha is located in a large and airy space on the ground floor of the Hellenic Club and boasts high ceilings and an impressive carved wall.
Most of the delicious meals we sample today are from Yia Yia’s menu which costs $55/person.
To start we sample some pita bread with Taromosalata (white cod’s roe dip) and Melitzanosalata (smoked eggplant dip).
Next up was the moreish Chickpea Falafels with coriander yoghurt and Baked Kalamata Olives.
I LOVE Spanakopita, which is a spinach and fetta pie, and this one did not disappoint. The crisp and flakey filo pastry contrasted well against the spinach, leek, fetta and dill filling.
Haloumi is pretty much my favourite thing in the world, and this dish is ONLY available in Yia Yia’s banquet. The Haloumi Saganaki is baked with ouzo, lemon and oregano, and yes it is heaven.
The Ouzo Cured Ocean Trout with a Fennel, Orange, Watercress and Sumac Onion Salad was scoffed quickly by my seafood-loving friends and I have on good authority that it was delicious.
Octopus Twice Cooked with spinach, white beans and red wine vinaigrette.
Eggplant Stack with Taramosolato and grilled scallops.
The Greek Spiced Slow Roasted Lamb Shoulder with Lemon Roast Potatoes and Tzatziki was one of the highlights of the meal for me – the lamb was tender and flavourful and the roast potatoes were crispy and well seasoned. (and there appears to be a ghost in the top left hand corner of my photo).
This is my kind of salad – one served with a slab of cheese on top! The Horiatiki Salad comes with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, red onions, olives and a VERY generous piece of fetta.
And for dessert? Greek doughnuts of course! Known as Loukomades, they are served with a spiced honey syrup and a candied walnut ice cream. I have ordered them every time I come here.
Alpha is a great post-work dinner option in the city, and now with their launch of the Saturday lunch menu, you have even more reasons to give it a try!
Alpha Restaurant is located at 238 Castlereagh Street, Sydney.
Love Swah dinned as a guest of Alpha and Wasamedia
Five legends of Australian cooking have been given the honour of being immortalised on a postage stamp as the recipients of the 2014 Australia Post Legends Award. These Legends of Cooking have been recognised for their influence over Australia’s food culture and the visionary role each have played in shaping Australia’s palate and laying the foundations of our gastronomic success.
And the winners? Industry greats including Margaret Fulton, Maggie Beer, Stephanie Alexander, Neil Perry and Kylie Kwong. The high profile kitchens have long been male-dominated so I was pleased to see the winners were mostly women!
Australia Post has kindly given me some Legends of Cooking product to give away to my readers! Enter below to win one of 20 gift packs (total RRP $580) which include the Legends of Cooking prestige book, the Legends of Cooking stamp set, complete set of 5 maxi cards (postcards) and first day covers (collector’s item).
*Sorry this competition is open to residents of Australia only
2013 seems to have flown past so quickly that it’s now the 9th of January 2014 and I still haven’t posted my wrap-up post! 2013 was a busy, exciting and sometimes stressful year. I travelled a lot – both domestically and internationally, the blog has been steadily attracting more attention and I feel my photography skills are evolving, I sold my cupcakes at a cafe and directly to customers, I gained many new freelance design clients, I produced and sold my own range of mini food and travel magazines, and I am finally getting the ball rolling on a few personal dream projects (which you will hear more about soon)!
I actually found it quite interesting to go through Google Analytics and find out what recipes my readers loved most this year, and am sharing my 5 most popular recipes:
These cupcakes are fun to make and heavenly to eat, so I am not surprised this came in as my #5 most popular recipe!
A rare healthy recipe for Love Swah, but this recipe I created was a hit with health nuts and dessert-lovers alike!
I took the humble red velvet cupcake and jazzed it up for Valentine’s Day – by icing it with white chocolate buttercream and hiding a delicious treat in the centre – a Lindt ball!
I managed to include not 1 but 2 types of alcohol in this boozy cake delight for St Patrick’s Day! Adding beer to chocolate cake may sound weird, but I honestly think it’s one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever made.
And… drumroll please… my most popular recipe for 2013? This one won by a landslide!
I did a series of Microwave Mug Cakes this year that were all really well received, but after my “breakfast in a cup” banana bread-style mug cake got featured on The Kitchn it really took off!
I hope you all have had a great start to 2014 and I look forward to sharing it with all my lovely readers. Thank you for your support!
I’ve always wanted to try and make my own ice cream, and have had limited success with no-churn ice creams and sorbets. But the texture was always not quite right, and I knew I needed some machinery to get the job done.
The ice cream maker is simple to use and produces drool-worthy ice creams (and can do frozen yoghurt, sorbets and whatever else your mind can dream up… possibly some kind of alcoholic slushie?). However, it does require organisation and time. The freezer bowl needs to be frozen 12+ hours before you start making your ice cream, something I didn’t initially realise (well, I would if I had read the instructions properly) but after this minor set back I was good to go! After I had churned my cream mixture for the recommended 20 minutes, it was still a little soft for my liking so I transferred it to the freezer for a final freeze per the instructions. And the result? Delicious, flavourful, creamy ice cream filled with coconut and salted caramel swirls. Watch out Ben & Jerry’s!
Here is my cream concoction in the maker in the early stages of being churned. You can see the flecks of vanilla bean scattered throughout.
As the ice cream mixture thickens and reaches nearly the end of its churning inside the machine, I trickle in the salted caramel.
The mixture is then transferred to an air tight container for a final freeze, a little more salted caramel is drizzled over the top and swirled (you can never have enough, right?)
**Please remember to freeze your freezer bowl per your maker’s instructions prior to starting this recipe**
- 1 cup (250ml) coconut milk
- ½ cup caster sugar
- 2 cups (500ml) thickened cream
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
- 2 tsp coconut extract
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 120ml water
- 1 cup thickened cream
- 2 tsp sea salt
- Dissolve the sugar into the water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and let it bubble away over a medium heat.
- The mixture should turn a golden caramel colour after around 5 minutes. DON’T stir the caramel mixture – the sugar will crystallize.
- Once the caramel has reached the desired colour, take it off the heat and add the salt and cream. Stir furiously as the caramel will want to harden quickly.
- Pop the caramel cream mixture in a small bowl and put it in the fridge to help cool down quickly.
- Use a hand mixer on a low speed to combine coconut milk and sugar until dissolved.
- Stir in thickened cream, vanilla bean seeds and coconut extract and mix until combined.
- Cover mixing bowl with cling wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
- Turn on your ice cream maker, pour the mixture into the freezer bowl and allow to mix until thickened – around 20 minutes. Pour in ⅓ of salted caramel and mix until just combined.
- Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and drizzle over a little more salted caramel and swirl. Place in the freezer for around 2 hours, or until firm.
- Serve in scoops with a generous drizzle of leftover salted caramel!
If you got an ice cream maker, what would be the first thing you make?
Love Swah was gifted the Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker by Kitchenware Superstore. Opinions expressed here are my own.
I LOVE gingerbread and make it regularly using a recipe I’ve been baking since I was a kid. When Brasserie Bread offered us the chance to take a gingerbread decorating class I couldn’t wait! I have done a bread making course with Brasserie Bread before, and find their courses informative, fun and most of all DELICIOUS (both times I have gotten to sample a selection of their breads at the end and died a little of happiness).
I went along to the class with foodie friends Dining with a Stud, Corridor Kitchen, VegeTARAian, Cooking Crusade and Cats Love Cooking, and we were buzzing with excitement even before we started snacking on the lollies (which were intended for decorative purposes, ehem).
We were each given a big slab of gingerbread dough and we got to work rolling out to about 4mm thick. Then we cut out shapes using a array of cookie cutters including the festive standards of a Christmas tree, stars and baubles, followed by the less standard shapes of cats, dogs and a cupcake!
Gingerbread making heaven!
We put our shapes on a big baking tray and it was sent off to the ovens to bake. Whilst we waited, we were given some shapes that the team had prepared earlier for us. I had great fun decorating them with royal icing, and did you know the green icing was naturally dyed with spinach and the pink with beetroot?
Our cookies are now out of the oven and baked to golden perfection. There is nothing better than chomping down on a freshly baked piece of gingerbread. I took all mine home “to decorate” however my housemates and I thought they were so delicious we ate them… all.
And a class at Brasserie Bread wouldn’t be complete without a tasting of their fine breads along with some Pepe Saya butter and delicious cheeses.
And Brasserie Bread have kindly let me share their gingerbread recipe with you!
- 560g organic unbleached plain flour
- 2.5g salt
- 2.5g baking soda
- 10g ground ginger
- 2.5g ground cinnamon
- 2.5g ground nutmeg
- 200g unsalted butter
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 160g golden syrup
- 30g whole egg
- 40g egg yolk
- 20g egg white
- 125g icing sugar
- Squeeze of lemon
- Preheat oven to 160C. Sift flour, baking soda and spices together with salt.
- Cream butter, sugar and golden syrup in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the egg and egg yolks slowly.
- Add the dry ingredients in batches.
- Mix thoroughly, then shape into a rectangle log. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
- On a lightly floured bench, roll dough out to a 3-4mm thickness. Cut out shapes and place on baking paper (off cuts can be remoulded and used again).
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes until very light golden colour.
- Cool on trays, then store in an airtight container until ready to use.
- Mix together egg whites with a squeeze of lemon juice.
- Gradually stir in sifted sugar then whip until light and fluffy.
- Colours may be added and could include beetroot juice (for red) and spinach juice (for green).
If you need a last minute idea for entertaining your kids before Christmas than this is the perfect idea at only $20 per child!
Gingerbread Decorating Classes (suitable for ages 5-12):
Click here or phone 1300 966 845 for current availability.
Saturday 21 December, 9.00-9.30am
Sunday 22 December, 9.00-9.30am, 10.00-10.30am, 11.00-11.30am, 12.00-12.30pm, 1.00-1.30pm
Monday 23 December, 9.00-9.30M
Tuesday 24 December, 10.00-10.30am, 12.00-12.30pm, 1.00-1.30pm
Swah attended Brasserie Bread’s Gingerbread Decorating Class as a guest of Brasserie Bread.
I was super excited when I found out that this month’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop was truffle themed! No, not that delicious smelling mushroom, but a ganache-filled chocolate treat. My mind whirred with Christmassy ideas… snowman truffles with a spiced centre? Truffles decorated as mini Christmas puddings?
I finally settled on the idea of Christmas bauble truffles – I initially was going to make them white chocolate and coconut, and at the last moment changed it to lime. Not only did it taste delicious but the flecks of green in the ganache made it suitably themed! And, this is a big call, but I think these white chocolate and lime truffles taste better than those white choc Lindt balls I go nuts over. Really, try it for yourself.
These definitely ended up more “rustic” (ie messy) than I hoped, as I ideally I wanted a perfectly round truffle to hang from my Christmas tree. But alas when the truffles dry, the melted chocolate naturally flattens a bit on the bottom.
- ⅓ cup thickened cream
- 250g good quality white chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 300g white chocolate melts
- Heat the cream in short bursts in the microwave until simmering hot.
- Add the chopped white chocolate and stir until it’s melted and smooth.
- Stir in the lime zest, cover with cling wrap and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Scoop out ganache into balls using a melon baller or teaspoon. Gently roll the balls in your hand for an even finish.
- If the weather is hot, put the balls back in the fridge for 30 minutes on a tray lined with baking paper so they don’t stick.
- To add their hangers, use a toothpick or skewer to pierce a hole directly through the truffle.
- Cut equal lengths of elastic and tie a knot at the bottom.
- Thread the elastic through the truffle, the knot will ensure it doesn’t pull completely through.
- Melt the remaining white chocolate in the microwave.
- Dip each truffle into the melted chocolate, coating evenly. Return to the baking tray to harden.
- Pipe a little circle around the base of the string with white chocolate or an edible cake gel pen to make it look like a bauble.
- Decorate your tree!
I loved getting creative with this recipe (and enjoyed eating them even more). I hope you like these Christmas baubles too!
In America I stumbled upon a delicious snack (in Walgreens of all places) which involved chocolate covered pretzels covered in crushed candy canes. The salty pretzel combined with the rich dark chocolate and minty candy cane was a winning flavour combination and NEEDED to be made into cupcake form.
I used my chocolate Devil’s Food Cupcakes as a base, and topped it with a subtle peppermint-flavoured buttercream. It was then adorned with chocolate-dipped salted pretzels (“antlers”) and finished with a dusting of crushed candy canes. Delicious and suitably festive.
- 7 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 tbsp instant coffee powder
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 250ml boiling water
- 125g butter (room temperature)
- ⅔ cup caster sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 1⅔ cups plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 160g butter, softened
- 4-5 cups icing sugar
- 1 tsp peppermint extract
- A dash of milk, if required
- 100g dark chocolate melts
- Salted pretzels (large)
- Candy canes
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 x 12 muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- Stir the cocoa powder, coffee and brown sugar in a bowl and pour over the boiling water. Whisk to mix and set aside.
- Cream the butter and caster sugar together until pale and fluffy and then add the vanilla extract.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Slowly add the flour, bicarb and baking powder. Pour in the cocoa/coffee mixture and beat until just combined.
- Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin tins and fill approximately ¾ full (this recipe should make around 18 cupcakes)
- Bake in the oven for 18-20 minutes or until the cupcakes slightly spring back when touched.
- Allow the cupcakes to cool slightly in their tin before turning out onto a wire rack.
- Place the softened butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth.
- Gradually add in the icing sugar and beat for around 3-5 minutes until smooth and creamy.
- Add the peppermint extract and a dash of milk if needed until it’s a spreadable consistency.
- Spoon the mixture into an icing bag with a nozzle attached and ice the cupcakes.
- Melt the chocolate in short bursts in the microwave, stirring occasionally until melted.
- Dip broken pretzel pieces into the chocolate, allow excess to drip off, and then allow to harden on a baking paper-lined tray.
- Crush candy canes in their plastic bag(s) with a rolling pin.
- Stick hardened choc-pretzels into the iced cupcakes and sprinkle crushed candy canes over the top.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting the re-opening of the Paramount Complex which now features the Golden Age Cinema (I’ve been to see a movie, it’s amazing) and now The Paramount Coffee Project, a cafe with great coffee and mouth-watering food.
I’ve since been twice to The Paramount Coffee Project, and I look forward to returning again and again to work my way through the menu!
I started off my first visit with a cold filter coffee – this is my new favourite way to drink coffee, especially with the weather heating up. It was smooth and refreshing and definitely didn’t need any sugar or milk added. Don’t ruin it.
Cold filter coffee and macchiato
I am hopelessly obsessed with peppermint tea and the idea of mint and lavender together sounds like a match made in heaven!
Mint and lavender tea
The pan fried brioche was rich and decadent, with crispy edges and a heavenly sweet topping. A delicious sweet breakfast but the sweet waffle takes the crown.
French Toast brioche with banana custard, blueberries, chocolate dirt and pistachios
This sweet waffle is arguably their most popular dish and boy does it live up to the hype! I have ordered it twice but beware, share. I could not for the life of me finish it.
Sweet waffle, peanut butter ice-cream, dulce de leche and hazelnut
The sweet waffle’s brother gives a savoury twist with a fried egg, bacon and mexican toppings.
PCP Waffle: fried egg, guacamole, maple bacon, pico de gallo
The fried chicken was deliciously spiced, crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. I loved the ‘slaw it came with but to be honest I wasn’t mad on the creole relish. I would love if there was the option to put this into burger form = heaven.
Double fried chicken with house slaw and creole relish
Despite being spoilt with choice for brunch options in Surry Hills, I think The Paramount Coffee Project is definitely one of my favs. And yes, it’s worth queueing for!
What’s your favourite place to go to brunch at the moment?
What a task I had… to try every cupcake shop I stumbled upon in America (and there are LOTS of them) on my quest to find the best cupcake in America for Love Swah. How I must suffer for my “art”.
The quality of American cupcakes overall, particularly chain cupcakes, was high and much better than the cupcake chains in Australia (you know who you are, you dry and overly sweet places). There were a few major fails (see Magnolia Bakery below), but on the whole this was a very delicious and satisfying search! Now, to the gym.
Starting from #8 – my least favourite, all the way to #1 which I am awarding America’s Best Cupcake!
Magnolia Bakery is one of New York’s most well-known cupcake shops, made famous by Sex and the City. Does it live up to the hype? Certainly not. Which is why I am awarding it last place in my cupcake search.
Honestly I was quite surprised and disappointed. I have their cookbook and frequently bake their cupcake recipes with great success. The red velvet cake was dry and flavourless, and the icing was overly sweet and I couldn’t taste the cream cheese. I ate barely half before throwing it in the bin. My friend had a similar experience with her chocolate cupcake.
#7 Kara’s Cupcakes - 3249 Scott Street, San Francisco
I couldn’t work out why my vanilla cupcake with passion fruit filling tasted overwhelmingly of marzipan. I later found out they top their cupcakes with marzipan (which I am allergic to as it contains almonds) instead of fondant. This annoyed me and they need to make this clearer. Apart from the “marzipan incident” it was a pretty ordinary cupcake. The base was dry and bland, and the icing a little too sweet. The passion fruit filling was delicious though.
Could cupcakes that are vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free taste any good? Well, no. These didn’t. And they were expensive (US$4.75 each)! The flavours were good (lemon and carrot) but the cake was dry and the icing a weird chewy texture (almost like modelling clay… weird).
I was very excited when I walked into Crumbs. So many giant cupcakes in unique flavours such as Cookie Dough and Stuffed Pecan Pie! I decided to sway from my usual preference of lemon/vanilla/red velvet and get a White Hot Chocolate cupcake. This was a vanilla cake filled with white chocolate mousse topped with vanilla cream cheese frosting edged with mini white chocolate chips and topped with marshmallows and white chocolate drizzle. WHOA.
It was sweet. Very sweet. But given the above description you would assume that. It took me several attempts to eat it over a few hours. I late found out Crumbs uses high fructose corn syrup which I found really disappointing (and explained the sickly sweetness). Overall it was a good cupcake but I don’t think my blood sugar levels could handle another.
Miette is so cute and I am sure I will talk about it again in future Sweet USA-related posts. Their chocolate cupcake was rich and moist and the vanilla icing was delicious and creamy but not too sweet (finally!) This cupcake was a strong contender but not the best one I found in my search. Miette does, however, win the award for best confectionary – their Fleur de Sel Caramels were out of this world. Why didn’t I buy 50?!
#3 Eleni’s New York - Chelsea Market, 75 Ninth Avenue @ 15th Street, New York
Eleni’s is a nut-free bakery filled with an amazing array of cookies and cupcakes. I will definitely be talking about it more on future Sweet USA posts. I tossed up between the lemon and red velvet cake before finally settling on the former. I can never go past a lemon cupcake. The cupcake was moist and icing was lemony and delicious. I also heard their chocolate cupcakes are amazing after I left, so please try one for me!
Sprinkles claims the title of the world’s first cupcake bakery and the progenitor of the gourmet cupcake craze. That’s quite a big claim! I joined the long queue of cupcake-fans and finally got my hands on a lemon cupcake. The lemon cupcake was moist and bursting with flavour. The lemon-vanilla frosting was heavenly, it was the perfect texture and had the right amount of lemon zest. I was a very happy Swah.
And the number 1 cupcake in America? Drum roll please….
#1 The Little Cupcake Bakeshop - 30 Prince Street, New York and 9102 Third Avenue, Brooklyn
The red velvet cupcake was so so moist (I hate that word, but it needs to be used several times in this post) and the cream cheese icing actually tasted like cream cheese. Unlike whatever the hell Magnolia used. In fact this red velvet cupcake was almost as good as mine! Haha. The coconut cloud cupcake was light and flavoursome with a strong coconut taste and hit the spot. These cupcakes won for overall flavour, texture and taste. Yum!
*Notable mentions – Billy’s Cupcakes, Georgetown Cupcakes and Sugar Sweet Sunshine are other great cupcake stores that were not visited on this particular trip.
What do you think of my list – have you tried any of these cupcakes on your travels and do you agree or disagree? I’d love to hear your opinions!
I love reminiscing about the childhood treats from my youth – fairy bread, chocolate crackles, Australian Women’s Weekly Birthday Cakes, honey joys and more. This month’s Sweet Adventures Blog Hop is [...]
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