Happy Monday, friends. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for your kindness and support at the loss of my nana. It has been a sad week, made not much better by a sinus infection, flu, and some major neighbor drama, but your comments, tweets, and emails truly helped. We left Pennsylvania after her funeral on Saturday, made our way home, and got to sleep in our bed. It was a good move; I slept until 11 and spent most of the day in bed watching The Lying Game on DVR. I am still exhausted, but inspired by the memory of my nana, got back in the kitchen to bake some cupcakes.
These were no ordinary cupcakes. You see, I was supposed to be in Sonoma right now and this past weekend for Wine & Food Affair 2011. The week’s events had us cancel our plans, so to make up for that additional heartbreak, I decided to break open my advance copy of the Wine & Food Affair cook book to get cooking. If you know me or read my blog, you know my love of Sonoma and my excitement for every single visit. Ever since I received the book and my tickets to the event, over a month ago, I wanted to make the Flourless Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Foppiano Petit Syrah Infused Honey, so I made cupcakes based on that recipe, only halving it and using Syrah instead of Petit Syrah.
We only had one bottle of Petit Syrah left and plenty of Syrah, so we used a favorite of mine, Amista’s 2005 Dry Creek Valley Syrah, for the honey glaze. I got that started first, the Syrah and sugar, then the honey, to make a decadent, gorgeous syrup.
One of my favorite cupcake ingredients was black pepper. Though I halved the cupcake recipe, I used the full amount of ground pepper. I love sweet and spicy together! I also loved that these cupcakes were flourless. No flour or baking soda made the easier to make than normal baked goods, and I love how fudgy they ended up.
Most of the Syrah infused honey went into the batter, with some reserved for drizzling later on. This made the batter smell incredible but also gave it a smooth consistency.
Like mini molten chocolate cakes, the cupcakes fluffed up, then fell, but kept their moist centers. I reserved the Syrah infused honey in one of my nana’s dessert dishes. I am so, so grateful to have little pieces of her life in my kitchen.
When it was time to serve the cupcakes, I drizzled the Syrah honey on, and we dug in. The chocolate was so rich, accented with the sweet honey-wine mixture, the dark fruit of the Syrah shining through, and the peppery flavors of this particular wine pairing so well with the ground pepper in the cupcakes. This recipe is simply divine.
A little bit of baking, followed by an outdoor fire with good friends helped to boost my spirits and made for a better Sunday. And having leftover cupcakes made it that much more delightful. You can never have too many flourless chocolate cupcakes, or too many great friends.
What was the best part of your weekend?