Sunday Baking: A Pomerol & Double Chocolate Cookies

2006 Close de la Vieille Eglise CorkWhile the new house has been renovated inside, many of the walls and open spaces are awkwardly sized.  Since we’re having trouble finding shelving and furniture to fit the space, Hubby and I have decided to do a number of small do-it-yourself projects like building shelves, an deck box for outside, etc.  As you can imagine, though, these projects require spending an inordinate amount of time at Home Depot.  There is at least one trip a weekend, and often there are more.  The first weekend in February was one of those two-trips kind of weekend, not to mention a trip Bed, Bath, & Beyond, World Market, and Michael’s Arts & Crafts.  We spent the whole day running errands.  Hubby and  I are not big football people, so we skipped the Superbowl in favor of before coming home to an evening of sorting through everything and baking cookies.   And, of course, there was a good bottle of wine to go along with the activities.

2006 Close de la Vieille Eglise

2006 Close de la Vieille Eglise

The 2006 Close de la Vieille Eglise (winery, snooth) is from Pomerol, which is on the Right Bank in Bordeaux, France.  The wine is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes, and had a dark ruby color with a garnet rim.  On the nose, there were blackcurrants, roses, and hints of cedar and meat.  In the mouth, there were dark berries, meats, and cedar mixed with hints of licorice and chocolate.  The wine was medium-to-full bodied with medium tannins and acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At an SRP of $60, this bottle of wine was fantastic.  Admittedly, though, this is when my impatience gets the better of me.  The winery recommends that it continue to be cellared for several more years, and after having tasted the wine, I can only imagine how beautiful it would have been if I had let it continue to age.

2006 Close de la Vieille Eglise and Double Chocolate OriolosHowever, I didn’t let it age.  This wine was actually given to Hubby and me as a present from our loan officer at the closing of our new house, so opening it after a successful day of doing house stuff seemed appropriate.  Once the wine had a little bit of a chance to breathe, it was incredibly food-friendly.  I paired it with Hubby’s homemade meatloaf and roasted potatoes, which was a great pairing as the wine was flavorful and savory enough to stand up to the big flavors of the dinner.  After dinner, I baked the Double Chocolate Oriolos, which made for a very different, but equally delicious pairing.  I actually enjoyed the wine enough that I will

Overall, the cookies weren’t anything particularly different, but they were easy to make and were a big hit in the office.  The wine, on the other hand, offered something a little more special than usual, which was a nice treat on a Sunday night.  I actually enjoyed it so much that I’m planning to go to Schneider’s of Capitol Hill and buy several bottles, both to drink now and to cellar for later.  Together, the pairing of the wine and the cookies was a huge success.

Question of the Day: Did you watch the Superbowl?  Is it the type of event where you think about opening wine or is it strictly a beer drinking night?

 

Double Chocolate OriolosDouble Chocolate Oriolos
(*adapted from Rose Levy Beranabum’s recipe in The Baking Bible)
Yields: about 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1/2  cup walnut halves
  • 10 tablespoons butter (1 1/4 sticks)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup powered sugar (lightly spooned and leveled off)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (for coating)

Walnuts

  • Preheat oven to 325F.
  • Spread walnuts evenly on baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, stirring a couple of times to toast evenly.
  • Once done toast, put on clean dish towel and rub to loosen skins.
  • Break nuts into bowl, discarding the skins.
  • Let cool.

Dough

  • In food processor, mix walnuts, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, powdered sugar, salt, and cocoa powder until walnuts are finely ground.
  • Add butter.
  • Pulse until butter has absorbed the cocoa mixture.
  • Add flour.
  • Pulse until there are a lot of moist, crumbly pieces and no dry flour.
  • Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats and place in refrigerator to chill.
  • In small bowl, place granulated sugar for coating.
  • Remove 1 of the dough halves to begin shaping cookies.
  • Take a rounded tablespoon of chilled dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls.
  • Roll balls in sugar mixture until coated.
  • Place cookies on lined, chilled cookie sheets.  Keep cookies about 2 inches apart and press them down so that each is about 1/2 inch high.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  • Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack

 

Price: $60
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Sunday Baking: Pinot Gris and Snickerdoodles

While my coworkers all enjoyed the novelty of the Candied Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies, they were clearly not the success I hoped they would be because there were still cookies left in the tin at the end of the week. Normally, all the cookies are gone by mid-day on Monday. It’s a rarity for cookies to even make it until Tuesday. During my whole year of baking cookies for my office, the only time I’ve had to take cookies home with me on a Friday was during heavy vacation/holiday weeks. So, clearly, these were a bust. In order to win back my fans, I decided to go with something simple and traditional…the Snickerdoodle.

Sunday BakingThe baking process is usually pretty routine for me. I pick out cookies for the week on Saturday before Hubby and I go grocery shopping. Then, Sunday is all about the baking. Whether it’s a lounge-around-at-home or an errand day, one of the first things I do is make coffee and set out to work on the dough so that it can chill in the refrigerator for several hours while I go about the rest of the day.

This past Sunday was pretty quiet. Saturday had been very busy trying to get our condo ready to rent. In fact, we hit more than a few snags in the work we were doing, which meant the projects we were on were delayed, so by the time Sunday rolled around, Hubby and I were tired, frustrated, and wanted nothing to do with home improvement activities. That said, we still have a lot of settling in to do in the new house, so we took the time at home in the new place to hang a few paintings on the wall and put together our new grill, which we promptly used.

Thankfully, the Pinot Gris I opened to enjoy with the hot dogs with mac & cheese, lasted me through the end of the book I was reading and into my Snickerdoodle baking.

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris and Snickerdoodles

2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris and Snickerdoodles

The 2012 Bouchaine Vineyards Pinot Gris (winery, snooth) is a from Napa Valley, California and is made with 100% Pinot Gris grapes. The wine had a light-to-medium straw yellow color. On the nose, there were nectarines, Granny Smith apples, and hints of honey. In the mouth, there were limes, grapefruits, tart Granny Smith apples, and hints of nectarines and thyme. The wine had a light-to-medium body and bright acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $30 a bottle, this wine is a little on the high end for an everyday wine, but it offers something a little different in a white that I think makes it worthwhile. It’s easy to drink both on its own and with food. The acidity helped cut through some of the fattiness of the hot dogs and mac & cheese without overpowering the food, which was perfect. Admittedly, the Pinot Gris didn’t pair with the cookies as well as I hoped. I thought the lighter flavors and the acidity would go nicely with the lighter cookie, but the citrusy notes clashed with the cinnamon from the cookie. Oh, well…lesson learned.

Bouchaine Vineyards Cork and SnickerdoodlesOverall, one coworker said to me on the way to our staff meeting that “Normally, [he doesn’t] think one way or the other about Snicerkdoodles, but these are damn good ones.” And, as if to prove the point, all 3 dozen cookies were eaten within 3 hours of my bringing them to the office. It confirms that I think I perfected my Snickerdoodle recipe. So, my Sunday Baking seems to have been an all-around success, even if the wine-cookie pairing itself wasn’t very good.

Question of the Day: What do you do when you create a bad food pairing…do you stop drinking the wine with the food or do you just push through and hope for better next time?

 

Snickerdoodles

(*adapted from Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe)
Yields: 4 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (for coating)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (for coating)

Directions

  • In medium bowl, mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  • Add vanilla and mix until combined.
  • On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just blended (about 30 seconds).
  • Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats and place in refrigerator to chill.
  • In small bowl, mix together sugar and cinnamon for coating.
  • Remove one of the dough halves to begin shaping cookies.
  • Take a rounded tablespoon of chilled dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1-inch balls.
  • Roll balls in the cinnamon and sugar mixture until coated.
  • Place cookies on lined, chilled cookie sheets. Keep cookies about 2 inches apart and press them down so that each is about 1/2 inch high.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack
    Remember to chill the dough and cookie sheets between batches.

Price: $30
Purchased at Bouchaine Vineyards Website (through the wine club)
Overall: 4 Corks

Sunday Baking: Petite Sirah & Candied Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Carmel Winery CorkI’ve wanted to experiment with putting bacon in my cookies for a while, but I felt there was something intimidating about puting the sweet and savory, particularly bacon, together in my cookies. Since the “My Chocolate Chip Cookies” started me off with a good chocolate chip cookie base, though, I decided to make some tweaks to that underlying recipe and bite the bullet by adding bacon to my cookies.

Tidy Mom’s Candied Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies seemed like the perfect place to start.  Since I didn’t have any bacon fat to use, first I made bacon (with a little extra for breakfast), then I candied it and let it cool, before finally being able to make the dough and letting it chill for several hours in the refrigerator.  It was a bit of a process and learning experience, but candying the bacon actually wasn’t too difficult.

2009 Carmel Winery Old Vines Petite Sirah

2009 Carmel Winery Old Vines Petite Sirah

Thinking through the flavors in the cookie, I really wanted a deep, bold red wine to match the spices and savoriness, and I was looking for something with a little bit of acidity to help cut through the fat.  So, I grabbed the 2009 Carmel Winery Old Vines Petite Sirah.  As someone who is Jewish but doesn’t keep kosher, it wasn’t until after I opened the wine and started taking pictures and notes that I realized I paired a kosher wine with a bacon cookie. Eeeek!  That said, while my kosher readers won’t be able to indulge in the pairing, the two went together very nicely.

The 2009 Carmel Winery Appellation Old Vines Petite Sirah (winery, snooth) is made in the Judean Hills of Israel with 100% Petite Sirah grapes.  The wine was a deep, inky purple with flecks of ruby throughout.  On the nose, there were blueberries and violets with a hint of something that reminded me of a freshly paved driveway.  On the mouth, there were blueberries, violets, with a hint of black pepper.  The wine was full-bodied, with medium-to-high acidity, and firm tannins.

2009 Carmel Winery Old Vines Petite Sirah and Candied Bacon Bour

2009 Carmel Winery Old Vines Petite Sirah and Candied Bacon Bour

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $18 a bottle, this Petite Sirah offers a lot wine for not a whole lot of money.  This wine takes every stereotype of kosher wines and throws them out the window.   Instead, it’s luscious; it’s easy to drink; it’s food friendly, but also enjoyable on its own; and, ultimately, it’s everything I look for in a red wine.

As for the Candied Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies, there was a lot going on with this cookie…and I think it was a little too much.  While I understand the flavors that were being attempted, I will simplify it when I make another batch—definitely eliminate the cayenne pepper and the bacon grease, probably eliminate the bourbon, and add a few more strips of bacon.

Overall, the cookies and the wine were a success.  Regardless of whether you’re looking for a kosher wine, this is one to grab…and if you eat bacon, I recommend pairing it with a Candied Bacon Chocolate Chip cookie.

Question of the Day: Do you like to mix your sweet and savory flavors?  Do you like pairing those flavors with wine?

Candied Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe*

Ingredients

Ingredients for Candied Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients for Candied Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 5 slices bacon, raw (Next time, I will use 7 or 8 slices)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/3 cups bleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Next time, I will eliminate)
  • 9 tablespoons butter (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) or 7 tablespoons if you don’t plan to clarify the butter
  • 1/4 cup bacon grease, chilled (Next time, I will eliminate)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (Next time, I might eliminate)
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

Instructions
For Candied Bacon

  1. Preheat oven to bake at 375°F.
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Toss bacon in maple syrup; I put the bacon in a Ziploc bag and pour the syrup in to evenly coat without breaking the bacon.
  4. Lay bacon on prepared pan.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove bacon from oven, allow to cool, then crumble candied bacon and set aside.

For Cookies

  1. Clarify and brown the butter.   Measure out 7 tablespoons of butter, scrape in the browned solids, and let it cool to below 80 degrees F before combining other ingredients.
  2. In medium bowl, combine chocolate chips and crumbled bacon.
  3. In second medium bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and pepper (if you use it).  Set aside.
  4. In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine butter, bacon grease, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until very light, between 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition.
  6. Add vanilla and bourbon, mixing until combined.
  7. On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix for 30 seconds.
  8. Add chocolate chips and bacon, mixing on low until just until evenly incorporated.
  9. Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
  10. Preheat oven to 375F.
  11. Remove each batch 5 to 10 minutes before shaping it.
  12. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  13. Take a rounded tablespoon of dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create 1 to 1/2 inch balls.
  14. Place the dough balls onto the baking sheet 2 to 3 inches apart and press them down so that each is about 1/2 inch high.
  15. Place in oven and bake until golden brown, about 9-11 minutes.
  16. Remove from oven and place the baking sheet on wire rack for 1 minute before transferring the cookies onto another rack to finish cooling.

*Recipe adapted from Tidy Mom’s Candied Bacon Bourbon Chocolate Chip Cookies and Rose Levy Beranbaum’s My Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Price: $18
Purchased at Kosherwine.com
Overall: 4 Corks

Sunday Baking: Malbec & “My Chocolate Chip Cookies”

2008 Achaval-Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec with Rose Levy Beranbaum's "My Chocolate Chip Cookies"

2008 Achaval-Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec with Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “My Chocolate Chip Cookies”

I love to bake, but for a long time didn’t indulge because I didn’t have the right equipment.  My mother in law bought be a Kitchen Aid stand mixer last Christmas, so for the last year, I’ve been baking cookies almost every week for my coworkers and my brother.  I decided this was better than baking weekly cookies for Hubby and me because neither of us needed to go through that many cookies.  Plus, I love to share the latest baking experiment with others.  Sure, between vacations and work travel, there have been a few missed weeks in there, but it’s been pretty consistent.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that somewhere along the way, I started posting the pictures under the hashtag #SundayBaking.  However, the cookies never really intersected with the purpose of A Glass After work, so I kept it all on Instagram.  And, then the pairing happened…

I don’t know why it took me so long to open a bottle of wine or beer while baking, but it wasn’t until October when I was drinking Terrapin Beer Company’s Pumpkinfest while making Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies that it hit me.  Since then, most of my cookie baking has been combined with a glass of wine or a bottle of beer, and I’ve decided it’s time to share those awith you through a new weekly post…Sunday Baking.

My Chocolate Chip Cookies and The Baking Bible by Rose Lvy BeranI’m on a quest to make the perfect chocolate chip cookie dough, so I decided to start from scratch with a traditional chocolate chip cookie.  My friend (and amazing photographer), Kami, gave me Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Baking Bible for the holidays this year, so that seemed like a good place to start.  The cookies were really good, but not perfect, so I’ll continue to tweak the recipe and share as I do.  However, they paired beautifully with the Malbec I opened.

The 2008 Achaval-Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec (winery, snooth) is from Mendoza, Argentina and is made with 100% Malbec grapes.  The wine was a deep purple with flecks of ruby, particularly on the rim.  On the nose, there were plums, cherries, and hints of flowers.  In the mouth, there were plums, cherries, and violets mixed with baking spices.  The wine had a full body, medium-to-high tannins, and medium-to-high acidity.

2008 Achaval-Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec

2008 Achaval-Ferrer Finca Mirador Malbec

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for?  At $80 a bottle, this wine is expensive, but worth every penny.  Admittedly, I received it as a birthday present a few years ago, and after some research, decided to wait to open it in hopes that the characteristics would mellow—and they did.  This wine is in prime drinking form and would be perfect with a nice steak dinner.

Admittedly, The Finca Mirador is too expensive to normally open while baking cookies.  However, I threw a little caution to the wind because it seemed like the perfect timing, since it’s the new year and I’m baking in our new house.  The wine was a little something special on a fairly normal day, and it made for a delicious pairing.  Afterwards, I continued to enjoy the wine in front of our fireplace, and there’s nothing quite like a relaxing evening with a fantastic wine and a nice fire.

While the bottle is too expensive for an every day wine and is out of the price range for many people, if you see it in the store, you should grab it.  It’s luscious and smooth, easy to drink, and is the epitome of a big, beautiful wine.

Question of the Day: Do you have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that you love?  Do you every combine drinking and baking?

2008 Achaval Ferrer Malbec cork

Price: $80
Overall: 4.5 Corks

New Year’s Eve with Mumm

Hubby & me at the Ponte Vecchio in Florence; Me and Andrea from Of Vines & Velos at Bridlewood Estate Winery; and Hubby and me in front of our new home.

Hubby & me at the Ponte Vecchio in Florence; Me and Andrea from Of Vines & Velos at Bridlewood Estate Winery; and Hubby and me in front of our new home.

I admit it…I was sorry to see 2014 end.  It was a wonderful year for Hubby and me.  We started it off by celebrating the New Year and our 7th wedding anniversary in Rome and Florence, Italy.  In March, I was finally fully recovered from the major hip surgery I had in 2013, so I ran my first post-surgery half marathon on the one-year anniversary.  I attended the 2014 Wine Bloggers’ Conference in Santa Barbara, where I caught up with old wine friends and made some fantastic new ones (both of which you will be hearing more about over the coming weeks).  Hubby accepted a new job in August and is finally enjoying some job stability.  And, while we were in Vegas running our second half marathon of the year, Hubby and I found out that the offer we put on a new house was accepted.  So, we ended 2014 by leaving Virginia and moving into our new house in the District of Columbia…all right before the holidays.

Sadly, Hubby had the flu on New Year’s Eve 2015, so our plan to go out with friends was thwarted.  Instead, we curled up on the couch and watched a new-for-us series, “Ray Donovan,” and “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.”  And, of course, I opened a bottle of bubbly.

Mumm sparkling wine is a regular favorite in my house.  In fact, I enjoy it enough to split a wine club membership with a couple of the Wine Ladies.  So, I couldn’t resist open a bottle of their wine for New Year’s this year.

010 Mumm Blanc de Blancs

2010 Mumm Blanc de Blancs

The 2010 Mumm Napa Blanc de Blancs (winery) is made in Napa Valley, California with a blend of 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Gris grapes.  It has a light-to-medium golden color with a lot of small, persistent bubbles.  On the nose, there are limes and apples.  In the mouth, there are limes, apples, and a hint of apricots and buttered biscuit.  The sparkler is light bodied with high acidity.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $42 a bottle (or $33.60 if you’re a Mumm Club Vivant member), this bubbly is more of a nice dinner wine than one to open every day.  That said, if you’re looking for a romantic evening with oysters or having company and want a welcome bubbly to start the evening or pair a sparkler with salad, the Mumm Blanc de Blancs is very food friendly and would make the perfect pairing.  It is also worth considering if you’re looking for something to curl up with in front of a fire for a special evening at home, as the bubbly is beautiful on its own.  For me, while Hubby and I didn’t end up spending New Year’s as we planned, the Mumm helped cap off a fantastic 2014.

Question of the Day: What did you drink this New Year’s Eve?

Price: $42 a bottle (or $33.60 for Mumm Club Vivant members)
Purchased at Mumm Napa website
Overall: 4 Corks