Cookies and Wine Pairing Party

Did you know that December 4th was National Cookie Day?? Yeah, I didn't either. But I think my subconscious did! I unknowingly planned a cookie and wine pairing party for last Friday evening which just happened to be National Cookie Day. I hosted the pairing party for the new members of the Junior League as a social.

I spent quite a bit of time researching what pairings to feature at the party. It wasn't the easiest thing to find information on. If, however, you'd like to have specifically a Girl Scout cookie and wine pairing then there is a plethora of information for that! This "Baking Bites" website gives a good rundown on pairing wines and dessert. The majority of my information and pairings came from this "Swirl Savvy" blog post and then a bit of additional information from this "Vine Pair" graphic.

I landed on 7 pairings: Sugar Cookies & Prosecco, White chocolate-based Cookies & Moscato, Gingerbread Cookies & Riesling, Snowball Cookies & Pinot Grigio, Chocolate peppermint Cookies & Cabernet, Dark chocolate-based Cookies & Red Zinfandel, and finally Chocolate chip Cookies & Cabernet. Before the party I sent out a sign up to everyone coming and had the ladies choose which cookie or wine they wanted to bring. This worked out perfectly!

The pairings were all placed around the dining room table and the tasting happened at everyone's leisure. I was really proud of myself for using our Christmas dishes (the salad plate) and stemless wine glasses - no paper products! I had paper napkins but I actually forgot to put them out so this was really a zero waste party! Well, I guess technically I need to retract that statement. I cut out wrapping paper to place as a border around the table. Since there would be lots of small amounts of wine being poured I didn't want anyone to have to worry about dripping on the tablecloth so this was a good (and festive) way to protect against wine drips. The wrapping paper was later recycled though!

Now here are the tasting notes for the different pairings and I'm sharing the recipes for the cookies if they were homemade. The pairings are presented from light intensity to strong. The sugar cookies and prosecco are light on the palette and therefore were our first pairing while we end with the richness of chocolate chip cookies and cabernet. The tasting notes were printed onto the red card tents with a gingerbread man sticker on it!

Sugar Cookies & Prosecco
   The quintessential Christmas cookie, Prosecco’s hint of sweetness and bubbles go perfectly with the delicate flavors of the cookie. The bubbles in this sparkling wine go wonderfully with the crunchy sugar coating on the cookies as well.

White Chocolate-based Cookies & Moscato
   White chocolate tends to be more mellow and buttery in flavor, making it an ideal candidate for Moscato. This dessert wine will pick up the creaminess of the white chocolate. Moscato fabulously accompanies any fruit-filled cookie as well.

Red Velvet Cookies with White Chocolate Chips adapted from Inside BruCrew Life blog
   Prep Time: 45 minutes Cook Time: 9 minutes Yield: 36 cookies

1 red velvet cake mix (18 oz.)
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

   In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix and butter, Add the egg, vanilla, and cream cheese and beat until mixed thoroughly. Stir in the chips by hand. Chill the dough at least 30 minutes.
   Roll the dough into 1 -1 1/2 inch balls. Bake on a nonstick surface at 350F for 9 minutes. Let rest on pan for 2 minutes before removing to parchment lined counters. Cool completely before storing in a sealed container for up to 5 days. Makes 36 cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies & Riesling
   The slightly sweet flavors of the Riesling make it an ideal pair for the spicy flavors of ginger. The wine will be a perfect match, showing delicious honey, vanilla & fruit flavors and is sure to be a holiday hit.

Snowball Cookies & Pinot Grigio
   Also often called Italian Wedding Cookies, these crumbly goodies are perfect with Italy’s most popular white wine.

Wedding Cookies
1 3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup nuts (I used pecans)
1 cup chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)
3/4 cup butter (I used room temp butter)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp rum
2 tsp cold water
confectioners sugar for rolling

   Mix butter and flour, then salt, rum, water, nuts, and chocolate chips.  Form into small balls.  Bake at 325 for 15-20 minutes.  Roll two times in confectioners sugar.

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies & Cabernet 
   A holiday favorite! Cabernets are a great match for any variation of mint and chocolate because they have pronounced minty nuances of their own. They offer a cornucopia of rich raspberry, blackberry and cherry, with hints of clove and mint that explode on the palate.

Chocolate Peppermint Crackle Cookies from Southern Living
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate baking bars, chopped
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup powdered sugar

   Microwave first 3 ingredients in a medium-size microwave-safe bowl at HIGH 1 to 2 minutes or until butter and chocolate are melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir in granulated sugar and next 2 ingredients until blended. Stir together flour, cocoa, and baking powder in a small bowl. Stir flour mixture into chocolate mixture until well blended. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and chill 1 hour to 5 days.
   Preheat oven to 350°. Carefully drop dough by level spoonfuls into powdered sugar, using a 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop, and roll to coat. Place coated cookies 1 inch apart on 2 parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
   Bake, in batches, at 350° for 10 minutes or until cookies are crackled. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 20 minutes).

Dark Chocolate-based Cookies & Red Zinfandel
   Dark or bittersweet chocolate needs a stronger wine with concentrated fruit notes, and perhaps a hint of its own chocolate notes. Zinfandels have a history of perfecting the dark chocolate match, resulting in an unparalleled tasting combination.

Chocolate Biscotti from David Lebovitz
   Yields 50 to 60 cookies

   For the biscotti
2 cups (280g) flour
3/4 cups (75g) top-quality cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup (125g) almonds, toasted and very coarsely-chopped
3/4 cups (120g) chocolate chips
   For the glaze
1 large egg
2 tablespoons coarse or crystal sugar

   Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
   In a small bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.
   In a large bowl, beat together the 3 eggs, sugar, and vanilla & almond extracts. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, then mix in the nuts and the chocolate chips until the dough holds together.
   Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Divide the dough in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into two logs the length of the baking sheet. Transfer the logs onto the baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.
   Gently flatten the tops of the logs. Beat the remaining egg and brush the tops of the logs liberally with the egg. (You won’t use it all). Sprinkle the tops with the coarse or crystal sugar and bake for 25 minutes, until the dough feels firm to the touch.
   Remove the cookie dough from the oven and cool 15 minutes. On a cutting board, use a serrated bread knife to diagonally cut the cookies into 1/2-inches slices. Lay the cookies cut side down on baking sheets and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, turning the baking sheet midway during baking, until the cookies feel mostly firm.
   Once baked, cool the cookies completely then store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. If you wish, the cookies can be half-dipped in melted chocolate, then cooled until the chocolate hardens.

Chocolate Chip Cookies & Cabernet
   America’s favorite red with America’s favorite cookie. Chocolate goes great with Cabernet, especially if the chips are of the dark variety. The fruit and acidity of the Cabernet will compliment the richness of the chocolate without either obscuring any detail of the other.

Tips / Notes 
-Set a knife next to each plate so that the cookies can be cut into smaller portions! This is a lot of sweet stuff! Also make sure to have a water pitcher on the table.
-The Gingerbread & Riesling as well as the Chocolate peppermint & Cabernet were our favorites.
-Have some goody bags on hand to divide the leftover cookies with folks.
-Make sure to have a small savory spread as well so if someone wants something heavier after all the cookies and wine they'll have it.

Patrick had an orchestra rehearsal on this particular night but I saved him a cookie from each pairing and there was plenty of wine leftover for him to have a personal cookie and wine pairing.

Here's the savory spread - chips with spinach artichoke dip, antipasti platter - olives, assortment of goat cheese, salami and crackers, and grapes.

And that's how you have a cookie and wine pairing party!


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