Rugelach and Yarden Merlot

Chocolate Rugelach

Chocolate Rugelach

Sunday, September 20th was a pretty normal Sunday in the A Glass After Work household. The morning was spent doing yard work, while the afternoon was spent doing other chores around the house, preparing for the week ahead, and baking cookies. The universe of who gets cookies these days has expanded– several dozen are for my coworkers, a dozen are for my brother and sister-in-law who are in the military, and a half dozen or so go to the guys in the UPS office who do a fantastic job helping me package and ship cookies across the country every week. As my baking has continued, I’ve started focusing on cookies that fit the season or test my creative baking skills. So, with Sunday being in the middle of the Jewish High Holidays and figuring most of my coworkers and the UPS guys had never had homemade rugelach before, I decided that the Jewish cookie would be the best option. Sure, they’re a bit of work, but I opened a bottle of Merlot, turned on the radio, and was ready to go!

2009 Yarden Merlot

2009 Yarden Merlot

The 2009 Yarden Merlot (winery, snooth) was a deep purple with hints of ruby. On the nose, there were blackberries and hints of black cherry, tobacco, and vanilla. In the mouth, there were blackberries mixed with vanilla and hints of tobacco. The wine had a medium body, medium acidity, and medium tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable glass. At $30 a bottle, I wanted more from this wine. There was nothing bad about it, but there was nothing memorable either. It was a little thin, the flavors fell flat in my mouth, and the finish was short. The wine opened up after breathing a little, but even with that, each sip just left me wanting something different.  Maybe I would have felt different if this wine was half the price, but $30 just seems like a lot of money for an average wine.

The cookies, though, were a huge success. My coworkers devoured them all before lunchtime, and my brother texted to tell me they were “awesome…honestly, some of the best [he’d] ever had.” I will definitely be making them again.

Overall, the pairing the Merlot with the rugelach actually helped the wine, and the cookies stood up to the stronger drink choice. If you’re a rugelach fan, I would definitely recommend making these and pairing them with some wine.

Question of the Day:  How much impact does price have on your wine selection?  What about on your enjoyment of that bottle?

Chocolate Rugelach
Print Recipe
A Jewish pastry-like cookie that can be filled with chocolate, a mixture of nuts and raisins, or jam.
32 rugelach
32 rugelach
Chocolate Rugelach
Print Recipe
A Jewish pastry-like cookie that can be filled with chocolate, a mixture of nuts and raisins, or jam.
32 rugelach
32 rugelach
Chocolate Filling
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate , finely chopped (I used mini chips, but if you use regular sized ones make sure you chop them!)
  • 3 Tbs butter , unsalted; melted and cooled
Servings: rugelach
Making the dough
  1. Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Place cubed, chilled cream cheese and butter in food processor. Process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice to make sure everything is mixed.
  3. Add egg, vanilla, and sugar. Process until incorporated.
  4. Add flour mixture, and pulse until the dough starts to clump together. The dough will form large, curdlike clumps.
  5. Form dough into ball and divide in half. Chill dough for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 3 days.
Chocolate filling
  1. Melt butter and let it cool.
  2. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and chocolate.
  3. When butter is cooled, pour into cinnamon-sugar mixture and mix thoroughly.
Assembling rugelach
  1. brush the butter over the rolled out rugelach, sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then press the chocolate down evenly over the dough. Roll up and bake.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  3. Remove dough from refrigerator, and let it stand for 5 minutes or until it is malleable enough to roll.
  4. Flour work surface. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 10 to 12 inch circle and until it is about 1/8 of an inch thick. When you are finished rolling, use a pizza cutter to trim the edges of the dough to make an even circle. As you're rolling, be sure to rotate and reflour as necessary. If the dough becomes too sticky to work with, you can briefly place it back in the refrigerator until it is firm enough to roll.
  5. Mark the center of the dough with the tip of a knife. Cover the dough with the filling, making sure to spread evenly. Avoid putting the filling in the very center of the dough, as the filling will push towards the center when the triangles are rolled up.
  6. Use a pizza cutter to cut the circle into 12-to-16 equal-sized wedges.
  7. Starting with the outside of the circle, roll each triangle tightly and carefully to make the classic rugelach shape. Place the rugelach seam side down onto your parchment.
  8. Place each rugelach on the baking sheet. It's best to put them seam side down to help keep them closed, although I wasn't as careful about that as I should have been.
  9. Bake for 10 minutes, and the rotate the baking sheet in the oven for even baking. After rotating, bake for another 5-10 minutes, for a total bake time of 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.
  10. Once the baking sheets are removed from the oven, let cookies set on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

**adapted from The Crepes of Wrath and The Baking Bible

Price: $30
Purchased at Total Wine & More
Overall: 3 Corks

What are you waiting for…it’s Open That Bottle Night!

Most of the wines I open for an everyday drinking are $20 or less.  However, since the move, I’ve found myself opening wines that I’ve been holding onto for unknown reasons.  I think packing everything up and seeing some of the great wines that I was holding onto for an unknown reasons left me wanting to just open and enjoy them all just for the sheer joy of enjoying fantastic wine.  Four out of the five wines I’ve reviewed since the big move have cost more than $30.  The most expensive one was an $80 bottle that I had been saving for almost five years.

Let’s be honest with each other, though…not only do I not normally open an $80 Malbec on a random Sunday night while I was baking cookies…neither do you.  But, there is something liberating and fun about throwing caution to the wind and opening that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a yet-to-be-determined “special event.”  And, that is why Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher started Open That Bottle Night.

Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) takes place on the last Saturday in February, and it’s all about opening a bottle of wine that is special.  It could be a bottle that you bought on a  special vacation or it may be the most expensive bottle you’ve ever purchased.  Regardless, it’s that wine that stares at you every time you look at your wine rack and leaves you thinking “is today the perfect day?”

For me, I’m ending my crazy run of opening expensive, non-everyday wines on OTBN (and before I drink all of the special bottles I own).  I’m also participating in a blog hop with several other fantastic wine bloggers that I met last summer at the Wine Bloggers Conference (special thanks to Anne at Odd Ball Grape for organizing!).  With that in mind, it seemed only appropriate to open a wonderful wine that I bought in Santa Ynez, California at Bridlewood Estate Winery on the last day of the conference.

2009 Bridlewood Estate Winery Syrah

2009 Bridlewood Estate Winery Reserve Syrah

The 2009 Bridlewood Estate Winery Reserve Syrah (winery, snooth) is from Santa Ynez, California and is made with 100% Syrah grapes.  The wine was a deep clear purple with a bright ruby rim.  On the nose, there were black cherries, black licorice, and nutmeg mixed with the slightest hint of violets, black pepper, and earthiness.  In the mouth, there were black cherries, black licorice, dark chocolate, and hints of espresso, leather, and violets.  The wine had a full-body, good acidity, and strong tannins.

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for? At $50 a bottle, this wine is not cheap, but it’s worth the extra price if you’re looking for a wine that is a little extra special.  It’s what I look for in a big, bold red wine.  It has a nice complexity that makes it enjoyable to drink on its own, but also is wine that pairs nicely food, particularly with Hubby’s pork chops.

Question of the Day:  Did you participate in Open That Bottle Night?  If so, what did you indulge in?

Price: $50
Purchased at Bridlewood Estate Winery
Overall: 5 Corks

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

2009 Carmel Winery Petite Sirah– At $18 a bottle, this kosher red wine from Israel offers a lot of wine for not a lot of money. It’s luscious, easy to drink, and food-friendly…everything a red wine should be. Rating 4 out 5 |

2009 Carmel Winery Petite Sirah– At $18 a bottle, this kosher red wine from Israel offers a lot of wine for not a lot of money. It’s luscious, easy to drink, and food-friendly…everything a red wine should be. Rating 4 out 5 |

Carmel Winery CorkI’ve wanted to experiment with putting bacon in my cookies for a while, but I felt there was something intimidating about putt

ing 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 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

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
Overall: 4 Corks

A Lazy Sunday with Al Passo

350ml ceramic carafe from Florence ceramics store Ceramiche Luca della RobbiaLast Sunday was a lazy day in the A Glass After Work household.  The weather in DC was absolutely frigid.  I know, I know… those of you who live in places with colder weather are probably laughing.  I grew up in Upstate New York, so I understand the laughter, and I know firsthand that it’s colder elsewhere.  But, now I’ve live in DC, and I’ve lived here for almost 15 years.  In DC, we rarely see temperatures in the single digits or a wind chill of -10F, which means I’m no longer used to it, and I don’t have the super heavy hats, gloves, and coats that are necessary in really cold weather.  So, when you combine the ridiculously cold weather with Hubby and I being very sore for Saturday’s 10.5 mile run and it being second day of three-day weekend, there wasn’t a chance for Sunday to be anything other than a lazy day.

2009 Tolaini Estate Al Passo

2009 Tolaini Estate Al Passo

I spent most of the day editing pictures from Italy.  I ended up taking more than 2000 images while we were there, so going through them is a slow process.  But, I’m making progress.  After I went through 2 days of pictures, I decided it was time to open some wine and do a little blogging.  To keep in the spirit of Italy, I opened a Super Tuscan and poured the wine into my new ceramic wine carafe.  Almost every restaurant in Italy brought my wine to the table in a glass or ceramic carafe, and the moment I saw this 350ml carafe in the ceramics store (Ceramiche Luca della Robbia), I knew I had to have it.

The 2009 Tolaini Estate Al Passo (winery) is from Tuscany, Italy and is made with 85% Sangiovese and 15% Merlot grapes.  The wine was a deep ruby color with a garnet rim.  On the nose, there was smoke, cranberries, cherries, and earth.  In the mouth, there was earth and smoke mixed with cherries, cranberries, and hints of leather.  The wine had a medium-to-full body, medium-to-high acidity, and medium-to-high  tannins.  The wine is unfiltered, so there was a touch of sediment in my glass and at the bottom of the bottle.

Bistecca alla Fiorentina and Vino della Casa at Osteria dei Benci

Bistecca alla Fiorentina and the vino della casa at Osteria dei Benci

Is this worth a glass after work? It’s worth more than one!  What are you waiting for?  At $25, this wine is big, bold, and beautiful.  It needs to breathe a little before the full aromas and flavors come to life, but once the wine gets a little air, you won’t be able to stop drinking it.  My only regret is that I didn’t have Osteria dei Benci’s Bistecca alla Fiorentina or Golosa to go with this wine because it was begging to be paired with a nice steak or meaty pasta dish and enjoyed over a long, leisurely Italian dinner.

P.S.  Today is the last day to complete my reader survey. If you haven’t taken it yet, it should only take 2 minutes to complete it.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on A Glass After Work.  THANKS!

Question of the Day: How has the weather been by you?  Has it changed what you’re drinking?

Price: $25
Purchased at Lot18
Overall: 4.5 Corks

Top 5 White, Rosé, & Sparkling Wine for Thanksgiving 2013

Yesterday, I posted my top 5 red wine suggestions for Thanksgiving.  Today’s post is all about the white, rosé, and sparkling wine suggestions.  Since wine is usually the backdrop of a holiday meal, and everyone around the table is likely to have very different palates, I tried to provide suggestions that can meet both the sweet and the dry wine lovers preferences.  That said, in order to make sure the wines don’t overpower the meal and keep everything tasting fresh, my suggestions are all wines a lighter body, are unoaked, and have bright acidity.  Enjoy!


2010 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc

2010 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc

The 2010 Michel-Schlumberger La Bise Pinot Blanc (winery) was the white wine I chose for the post-Thanksgiving dinner Hubby and I did for ourselves last year.  It’s a white wine from California, and it had wonderful grapefruit and lime characteristics that were followed by hints of white flowers, grass, honey, and jasmine.  It was a delicious accompaniment to the meal, but was particularly good with Hubby’s pesto mashed potatoes.  I gave this wine 4.5 corks and purchased it for $24.


2009 Buried Cane Chardonnay

2009 Buried Cane Chardonnay

The 2009 Buried Cane Chardonnay (winery) is a no-oak Chardonnay that is very food-friendly.  The wine tasted of limes, granny smith apples, and pears, with the slightest hint of lemon custard. The wine has a light-to-medium body and a bright acidity that will go nicely with the turkey without overpowering it.  And, if some reason you manage not to finish the bottle (although I will be very surprised if that happens), the wine holds up nicely over a couple of days.  I gave the Burried Cane Chardonnay 4.5 corks and received it as a sample, but the suggested retail price is $14.


2011 Sawtooth Riesling

2011 Sawtooth Riesling

The 2011 Sawtooth Rielsing (winery) is probably the wine that I will bring to my in-laws, as my mother-and-sister-in-law both prefer wines with a hint of sweetness.  The wine tastes of peaches, Lemonheads candy, honey, and flowers with a hint of minerality.  What is great about this Riesling, though, is that it isn’t overly sweet and the acidity is bright.  So, even if you tend to prefer dry whites, you should give this wine a try.  I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $10. (I will have a review of this vintage posted in the next couple of weeks, but here is my review of the 2010 vintage)


2012 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zin Gris

2012 Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zin Gris

The Storybook Mountain Vineyards Zin Gris (winery) has nice flavors and good acidity, which will help keep the Thanksgiving meal fresh tasting, particularly when it comes to the butter-laden mashed potatoes and sweet potato casseroles.  The flavors, though, are will also help incorporated other dishes on the table, as the wine is full of nice mixture of cranberries, limes, and thyme.  This wine will be a great accompaniment without overpowering the food.  I gave it 4.5 corks and purchased it online through the vineyard for $19.


Gruet Blanc de Noirs

Gruet Blanc de Noirs

The Gruet Blanc de Noirs (winery) a bubble that is made with 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay grapes.  It’s full of berries, baked pears and hints of toast, cream, and vanilla.  The small, persistent bubbles, light body, and bright acidity will help keep your palate fresh as during the meal, as well as work as a nice digestive while you’re sitting around talking afterwards.  I gave this wine 4 corks and purchased it for $13. (I will have a full review posted in the next couple of weeks.)

(I didn’t post a Thanksgiving list last year, but here are my 2011 red wine and white wine recommendations)

Question of the Day:  Are you thinking about a bubbly or a rose for your Thanksgiving dinner or are you more likely to stick with red and white wines?