Monday, January 2, 2012

Sicilian Wine Cookies

In late 2010, I was looking at all the cookie contests on the net.  One of the largest postings was the one for the LA Times.  I believe they actually posted not just the winners but quite a number of the entrants, because they wanted the people to vote.  I was busy saving a lot of them.  Some of the recipes were good and others not so much.  This is actually one I had not tried yet, but the list of ingredients was interesting, so I went ahead and made them.

The cookies are a mix of wine, lemon zest, orange zest and chocolate which is rolled in white sugar and shaped into crescents before baking.  The two things I changed about the recipe was to substitute vanilla extract for anise and I used mini chocolate chips instead of chopping up a block of chocolate.  The recipe below is the original.

These are a crisp cookie that tastes of orange and chocolate.  The wine may be a key factor in creating the texture of the cookie, but the flavor did not come through.  However, for those that like the mix of orange and chocolate, this is the cookie for you. I was happy with the results, but I would probably include chopped nuts in place of the chocolate chips next time and dip half the cookie in chocolate after baking.  That would add another flavor and also improve the look of these.  This recipe makes about 3 dozen crescent cookies.

Sicilian Wine Cookies
adapted from LA Times 2010 Cookie Contest

1/4 cup Chianti or Marsala Wine
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp Anise extract
1 egg
2/3 cup chopped dark or semi-sweet chocolate
1 tsp fresh lemon zest
2 tsp fresh orange zest
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for rolling
2 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small size bowl, beat egg for a minute at medium speed.  Then add the sugar and beat for another minute.  Set aside.

In another bowl, sift together the cinnamon, baking powder and flour.

Place both zests into the sugar/egg batter and beat for one minute.  Add the extract and oil, beating mixture until all is smooth and well blended.  With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the wine.  Once all wine is added beat at medium speed for 30 seconds.

Pour half of the sifted ingredients into the batter and mix using a wooden spoon.  Make sure no dry streaks remain.  Then stir in the chocolate.  Add half of the remaining flour and mix until smooth.  Add the rest of the flour, stirring until all is evenly distributed.

Shape dough into balls about 1 1/4 inch in diameter and roll in sugar.  Then shape into a thin, 3 inch long crescent and place on cookie sheet.  Cookies do not spread during baking so you should be able to place them about 1/2 inch apart.  I got a dozen cookies on one baking sheet.

Bake until edges turn golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.  Rotate pans at the halfway point to cook evenly. Let cookies rest on pan for at least a minute or so before transferring to rack to cool.