I thought I would share with you my adventure with the ‘Secret Sister Swap’!
I have never participated in anything like this and I have to admit…I was a little nervous that my ‘crafting abilities’ might be a little ‘rusty’!
I need not have worried…from start to finish the entire experience was loads of fun!
By luck of the draw…my ‘Secret Sister’ turned out to be none other than my neighbour Joanna…we did the neighbourhood Earth Day clean up together.
With a list of all her favourites…glass canning jars, the colour purple, a sweet tooth for caramel, lip balm, tea…I headed out to peruse one of her favourite shops…Value Village!
It took only one visit to Value Village to find what I needed…one large basket, a purple patterned scarf, a bone china tea-cup with purple violets, and 2 glass canning jars…perfect! The ‘bones’ of the gift were taking shape!
My hardest decision was what to bake with caramel?…Joanna is prediabetic.
I decided that I would use a less refined sugar for the baking…Wholesome Sweeteners Sucanat and Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar. Sucanat is made by extracting the juice from sugar cane, heating it until it becomes a lovely dark colour and then letting it cool into granules. Wholesome Sweeteners Fair Trade Organic Sugar is derived from sugar cane and crystallized. Both are still sugars and should be consumed in moderation.
I wanted to bake something to compliment caramel…
Shortbread Cookies Drizzled with Caramel Sauce!
My Shortbread Cookie recipe was adapted from Birdie Something…Granny’s Shortbread…this recipe was one of her childhood favourites (scroll down past Granny’s Tarts).
I liked this recipe because it used simple ingredients and seemed lower in sugar. I substituted the 6-7 tbsp of sugar with 4 tbsp of Sucanat and 2 tbsp of cane sugar. (For a dairy-free version, substitute the butter for Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks. I baked the cookies on parchment lined paper to avoid cross-contamination with my baking sheets.)
The Caramel Sauce recipe I adapted was from Lucy Waverman’s Fast & Fresh Cookbook.
It was super simple:
In a medium pot, combine 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup Sucanat and 1/2 cup whipping cream…heat to boiling stirring frequently…boil for 1 minute while stirring. Cool slightly and add 1 tsp pure vanilla. Store covered in the refrigerator.
The glass canning jars were perfect for storing some of the Shortbread Cookies and the Caramel Sauce.
Tied with a bit of found raffia…perfect!
Some of her other goodies included: Werther’s Sugar Free Caramels, Burt’s Bees lip balm with SPF 8, St. Dalfour Deluxe Spread Strawberry Jam sweetened with grape juice for the Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies, Creme Au Caramel Rooibos Tea, my homemade Pure Vanilla, and a Stevia plant for her garden…perfect to sweeten a fruit salad or a refreshing summer drink.
With a little purple tissue paper…everything fit perfectly inside the basket…only thing left to do was to deliver it!
Picture, if you will, me…sneaking across my neighbour’s front lawn…carrying a polka dotted basket…crouched down so as not to be seen through Joanna’s front glass door…ringing the doorbell…and then making a dash for it back across my neighbour’s front lawn!
I felt giddy as a school child!
Back at my house I began to wonder…did I hear the doorbell?
I decided to walk down my driveway and pick up the boys’ newspaper bundles to bring up to the garage. As I turned around, there was Joanna looking about at the top of her driveway…I gave her a wave and with a sigh of relief, headed back up my driveway.
I made a visit to my ‘Secret Sister’ later that day…
I think she was happy with her surprise ‘Secret Sister’ Basket!
P.P.S. I wonder who my ‘Secret Sister’ is?
P.P.P.S. Have you ever participated in a ‘Secret Sister Swap’?