Red Wine & Chocolate Cupcakes

Red Wine & Chocolate Cupcakes



Deary deary me, only a few postings after I declared on my About Me page that I don’t see the point of red wine, I found a point. It makes delicious cupcakes.





Red Wine & Chocolate Cupcakes


90 g butter, softened

1 cup unrefined cane sugar (or a mix of soft brown sugar and white granulated sugar)

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

¾ cup red wine

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup cocoa powder (Dutch processed), sifted

1 ts vanilla sugar

½ ts cinnamon

½ ts baking powder

¼ ts baking soda

¼ ts salt


Preheat oven to 160 C.

Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add egg & egg yolk, mix well.

Add red wine and mix. Remain stoic when faced with what the batter looks like at this point.

Add the dry ingredients and mix well. The batter looks considerably better now, doesn’t it?

Pour into paper-lined muffin tins. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cupcakes test done. Cool and dust with powdered sugar.

Bake a day ahead to let the flavours to meld.

Makes 15 cupcakes.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via email

On Finns and their recipes

Fuel: Weingut Steininger Riesling Kamptal 2010. Fresh and green and delicious; gives a few New Zealander sauvignon blancs a run for their money.


Bless my fellow Finns – we are weird and spunky sort of people with plenty of talents and strengths typically found in the smaller nations. One of those strengths is not recipe writing, however.


Enter a Finnish recipe forum. Ask for a recipe, for example: ”I would like to make some sort of quick and spicy pasta dish tonight – I’m thinking with chicken – anyone have a good recipe to recommend?” Behold the answers: ”Oh, I made the best dish last week, you should definitely try it! Here’s the recipe: chicken, pasta, tomatoes, tomato paste, cream cheese, onions (if you like), spices. It was sooo good!”


I’m glad it was good. However, what you just wrote there, dahlink, is not a recipe and does not help anyone to recreate the bestest dish you made last week. It’s just a vague list of ingredients.


But you must not say so! Do not make the cardinal sin of asking them to be more specific: How much cream cheese did you use? What kinds of spices? How much of each? What did you do with the ingredients? Bake them? Fry them?? Pray tell! If you do, you will most likely be subjected to a condescending, hurt answer along the lines of ”Well of course it all depends on you taste, doesn’t it, I can’t know how much cayenne you like in your food. Just make it as you like it. Haven’t you ever cooked before?” [insert implied huffs, puffs, and eye rolls]


You know, maybe I really haven’t cooked before. Does that mean I should never start? Everyone has been a beginner at some point, and some of those beginners do not start cooking by ear, but actually prefer to follow recipes. Some fairly experienced cooks do not cook by ear, but actually prefer to use recipes, maybe tweaking them here and there to their liking (because now they know what their liking is). Some of us never evolve into great, instinctive cooks and actually prefer to use recipes, like, always. So what? That’s why recipes exist. And it is, in fact, not particularly helpful to say to someone looking for a spicy pasta dish with chicken that they should make a dish using pasta, chicken and spices. No, I’m being quite serious: it isn’t.


A recipe is supposed to contain the following, at the very least:

First and foremost and absolutely: the required ingredients along with their quantities. It is quite permissible to say “or to taste” after quantities of spices if you feel a need to cover your ass, but for Pete’s sake give a quantity;

Equipment needed to prepare the dish (Pot? Frying pan? Bowls? Oven? Stovetop? What?);

A list of preparation steps – what you do with your list of ingredients does make a difference. And by this I mean the specifics of what you’re supposed to do, not vague nothingness á la “Prepare ingredients into a dough. Bake bread in oven until done.” (A real-life example!) When do I add each thing; do I whip, beat, or stir; what is the oven temperature; what size cake tin do I need – every step.


Gone are the days when recipes were written for professional cooks and served mainly as reminders for someone who already knew how to prepare the dish. Most dinners these days are made by non-professional cooks, and recipe writing conventions reflect that. Tempora mutantur, move with them, people.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via email

The Joys of Swearing


Let’s face it it: when there is a shitmotherfuckinfuckshit situation, ”oh shoot” is just not going to cut it. Swear words exist because we need them. The brilliant Stephen Fry says so too. So there. Be convinced by his pillow analogy!



All hail the bubbling, frothing, slobbering, creaming and downright necessary expression! This I solemnly swear.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via email

Peppermint Chocolate Brownie Cookies

Peppermint Brownie CookiesTime to put polkagrisar into good use and turn them into chocolate cookies! I adapted the recipe from the delightfully named baking blog Bake Me Away – BMA’s Jessica, in turn, adapted her recipe from Joy the Baker, so this recipe is a textbook example of how bakers just can’t leave well enough alone. ;-)



Peppermint Chocolate Brownie Cookies


225 g bittersweet chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

45 g unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy (not too finely – it does melt!)


Melt the chocolate and butter on top of a double boiler. Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs.

Add in the chocolate & butter mixture and mix well.

Mix in the rest of the ingredients: vanilla and peppermint extracts, flour, baking powder, salt, and peppermint candy.

Cover and refrigerate the dough for about an hour.

Preheat oven to 170 C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Shape dough into 1 inch balls (yay for cookies scoops!) and place on the cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between the balls. (You can fit about 12 per sheet)

Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Let cool.

Devour. Store cookies you did not devour in an airtight container to keep them soft.

Makes 36 delectably delicious cookies.

Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via email