“May the New Year bring you courage to break your resolutions early! My own plan is to swear off every kind of virtue, so that I triumph even when I fall!” ~ Aleister Crowley
This quote makes me smile. It reminds me of the old SNL sketch “Lowered Expectations.” If you saw it, back in the day, you can probably still hum the tune. I am hoping 2013 will be a no nonsense year. No blubbering. No boasting. No baloney. Just lots of humour with a reality check.
You may have guessed I’m not a big believer in new year’s resolutions. They are usually doomed to fail for many good reasons. On the other hand I do take time to reflect and ponder at the start of a new year. My thoughts for 2013 are on my personal blog CarlaJohnson.ca.
For Infinity Magazine’s Winter 2012 issue I wrote an article featuring King’s Court Estate Winery in the Niagara Region here in Ontario. Roland Zimmermann, the owner & vintner of King’s Court, and I came up with a great drink you will find absolutely perfect for toasting in the new year. It is a mix of three very spectacular, Canadian ingredients. Enjoy!
1 shot King’s Court Estates Vidal Icewine VQA
1 shot Pure Canadian Maple Syrup
2 shots Canadian Whisky
1. Place ingredients in a shaker of ice.
2. Shake and strain into ice-filled martini glasses garnished with something festive.
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” - Anais Nin
by Alana Cholewa
Val and I met in the fall of 2000. We had just started university and lived in the same residence building. Val, God bless her, is the loudest person I know. She is short and Italian, and packs a punch if she feels the need to hollar. In all fairness, I must admit that I heard her long before I saw her: In a building that housed over one thousand first year students, that was quite the accomplishment!
While I became familiar with her during Orientation Week, I was actually introduced to her a few weeks later. While some people can find ample volume off-putting, I have always appreciated and respected Val’s ability to just put it all out there.
Over a decade later, our friendship is still holding strong. We picture ourselves growing old with each other — two grannies on a porch with extra large wine glasses. This recipe for cupcakes is much like our friendship, rich with colour and flavour. The icing, sweetness on top, isn’t as sweet and innocent as it appears. Gotta watch for this blonde and brunette friendship – it, too, packs a punch!
“Packs a Punch” Cupcakes
Step #1: Bake the Cupcakes
Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
2 large eggs2/3 cup sour cream2 cups flour, all purpose2 cups sugar1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda3/4 teaspoon salt1 cup stout3/4 cup butter3/4 cup cocoa powder
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sour cream with a mixer.
3. In another large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
3. Simmer the stout and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth.
4. Add the stout mixture to the egg mixture and beat until blended.
5. Add the whisked dry ingredients and mix slowly until all ingredients are just combined.
6. Filling muffin or cupcake tins 2/3 full. Bake for 16 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
7. Make sure to completely cool the cupcakes on a rack.
Step #2: Fill Cupcakes with Ganache
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate squares2/3 cup heavy cream2 tablespoons butter, room temperature2 teaspoons whiskey
1. Chop the chocolate squares into fine pieces and put them in a heatproof bowl.
2. Heat the cream until it simmers lightly then pour it over the chocolate pieces. Let stand for one minute until the chocolate melts then stir until the mixture is smooth.
3. Add the butter and whiskey and stir or whip with a beater until it is combined and smooth. Cool slightly, but still soft enough to pipe.
4. Scoop out the middle of each cupcake with a melon baller, or apple corer. Pipe the ganache into the middle of each cooled cupcake and fill to the top.
Step #3: Top with Icing
Irish Cream Frosting
2 cups confections sugar1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperatue4 tablespoons Irish Cream
1. With an electric mixer, whip the butter and powdered sugar, slowly adding the Irish cream until the icing is smooth and creamy.
2. If the mixture thins out, add more powdered sugar until thick again. If more liquid is needed, add more Irish Cream or milk.
3. Spread a generous amount of icing on each ganache-filled cupcake.
4. Enjoy packing a punch with this treat!
This recipe was inspired by – http://www.sweetspot.ca/SweetHome/recipes/32765/test_kitchen_guinness_cupcakes_with_irish_cream_frosting/
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“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” ~ Author unknown (commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin) “Always carry a flagon of whisky in case of snakebite, and furthermore, always carry a small snake.” ~ W. C. Fields “Irish cream in my coffee this morning. Life is good.” ~ Author unknown
Today I looked at my Cooking With Sin stats and realized that we will probably reach 100,000 visitors this summer! That is 100,000 real people who will have clicked onto these pages since I started it in 2009! That’s pretty cool!
As of this moment 92,989 people have visited and last month alone we had 9,955 visitors, so it’s looking really good!
When we reach 100,000 I will yell a primal “Ye-ahhhhhhh” just like The Who in the theme of CSI Miami. And let me stand up and say I, for one, miss Horatio’s one-liner as he put on his sunglasses at the start of each show.
This recipe comes with a very special THANK YOU from me to each of you for making this project SO worth doing. I recommend making mini cupcakes so you get the taste of all 3 part of the cupcake in each bite.
*NOTE: If you’re looking for a real bomb recipe, fuggeddaboudit. Make these cupcakes instead. The name comes from a shooter called a Bomb. Ya, maybe not the best name, but here are 3 – count ‘em 3 – types of alcohol! Stout in the cake, whisky in the ganache and Irish cream in the icing. You’re gonna love them! Besides, I heard that British spy hackers are replacing online bomb recipes with cupcake recipes, so it’s all the rage!
My cupcakes ended up kinda messy looking , but they were amazingly deeeeeeeeelish!
“THANK YOU” Chocolate Cupcake Bombs
Makes 50 mini cupcakes
1/2 cup dark stout beer1/2 cup butter, melted1/2 cup cocoa powder1 cup flour1 cup sugar3/4 teaspoon baking soda1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 cup sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line cupcake pan with baking cups.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
3.Bring stout and butter to a simmer over medium heat. Take it off the heat and add the cocoa powder and whisk the mixture until it is smooth. Let it cool a little.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sour cream. Add the stout mixture and continue beating until it is combined.
4. With the mixer on slow speed add the flour mix and beat briefly. Continue folding batter with a spatula until the batter is combined.
5. Fill the liners 2/3 full with the batter and bake for 14 minutes.
6.Test with a toothpick in the center of a cupcake to make sure it comes out clean. Let the cupcakes cool.
1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and put into a heatproof or microwavable bowl.
2. Heat the cream on the stove until it is simmering. Pour it over the chocolate pieces. Let it sit for about a minute to let the chocolate melt then stir until smooth. If the chocolate is not yet melted, heat carefully in a microwave on medium/low for approximately 20 seconds.
3. While it is still warm stir in the butter and whisky until smooth.
4. Using a small cookie cutter, an apple-corer or a melon baller, cut out the centre of the each cooled cupcake about 2/3 of the way down.
5. Fill each cupcake hole with the ganache using a piping bag. I used a zipper bag with a hole snipped in one of the corners. You may want to let it cool before you squeeze the bag.
1 1/2 cup icing sugar1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature3 tablespoons Irish cream liquor
1. Put the icing sugar and butter in a mixing bowl. As you start to beat, slowly drizzle in the Irish cream.
2. Whip until it is combined and smooth. You may need more or less Irish cream depending on your preference. If the icing is too thin, add a bit more icing sugar and beat.
3. Spread the cupcakes and decorate as you wish.
If you are familiar with other recipes here on Cooking With Sin, you might recognize that the cupcake batter recipe is very similar to the “A Suitcase and a Dream” Chocolate Stout Cake recipe. I’m sure it would work as well. It’s at
Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm: …
But, if ye wish her grateful prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!
~ Robert Burns (1759-1796)
This “Cooking With Sin” blog was inspired by my maternal grandmother (Elizabeth Voth Nickel Dyck) who was Mennonite, but my fraternal grandmother (Dorothy Williams Johnson) was Scottish, so with Robbie Burns’ birthday approaching, I thought it would be fun to give her heritage a nod too.
On January 25th, every year, the Scottish community celebrates the birthday of their Ploughman’s Poet, Rabbie Burns. Knowing the night is infused with wee drams of scotch, it seemed a great fit for this venture. So, I called up a bunch of friends and invited them over.
The traditional structure to a Robbie Burns Supper goes like this:
1. Welcome and announcements2. Selkirk Grace3. Piping in and cutting of the haggis4. Reading Robbie Burns’ “Address to the Haggis” 5. The “Immortal Memory” reviews his life and accomplishments.6. Feasting and partying.7. The evening ends with everyone singing “Auld Lang Syne.”
Our evening followed the order somewhat loosely. We started with wee drams all around and then one of our friends read the Selkirk Grace.
The Selkirk Grace
Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.
I had started planning this evening with the noble intention of making my own haggis. Then I found out what was involved and decided instead to follow the wise advice of my dear Scottish friend Jill Fraser Yang. I bought myself a haggis ball at the local Scottish bakery where I also picked up a good bunch of their bakery shortbread, too.
To pipe the haggis in we resorted to modern technology. One of our friends played bagpipe music on his iPod. Some were hesitant to taste it, but I can assure you that haggis is very mild. It’s like a crumbly sausage. And my scotch whisky cream sauce on it made it go down even better.We would have served neeps, but I’m not good to watch the clock and we ran out of time to cook them, so we had tatties without the neeps.
The desserts were wonderful. I made Cranachan with raspberries. The raspberries were soaked in scotch and the double cream was whipped with honey and scotch, too! Our friend Kim Stenhouse brought orange slices soaked in Drambuie which we served on vanilla ice cream. I’m feeling a little soaked just thinking about it.
There were more wee drams to follow along with shots of Drambuie, Cointreau and Triple Sec. I think we did Mr. Burns right. He would have approved.
Scotch Whisky Cream Sauce
1/4 cup scotch whisky170g double creamdash of salt
1. Warm the whisky in a sauce pan then light with a long handled lighter. Flambé the whisky for a few moments to burn off the bitter taste of the alcohol. Be careful of the flames. They can reach quite high! Douse the flames with the lid.
2. Stir in the double cream and salt. Reduce the heat and let the mixture cook until the liquid reduces to a thicker sauce.
3. Serve over the haggis.
2 cups fresh raspberries1/2 cup scotch whisky1/4 cup steel cut oats2 teaspoons brown sugar340g (12 oz.) double cream3 tablespoons scotch whisky4 tablespoons liquid honey
1. Soak the raspberries ahead in the 1/2 cup scotch whisky for 2 hours. Stir them occasionally.
2. Toast the oats in a non-stick frying pan on medium-high heat. Watch them closely and sprinkle on the brown sugar and stir so the oats become candied. Let cool.3. Whip the double cream until it forms stiff peaks. *Note: The double cream is much more substantial than our North American whipping cream.
4. Mix the whisky and honey into the whipped cream.
5. Layer a glass bowl or individual serving dishes with the cream and the raspberries and sprinkle the toasted candied oats on top. Serve.