Sunday, 14 July 2013

Macadamia Toffee Crisps and Sweet Swap 2013

Picture this ....


Sea views


5 o'clock - well, it is somewhere!

Wine in hand


July 1

A casual question

That casual question from husband John - in the space of a nano second - threw my relaxed state into into one of panic and called me to urgent action!

"That Sweet Swap blog thing - when are you meant to post off those sweets?" he enquired, breaking into my relaxed revere.

"Oh, next week - July 3rd - there's plenty of time," I replied, quietly pleased at his interest.

A little silence ensued.

"July 3rd," he repeated.

"Yes, we'll be home by then," I answered, as I drank in the view and took another sip of wine.

I will leave it for you to imagine my horror and dismay when he gently reminded me that we had decided to stay on for an extra few days in our top secret holiday destination - OK, beautiful unspoilt Coffin Bay - and that we were watching the sun set on July 1st!

New to blogging I had been excited to join my first blogging event - the 2013 Sweet Swap and had eagerly awaited the email notifying me of the three bloggers to whom I would send my package of sweets. I had tossed around idea after idea about what I would send - narrowing my list down as I considered current food trends, cooking techniques, how well the items would travel,  presentation and packaging and most important of all - taste.

Checking the blogs of the soon-to-be recipients of my sweets - Love Swah, Muppys and The Hangry Bitch - I was immediately impressed by the youth, sophistication, skills, experience and talents of each. How humble I felt in comparison. Where, I wondered, are all the comfort cooking baby boomer bloggers who managed to turn out those fabulous dinner parties of the 70's and 80's - surely I'm not the only one!

Back to the deck.... 

My immediate dilemma was that I had two days in which to have my sweets in the post. Plenty of time you would think! Well, life wasn't meant to be easy!

I found myself
  • an 8 hour drive from my kitchen
  • with access to only the basic equipment of a holiday apartment
  • the nearest supermarket was a 90 kilometre round trip
  • we were planning to return home on the very day the sweets were to be posted.
I was doomed! My first blogger event and I'd messed it up.

How appreciative I was when my ever resourceful husband rescued me! "Let's pack tonight," he suggested. "We'll head home tomorrow."

Indescribable relief swept over me. I can cook my sweet treats on Wednesday morning and package and post them later in the day. I am saved!

More culling of my list occurs on the long trip home. With limited time now I can't afford to do anything complex or to make any mistakes - and one of my recipients is allergic to almonds. The pressure is on!

I finally settle on an old favourite Toffee Almond Crisps, and decide to substitute macadamia nuts for the almonds. They are now Macadamia Toffee Crisps! The recipe is from the book that taught me to cook many of my favourite things - the original Australian Women's Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook.  I treasure my blotched, tatty copy. It's destined, I think, to become a coveted family heirloom!

Home Sweet Home....

Wednesday morning I'm out of bed early! I assemble the ingredients to make three batches of my Macadamia Toffee Crisps. Fuelled by numerous cups of coffee the kitchen becomes a hot house of activity. I'm beginning to feel how I imagine contestants in my favourite cooking shows must feel when under the pump. Hubby wisely decides to make a gracious exit and leave me to it!

I haven't made these crisps in years and so am excited when the first batch turns out perfectly - just like in the book! And I've remembered to take some photographs. Two ticks so far.

I confidently get the second batch going - but disaster ensues. Impatience has resulted in my failing to ensure that the sugar was completely dissolved before bringing the syrup to the boil. As a result the toffee tastes great but is crystallised.

I catch my breath and take extra care with the third batch.

By now time is racing away. I turn my attention to the packaging and ready the boxes. My hands are a bit trembly as I finally lower the crisps into the boxes and tie them up. Standing back, I'm quietly pleased with the way they look, and silently hope that my recipients will enjoy opening them - and enjoy eating the contents. 

Later there is a wonderful feeling of satisfaction as I hand the Express Post packages across the counter at the Post Office and send those Macadamia Toffee Crisps on their way. 'Travel well' is my final silent wish as I bid them farewell and send them off to far distant kitchens.

Checking the postbox I am excited to have received three intriguing parcels.

Gasps of delight!                                                                                                                              
Opening the packages reveals that I have been sent

They are all sweet mouthfuls of gorgeousness - I am transported to sugar fuelled heaven! 
Oh my! I can highly recommend these sweet treats!

I can't wait to try each recipe and so eagerly check out these bloggers and their blogs. Again I find that these fabulous cooks are clever, articulate and young! Hello, Gen H - hippies of the 70's! Is there anyone out there!

I had cause later on to reflect as I enjoyed yet another cup of coffee - and one more of each of the sweet treats I'd been sent - that participating in my first Sweet Swap had been much, much more fun - and more of an adventure - than I had anticipated it would be! 

Next year, I promised myself, I'll be prepared - Scout's Honour!

And so to the recipe.....

Macadamia Toffee Crisps


90gms butter
1 cup castor sugar
1/2 cup water
185gms chopped, toasted macadamia nuts
125gms chocolate


Cover a large oven tray with baking paper. Mark with 5cm circles.

Chop the nuts and lightly toast in a moderate oven for 5 minutes. Watch closely to ensure the nuts do not burn.

Place the sugar, water and butter in a saucepan. Stir the mixture over low heat - but do not allow to boil - until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Proceed with caution as failure to ensure this step is completed satisfactorily will result in your crisps turning into a crystallised mess (see above)! Test by examining the mixture on the back of a spoon - it should be completely smooth and without even the slightest sign of graininess - which indicates undissolved sugar.

When the sugar is completely dissolved boil without stirring over high heat for 8 minutes or until a pleasing  dark golden brown. Remove the mixture from the heat and immediately add the nuts.
Stir only to combine the mixture. Too much stirring will also result in a sugary mixture.

Working quickly place spoonfuls of mixture into the circles and press out with the back of a spoon. Leave to cool. Makes about 18 - 20 crisps.

 Melt the chocolate and cool slightly. Turn the crisps over and spread the flat side with chocolate. Allow the chocolate to set before serving with a coffee.

You will have earned it!  Enjoy!

My thanks go to Amanda at Chew Town and Sara at Belly Rumbles for hosting this event. 

I, for one, can't wait for Sweet Swap 2014!



  1. I can't believe you cut your holiday short! (or cut the extended version short). There definitely are food bloggers out there who are older than gen x/y - one of my favourites is Charlie @

    1. I really did cut my holiday short! But it was worth it!

      Thanks for the link to Charlie at - I checked him out and left a comment!

  2. So pleased (and relieved) that the brownies arrived safely!

    1. They were perfect! And good with my coffee!

  3. Your macadamia toffee crisps were absolutely delicious and packaged so nicely! Thank you :)

    1. Thanks so much! I'm so glad you enjoyed them!

  4. Love the post.... it really made me laugh! Such dedication to cut your holiday short!! The Macadamia Crisps look like they were worth the effort :-)

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Sophie! I was under a certain amount of pressure! The crisps are REALLY good! I can recommend them!

    2. oooh, I know that feeling of panic - is my default setting :) This was my first hands-on blogging event and I loved it! Bring on next year! These look sooooo great - anything with macadamia has my vote x

    3. Murphy's law certainly seemed to be in action! Thanks so much for the vote!

  5. Oh dear! I'm sorry you had to cut your holiday short! The macadamia toffee crisps went down a treat!

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the Macadamia Toffee Crisps - it makes the long drive home worth the effort!

  6. haha i love your story! they were really very delicious, and very much appreciated, can't believe you cut your holiday short. and i did love the beautiful packaging - my kids were so excited :)

  7. I can laugh at my story now! It didn't seem so funny at the time! I'm thrilled that you and your kids appreciated the packaging - I was very pleased with it and just prayed that the boxes would travel well!

  8. I am so glad you participated, but wow cutting your holiday short, that is pure dedication. Your macadamia toffee crisps look amazing.

    I too have good old ratty tatty over used Women's Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook. Oh and I may not be a baby boomer, but I only just scrape into Gen X... just.....

    1. I wouldn't have missed participating in the Sweet Swap for quids, Sara! Thanks again for your organisation of such a great event!

      PS Gen X - I think that probably makes me old enough to be your (young) mother!

  9. Wow Marian, this is an intriguing event! It sounds like a lot of fun and I know that degree of stress you describe would have had you performing at your best! Your photographs are brilliant and the crisps look delightful, particularly with that coffee. I feel enthused to get baking. Thank you!

    1. Amy, I'm so glad I have been able to enthuse you about baking! This was my first event - and I'm hooked! I can recommend it! Thanks for your feedback.

  10. I really love this blog. The time, thought, effort and love put in to these Macadamia Toffee Crisps can be clearly seen by the end result.

  11. Dan, thank you so much for your encouragement and feedback! I am inspired to keep developing as a blogger!

  12. I can't believe you left your holiday early for The Sweet Swap! Never in our wildest dream did Sara and I think this event would cause such dedication to sweets and lollies! We are so delighted that you took part in this year's event! Those macadamia toffee crisps look spectacular!

  13. Amanda - the Sweet Swap was so much fun! Thanks so much for the huge effort both you and Sara put into making it such a success. I know from experience that nothing great ever happens without great leadership, commitment and organisation! Congratulations!

    To demonstrate my commitment to participating and making those Macadamia Toffee Crisps here's a clip of the holiday I left! This short clip features my family - and me driving the boat! Check it out! Coffin Bay holiday

  14. Hi Mrs P! Room 4 Years 6/7 students are learning about the structure of a recount and we found inspiration from your blog! We noticed that you are a great cook and an excelllent photographer. Your writing was descriptive and we all found it interesting. Some of us were a little emotional because we miss you and Mr P - when are you coming to visit us? TTYL, from your favourite students :)

  15. Hi Room 4 Year 6/7s - what a fabulous surprise it was to find that you had chosen my blog to study as part of your learning about writing recounts! It made me feel very proud! I am finding writing my blog to be both challenging and rewarding, and I thank you for your feedback. I do love cooking and am a learner photographer.

    I had a lump in my throat to hear that some you had been a bit emotional reading of my exploits. It's been 2 terms now since Mr P and I retired - and we miss you all too! We would love to arrange a time to visit so I will talk to Amy to see what can be arranged.

    Please say a big hello to everyone in our school community for me! Thanks so much for reading!

  16. It looks as though you did very well with your haul! And I love your recipe - the chocolate finished these little treats off perfectly.

  17. Amanda, the treats I received were just yummy! And yes, the chocoate does add a special something to the Macadamia Toffee Crisps - it's certainly worth the extra effort. Thanks for commenting!


 photo SSBADGE_zps2de55d46.gif