The Sweet Swap: Espresso Fudge

IMG_3266all packed up & ready to go!

A while back, Sara, of Belly Rumbles, and Amanda, of Chew Town, got in touch about a blogging project they were setting up called The Sweet Swap. For a small entry fee, which was donated to ChildFund Australia, each participating blogger was matched with three other bloggers. Once you had received your matches and chosen the sweet to make, you’d package it up and send it off, while waiting for your own sweet treats to arrive.

Now, you may have noticed that I am not, exactly, a confectioner. Apart from chocolate, I don’t really like sweets. So in this instance I knew I was not only going to have to choose something that would post well (a challenge in itself!) but most likely something I don’t like eating.

I had a practice run making marshmallow and thought that it might be fun to make rocky road (fun for Andy and our workmates – even with chocolate marshmallow is still going to be gross).

I’m really sorry if any of my matches would have preferred rocky road: just as I should have been in the kitchen making marshmallow my toddler decided it would be fun to have temperatures spiking 40°C for a few days and ended up in hospital. There needed to be some seriously quick revision of plans and, in what can only be blind panic (the deadline for posting had passed!) I chose to make fudge.

Now, I have never made fudge before and I couldn’t even claim to have eaten enough to call myself a connoisseur, so I was really winging it. I chose to make this espresso fudge because I like chocolate and coffee.

I wasn’t happy because the recipe was a bit vague (temperatures for the different stages would have made me happy) but I was out of time and there for nothing for it but to hit the stove.

My inability to focus on stirring turned out to be a blessing: if you over-stir fudge it turns out grainy, but this, my first effort was dense and creamy with a solid, but not overpowering, hit of coffee.

I probably sound really pleased with myself, and I am. But I’m sure it’s all beginner’s luck and I’ll never be happy with another batch of fudge ever again!

IMG_3271heart attack inducing size pieces of fudge

Espresso Fudge


  • 1 tin sweetened condensed milk (395g - the standard size in the shops)
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp glucose syrup
  • 180g dark chocolate, broken up
  • 3 tsp instant coffee (strong will do, espresso if you have it)


  1. Place the condensed milk, sugar and glucose syrup in a pan over a low heat and wait for the sugar to melt, stirring only occasionally. This takes quite a while so be patient.
  2. When the sugar has melted, turn up the heat (medium - high) and bring the mix to a simmer. Be a little more attentive with your stirring. In time the mixture will start to thicken and come away from the sides of the pan. If you are using a good non stick pan (and you really should) the mixture will come away from the sides quite quickly but you need to keep stirring until it thickens up.
  3. Take the mixture off the heat and mix in the chocolate and instant coffee. Mix until the chocolate has melted completely and then pour into a greased and lined baking dish (I used one that is approx 20cmx20cm). Allow to cool and then refrigerate. Overnight is best.
  4. Cut up: this is very rich so small squares is a good idea. For serving you may wish to dust with cocoa powder, but the fudge is so rich it doesn't need it. A cup of coffee on the side could be considered essential though!

I think there might have been a slight glitch in the Sweet Swap because I actually received FOUR sweets, not three.

From Gareth at Humble Crumble I received some black forest fudge – chocolate fudge studded with cherries. From Joanna at The Hangry Bitch sacher tortingtons – a quirky take on lamingtons, stuffed with a homemade orange marmalade, iced and decorated with flaked coconut, Aga at At Matter of Taste sent Polish biscuits that her grandmother used to make and Amy at Melbourne Food Snob sent chewy coconut caramels. Quite a little haul (and some of which is still being eaten, which is a massive win!).

My fudge went Aga, Billy and Leah. Aga quit sugar just before the Sweet Swap (really terrible timing) but I hope Billy and Leah enjoyed the fudge and my apologies for the delay.


Just sitting down to write about #marshmallow ...

Without thinking about it too much, earlier this year I signed up for The Sweet Swap. This is a fund raising blogging event, where bloggers make something sweet and send it off to mystery matches, Kris Kringle style.

And then I did think about it and I realised that I never really make anything that I might be able to send through the post.


So I’ve been thinking about sweets more than normal and the rejects (from the point of view of The Sweet Swap) may appear here as posts over the next couple of weeks. I start with marshmallow: I actually asked Andy if he would prefer marshmallow or sweet x and he chose marshmallow. I hate marshmallow so I was really cooking blind here.

I knew there was a recipe in James Martin’s Desserts so I dug it out, had a read, and realised it shouldn’t be too hard.

The big thing with marshmallow is that you need to be careful with the sugar temperature when you add the gelatine. Apparently gelatine loses its setting properties above 130°C, so you need to make sure the sugar is below that (naturally, you also don’t want the sugar to be taking on any colour).

The little bit of faff with a thermometer aside, this was super easy* to put together. And as the small eating machine that is our toddler grows bigger, I’m sure having sweets like this in my repertoire won’t be time wasted!

Andy rated the marshmallow very highly – but you’ll have to take his word for it, because I still hate the stuff!!!

* Super easy if you have some experience in the kitchen. If you genuinely consider yourself a novice, perhaps don’t start here!



  • 227g caster sugar
  • ½ tbsp liquid glucose
  • 100 mL water
  • 4½ sheets gelatine (platinum strength)
  • 70mL cold water
  • 1 egg white
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • red food colouring (optional)
  • corn flour & icing sugar for dusting
  • a sugar thermometer is essential


  1. Begin by putting the sugar, liquid glucose and water in a saucepan. Choose a reasonably heavy bottomed one because you need to have some control over the heat. Bring to the boil and cook until it reaches 127°C.
  2. I found that I hit the 110°C mark quite quickly but it took a while after that to hit the 127, so you do have a little time on your hands.
  3. While the sugar mix is boiling: soak the gelatine in the cold water and beat the egg white until stiff.
  4. When the syrup comes to temperature, remove from the heat and slide in the gelatine and its water. Take care as it may spit and obviously it's very hot! Gently stir to dissolve the gelatine.
  5. Start beating the egg white again and slowly pour in the hot syrup and gelatine mix.
  6. The mixture will thicken quickly and will be like super glossy, super thick meringue. Add the vanilla extract (and food colouring, if using) and continue beating for a good 5+ minutes. You're waiting for the mixture to both cool and become extremely thick.
  7. It's ready when it clings to the whisk, holds its shape and is really almost the texture and consistency of foam.
  8. Using a hot sugar mix like this (the process is not dissimilar to Italian meringue) means that the marshmallow is extremely stable so you don't have to rush to get things done.
  9. Lightly grease (using a flavourless oil!) a baking tray or dish. I used a ~ 20 x 27 cm baking dish. Dust the base with a mixture of sifted cornflour and icing sugar.
  10. Spoon in the marshmallow: this should be hard work because the mixture is so stiff. Spread it evenly throughout the dish as best you can and level with a palette knife (wet and/or hot may help).
  11. Put in the fridge for a minimum of one hour to set.
  12. Dust your work surface with sifted icing sugar and cornflour. Tip the marshmallow out and cut into bit size pieces. Roll each piece in the icing sugar/cornflour mix and set on a rack to dry out.
  13. Store in an airtight box.