Friday, May 10, 2013

Cookies and Wine

I've been eyeing this recipe for Mexican wine cookies for a while.  Cookies with port wine in the dough?  How bad could those be?

The dough is fairly simple, as with most cookie doughs. It's a bit sticky, so it needs to be refrigerated before rolling it out, but I've worked with worse. And the flavor of the raw cookie dough is wonderfully rich with the crunch of ground almonds, spiky hints of cinnamon, and the delicious port wine. It reminded me of the Jewish Passover dessert charoset.

Baked, the cookies mellowed out in flavor. They were like a pleasant shortbread, but they were missing something, so I sprinkled on some colored sanding sugar. I went for purple, to suggest the port wine. The sanding sugar gave them a nice crunch.

I'd make these again as part of a cookie tray, or as a novelty item for a wine-themed party, but the recipe didn't quite live up to their name, or their dough.

Mexican Wine Cookies
(adapted from Joyce White)

3 1/2 cups all-purpose four
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds, blanched or with skins
4 to 6 tbsp sweet sherry or port

1.  Whisk together flour and salt and set aside.  In a stand mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and cinnamon until light and fluffy.  Stir in the egg and beat again until well blended, then add the almonds and mix well again.
2.  Stir in half the dry ingredients and mix well.  Then add the port and the rest of the dry ingredients.  Continue mixing and then form dough into a disc, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
3.  Preheat the oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment. Divide the dough into four quarters and leave three in the fridge. On a floured work surface, roll out dough to about 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, cur the dough in circles and place an inch apart on the cookie sheets.
4.  Bake one sheet at a time for about 10 minutes, or until lightly tinged with brown. When done, remove sheet and let cool for a few minutes, then remove cookies onto another rack to finish cooking.

Yield:  about four dozen cookies

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