A couple of months ago I received an email from Claire of Claire K Creations inviting me to take part in Foodie Secret Santa. At the time I was just back from holiday and I was feeling super relaxed and signed up straight away. What could be better than receiving lovely treats from other foodies (oh and of course that whole giving thing…)
Then December rolled around and it was time to make. I had decided to make these soft salted caramels – I thought it would post well in the mail and I had made it last year no problem. The batch I made last year was perfect for my friend’s son who has a nut allergy and often misses out on small treats.
But could I get the fudge to set this time around?!! I made a number of batches and my hips were expanding at a rather fast pace as I sampled and ate the unsuccessful attempts. I finally gave up and went (at the suggestion of my lovely friend Victoria) with the sauce option. The supposed trick to getting this to set so you get caramels is to heat the sugar mix to the right temperature (around 120 degrees celsius) but even with me upping the temperature to well above this, I had no such luck. You will need a candy thermometer to make this recipe.
Then there was the whole drama of how to send the sauce. I found some super cute plastic bottles but then freaked out about whether they had bpa in them. I could’t see any information so they got ditched. I then went shopping for glass jars and lots of bubble wrap but couldn’t find any jars that weren’t enormous. The sauce is good but it is pretty rich and I didn’t think anyone would want two litres.
In the end I went with décor tubs and sandwich bags so that if the tubs broke there wouldn’t be sauce over some unsuspecting person’s mail box. Not very glamours but safe. I also swore that next year I would say no to participating. One of my December resolutions (because I hate New Years resolutions) is to try and be a bit more discerning about what I say yes to at least in terms of the blog and my new business.
Then the hostage situation occurred in Sydney. I was home on my first proper day of leave and it was all over the news and just so distressing to hear about. I was struggling to pry myself away from the media reports when the doorbell rang and the postman had one of my foodie secret santa presents – these gorgeous biscuits from Gabby of Baking with Gab. It made such a difference to my day.
It was a small reminder that there is good in this world. It may not change the world but there was something very touching about someone I don’t know taking the time to make me some delicious biscuits. Taryn from the Wooden Spoons also instagrammed me to let me know how good the sauce was, adding to the lifting of my mood.
No doubt I will be swearing at my stove and stressing about packaging again next year, but I know I will have a huge smile on my face when the food treats starting arriving and I get to see people enjoying food I eat.
A huge thank you to Claire for arranging such a lovely event. And thank you to Gabby from Baking with Gab, Taryn from The Wooden Spoons and Katherine from A Cupcake or Two for my delicious presents. Below is the recipe for the salted caramel fudge sauce (and if you heat the sugar too much you might just get some delicious fudge).
- 250ml double cream
- 180ml condensed milk
- 250ml golden syrup
- 220g caster sugar
- 60ml of water
- 60g of salted butter
- 1 and 1/2 tsp of salt flakes (I like the sauce fairly salty, so adjust this to taste)
- Put the double cream and condensed milk in a small saucepan and heat over a low heat until combined and warm.
- While this is happening, put the golden syrup, sugar and water in to a small to medium saucepan on a high heat.
- Stirring to dissolve the sugar, heat the sugar until it reaches about 100-120 degrees celsius (212 - 257 fahrenheit)
- Turn the temperature down to low and add the double cream and condensed milk mixture, butter and salt flakes.
- I left my sauce to cool over night in the saucepan and then popped in to the tubs. But if you were using glass jars, you could probably sterilize the jars and while they and the sauce are still hot, pop the sauce in to the jars. Just don't put cold sauce in hot jars or vice versa.
- Keep stirring until the sauce thickens and turns a rich caramel colour - about 20-25 minutes. The sauce will thicken slightly when it cools, but not much so make sure the sauce has the thickness that you want.