Last week I got this idea of combining chocolate and red wine in baking, and doing so in the cookie form seemed like a good challenge. Since there’s not much liquid in a cookie dough, I decided to cook the wine into a syrup, and it worked wonderfully – the cookies went to the oven all shiny and dark, and came out a little crackled and wrinkly and extremely more-ish.
The flavor of these cookies is rather complex and surprising. The earthy fruitiness of the red wine syrup and the licorice undertones from the whole cane sugar match very well with the dark chocolate in my opinion. These might not be a crowd-pleaser I would bake for a birthday party, but I’d be proud to serve these for a small group of friends whose tastes I know well – and definitely to myself on a day when I need a lift of spirits!
The Cookie Dough (makes 10 cookies):
- 1 dl red wine (table wine, but nothing you wouldn’t drink)
- 1 and 1/2 dl whole cane sugar
- 2 dl wheat flour
- 1/2 dl good cocoa powder (Green & Black’s)
- 1/3 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 dl canola oil
- 35 g dark chocolate (70%, to fill the cookies with)
I placed the red wine and the whole cane sugar in a small cooking pan and heated them on medium heat until they started to boil. Then I let the mixture boil until it had thickened into 1 dl of thick syrup, for less than 10 minutes. Boiling the syrup for too long will make it too stiff when it cools – be careful, you don’t want to caramelize the sugar too much.
After reducing it, I poured the syrup in a small mixing bowl, mixed in the canola oil and the vanilla extract, and set it aside to cool down. Then I mixed the dry ingredients (wheat flour through white sugar) in another bowl, and set the oven to 175 degrees Celsius. When the syrup mixture had cooled down – it was still warm but not hot – I poured it in with the dry mix, and stirred with a fork until combined.
I took a small chocolate bar and divided it in 10 pieces. Then I rolled the dough into 10 round balls, and then folded a chocolate piece inside each ball, like so:
Now I placed the cookies on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, flattened them a little bit, and baked them in 175 degrees Celsius for about 8 minutes, when they had spread a bit and the tops looked nice and crackled. This way I got soft cookies with just a little bit of crispiness on the outside – for a thoroughly crispier cookie, 1 to 2 minutes longer should work. After baking them I removed the cookies from the baking sheet to cool on a rack.
I especially love the melted chocolate in the heart of each cookie, so it’s a good idea to serve these warm even on the following days. We also tried a few of these cookies spreaded with some organic raspberry jam that has no added sugar in it, and that was a heavenly match!