Monday, 8 September 2014

Sweet Swap 2014

I am forgoing a Happy Monday post this week for something that has been making me happy for a couple of weeks now- The Sweet Swap!

Last year two bloggers, Sara of Belly Rumbles and Amanda of Chew Town, came up with the idea of bringing bloggers together over sweets. Inspired. It was so successful that it has become a 'thing' and this year I heard about it in time to join in. Taking part was as simple as registering for the event, posting off some homemade sweets to three bloggers assigned to me and receiving three sweet packages in return. At the same time the entry fee is raising money for ChildFund Australia, a charity that provides care for children in underprivileged countries.

Simple and awesome.

Except as soon as I hit 'Submit' I started to fret- what was I going to make?

I love baking, we all know this, but I needed to make something I could post, that didn't require refrigeration and that would still be edible after rocking about in a van for a couple of days. Candy thermometers and I don't get along. Oh dear.

I hit up some of my favourite blogs for answers and came across a recipe for candied nuts from Smitten Kitchen. I made a few tweaks, added chocolate, and spiced pecan cups were born.

You will need:
3 Tbsp brown sugar (I used dark)
1/3 cup caster sugar (I used raw- I go for caramelly flavours wherever possible)
1/4 tsp of sea salt
1/8 tsp smoked paprika (effectively a 'pinch' if your measuring spoons don't include one of these)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
300g nuts (I used pecans but almonds would be great too)
1 egg white
1 Tbsp water
400g good quality dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 150C/300F
Mix all the dry ingredients together, breaking up any chunky bits of sugar.
Whisk the egg white and water until frothy.

Toss the nuts in the egg white so they are well-coated (and you get maximum sugar stickage (new word)) then shake off the excess egg white before tossing them in the sugar mixture.

(One of my sweetees (sweet receiver, obviously) is a transitioning vegan- she still eats chocolate but I couldn't see from her blog that she eats eggs. To be on the safe side I tossed the nuts for her in a little macadamia oil to make the sugar stick.)

Ensure nuts are well spaced on baking tray (you will need two trays)

Bake for 30 minutes, check after about 15 minutes and rotate the nuts in the middle to the outside of the tray and vice versa.

Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature, separating the nuts as they cool.
spiced pecan smoked paprika candied recipe

Gently melt the chocolate in a double boiler (or in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water). Line a tray with foil cases and spoon a couple of teaspoons of chocolate into each case. Then top with a candied nut.
spiced candied nuts chocolate paprika recipe

Not the prettiest treats in the world are they? The Bookworm told me they looked like little frog poos. I was slightly delirious (having just done an exam that afternoon and running on very little sleep) and started coming up with some excellent names for them:
Poop sweets
The buttcracker sweet
Coco poops

Oh dear, it all pecan so well.

They were pretty tasty though, and as they cooled and the sugar set, they looked less dodgy.
candied spiced nut cups recipe

So I packaged them up anyway and sent them off (minus my name suggestions) to Willunga Wino, Gastromony and Simmer and Boyle; vowing to master the art of the candy thermometer before next year.

In return I was sweeted by:

Monica from Gastromony with Passionfruit and Macadamia Caramel Fudge.

Megan from Children's Books Daily with Rocky Road, Caramel Fudge and home made musk sticks- recipe here

Kate from Foodies Agenda with Choc Hazelnut and Banana Granola- recipe here


You can check out all the other participants and find links to their recipes here


  1. They look so moorish! Love the sound of these but I fear I might eat the whole batch if I made them myself. Thanks so much for participating this year!

  2. Hi Nicole! Hooray, now I have the recipe, your spiced pecan cups were my favourite sweeties from the swap. :-) Thank you for going to the effort to make them vegan too. I was also lucky enough to get a parcel of passionfruit macadamia brittle from Gastromony, it arrived when I was having a bad moment in a bad day, what a pick me up. Love the Sweet Swap :-)

  3. I saw these pop up on Instagram and everyone loved them! Great Swap!

  4. What an amazing idea! I am all for this street swap business.

  5. Yum!!! Your little sweet treats look incredible. I love anything with pecans in it! :-)

  6. Firstly apologies for my delayed read of your wonderful post and recipe, am in the USA at the moment and running around like a headless goose.

    So glad you joined in this year and your spiced pecan cups look awesome!


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