A cross between a cake and a brownie, Finnish mocha squares are a light chocolate treat topped with a delectable, thick mocha frosting. They're sweet, rich and fudgey and they're the sort of sweet that you find yourself finishing off after declaring that you'll take have one bite!
I had never heard of Finnish mocha squares until recently and it wasn't until a lovely Instagram follower asked me if I had tried them. Mr NQN's mother Tuulikki is Finnish but she doesn't bake and is deathly afraid of cake so it would never have graced their table.
The closest comparison I can make for these Finnish mocha squares is to brownies but that's not entirely correct as the texture of the cake is not fudgey at all. The cake itself is a sort of pale brown and I added a bit more chocolate and richness to them with chocolate chips. But what I loved best was the mocha icing. Thick, rich and addictive it sets firm and crackly and if you can manage to resist eating these til the next day the icing and cake almost become one.
I don't know if you've ever met any Finns but they're really such interesting people. It's hard to categorise a whole country of people down to a list (and god know Tuulikki is very untypically Finnish compared to her sister Sisko) but I've found them to be sincere, lovely, practical and not showy people. They're also quite shy-when I first met Sisko and her husband Seppo I thought that they hated me but they were just quietly observing. I'd say Mr NQN gets his introverted side from his Finnish genes.
I'd say that I am an extrovert and Mr NQN is an introvert. But I have discovered that it's not that clear cut and I have my introverted moments. There are definitely times when I feel antisocial and I just can't talk to anyone. And god forbid if anyone knocks on my door unexpectedly. The worst thing to get an unexpected visitor.
My friend Ivy told me that she's actually an introvert but I always found her chatty and sociable. She said the difference was that she needed time alone before socialising and craved time at home. She prefers to schedule just one or two things a week. I realised that that was not me. I love doing things with almost a "What if I die tomorrow?" attitude and pack so much into a week. To me, I hate seeing an empty calendar and being alone is fine for one night but I'd rather be with people. Introverts finding socialising draining but extroverts become energised when socialising which is definitely me. Yet funnily enough I seem to be surrounded by introverts!
And then I came across another term: ambivert aka someone that displays both introvert and extroverted qualities (and really, people usually do). And it described me to a tee because there are some situations where I become quiet-loud clubs, or restaurants that are really noisy are one. I'm also happy to talk but I also like to listen because I like to learn about other people. I also love observing other people and watching them because people are so fascinating.
But sometimes I also have very strong reactions to some people and sometimes I need to get away from a person because I cannot be around them so I could never be that sales person that is nice and charming to everyone! And truthfully, I just use things like food and mocha squares to get people to like me ;)
So tell me Dear Reader, what are you? Introvert, extrovert or ambivert? How do you find socialising draining or energising? And have you ever tried these Finnish mocha squares?
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Share your creations by tagging @notquitenigella on Instagram with the hashtag #notquitenigella
Finnish Mocha Squares
An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
- 350g/12.4ozs. cake flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- 225g/8ozs. caster or superfine sugar
- 150g/5ozs. butter, melted and cooled
- 200ml/7flozs. buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 150g/5ozs. dark chocolate chips
- 350g/12.4ozs. icing sugar
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 50g/1.7ozs. butter, very soft
- 50ml/1.7flozs. espresso coffee
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 135C/275F and line a 17x28cm/7x11inch tin on the base and sides. Whisk cake flour, cocoa and baking powder in a jug until evenly distributed. With a stand mixer beat eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add the cooled butter and beat for 1 minute. Then by hand add the flour mix and buttermilk, vanilla and chocolate chips in two batches making sure not to overmix.
Step 2 - Spread into prepared tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or until you can press down in the centre and it springs back. Cool in the tin for 2 minutes and then cool on a rack.
Step 3 - Make the icing by beating all of the ingredients together (add 30ml of coffee first and then add more if it is too stiff). Spread over the cooled cake. Add sprinkles and cut into squares once the icing has set.