When you were growing up, what were your favourite sweet treats?
Louise Bannister, Frankie: I used to LOVE red frogs (still do), and I always look longingly at toffee apples when I see them in the shops.
How hard/easy was it to collate the Sweet Treat recipes for the cookbook?
Louise: It was challenging choosing which ones we wanted to use. Collating was time-consuming because we wanted to test everything twice and then choose which tasted the best. (YUM!)
Were there some surprising finds, did you have to do a lot of digging (long-forgotten recipes uncovered from grandmothers’ journals, etc)?
Louise: Our super-star chef Mark had a lot of his own recipes which he’d learnt from cooking with his mum and grandma when he was a wee boy. It was exciting hunting out their old fete recipes and reminiscing about our childhoods.
What’s the ‘sweet tooth’ make-up of the Frankie team? Also, is there a competitive baking element among the staff?
Louise: We all love sweets, but are partial to savoury, too. Our team works in different states, so we haven’t had the chance to have a bake-off, but on the odd occasion someone (or someone’s mum) will bring in a homemade cake or sweet treat to HQ.
What’s the hardest thing about putting together a cookbook full of beautiful eye candy – do you have to deal with temperamental ovens, frosting that melts under lights, etc?
Louise: One of the hardest things was creating all the scenes for each recipe and digging through op shops to find the perfect jar, plate or piece of material. Lara, our creative director, did such a fab job of sourcing and setting up each scene!
Which recipes from the book have you tried and loved?
Louise: We’ve tried all of them! When we were shooting, I couldn’t keep my mitts off the Honeycomb, Fruit Jelly Chews or Florentines. Delicious!
Sticky Apples (recipe from Sweet Treats)
8 small red apples, washed and air-dried
2 cups caster sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon red food
8 wooden sticks
Makes 8 apples
-Line a baking tray with baking paper. Spear a stick into each apple about 2/3 of the way in. Check to see they go in straight.
-Over low heat, cook sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Stir until sugar has dissolved and then bring to boil without stirring. (To prevent sugar crystallising, brush down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush.)
-Add food colouring and cream of tartar and give it a stir.
-Reduce heat to low and simmer mixture for 20 minutes or until it reaches 150°C (hard-crack stage). Take off the heat immediately.
-When toffee ceases bubbling, dip each apple into the toffee. You can coat an apple evenly by tipping the pan on an angle. Make sure you get lots of sticky stuff around the top of the stick, so it doesn’t fall out when you hold it.
-Put all sticky apples on to baking trays and set at room temperature. They’ll set in about 30 minutes.
-Best eaten straight away, but you can store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 24 hours.
The Sweet Treats cookbook by Frankie magazine is out now. You can a copy of it online here.