Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sweet Wine Cookies

 Wine cookies

This recipe is based on one from my second-favorite bakery in Columbus, Ohio - Pistacia Vera. (For the record, my first favorite is, and will always be, The Goodie Shoppe.)  The owner of the bakery gave the recipe for these cookies to the local newspaper. I was dying to make them at home - I'd had them from the bakery before, but they're a seasonal item.  Plus, I live about a thousand miles away from this bakery, so the ability to make these at home is a huge win in my book.

Wine cookies 1

I made a few changes to the recipe. First, the recipe calls for marasla wine, which is a type of sweet Italian fortified wine. I just used some Malbec that we had leftover from the wedding - I think any "big" red wine would work. You want something with a lot of good fruity flavor, and you definitely want it to be something you'd drink by the glass. I don't think sweet versus dry matters too much here - my wine was pretty dry. If you think your wine is too dry, you can always add a pinch more sugar.

Second, the recipe calls for anise extract. While some people love the stuff, and it is certainly more traditional, my family doesn't care for it very much. What they do love is vanilla, so I used that instead. If your family loves anise, or almond extract, feel free to try those.

Finally, I changed up the method. I found the original recipe a bit fussy, and I thought I could just do this all in the bowl of my stand mixer. The cookies turned out great.

Wine cookies 5

I can't say enough about how delicious these are - delicately sophisticated, yet easy to love - the flavor combination is both complex and well-balanced. I promise you'll love them.

Sweet Wine Cookies
Although the directions here are given for using a stand mixer, you could easily make these by hand - just use a whisk for the first part, then switch to a large wooden spoon. For the chocolate, I just ran my knife through some chocolate chips a few times - you want the varied size pieces from shavings to chunks to get a good distribution of chocolate flavor.
Yield: about 30 cookies

1 egg
3/4 cup sugar, plus extra for dusting
Zest of one lemon
Zest of one orange
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup red wine - use one that you'd drink by the glass
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With the whisk attachment on the stand mixer, lightly beat the egg. Add the sugar, and continue beating until the mixture becomes lighter and color and slightly fluffy. Zest the lemon and the orange directly over the bowl.
2. Add vanilla, canola oil, and wine, and whisk until combined.
3. Switch to your paddle attachment (or spoon). In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon and baking powder, and stir together. Add the flour mixture, stirring until the dough is just combined. Stir in the chocolate.
4. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone liners. Put a little bit of sugar in a bowl. Scoop about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and roll into a ball. Roll the ball around in the sugar to coat, then place on the baking sheet. These won't spread too much during baking, so leave an inch or so between cookies.
5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to show signs of browning. (My cookies took 20 minutes.) Remove to wire racks to cool.

Wine cookies 2

Suggestion for leftover citrus: slice and enjoy in still or sparkling water.
Lemon orange water

Suggestion for leftover wine: I think you can figure this out yourself.
Leftover wine

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