I love simple cookies like these Italian wine biscuits.
Think of biscotti without the fuss of double baking, with so few ingredients you can hardly believe that they will yield such a tasty morsel. One bite and you’ll be transported to Italy – or at least a lovely little restaurant in a Little Italy somewhere in a city that at least feels like Italy during dinner.
Although I had heard of them I’d never made Italian wine biscuits before I chose them for my contribution to this month’s Progressive Eats theme of wine and cheese.
For such a simple cookie, there are many decisions to make: what wine to use, what type of oil, whether to include any other flavorings, what shape to make them in, and how to bake them.
I checked out recipes for these delicacies. The ones I found especially helpful were from the Torciano Italian winery, a Pittsburgh recipe passed down through a local family, and the variations on a Food52 version suggested by commenter named Will Depp.
I decided to use a flavorless oil, a full bodied chianti, and a pinch of salt, without any fennel or other flavoring. I used a simple method to mix them – combining all the liquids in one bowl and the dry ingredients in another, then pouring the liquids into the dry ingredients.
After mixing the dough (which has a slightly weird red tinge from the Chianti), I formed it into cigar-shaped lengths of about 8-9 inches. I couldn’t decide on a single shape; instead I did a few circles, bowties, figure eights and spirals. Brushing the cookies with beaten egg slightly thinned with water (known as an egg wash) and rolling them partway in sugar gave the biscuits a nice gloss and a bit of a sweet crunch on the outside.
I baked them for 25-30 minutes. The circles and the bowties baked through first, which makes sense because the figure eights and the spirals had thicker centers. Ideally the cookies are cooked to a biscotti-like crunch, so if you make several shapes, take the thickness of the center into account when gauging if they are done. They puff up slightly from the baking powder, retain the red tinge from the wine, and end up crunchy. The taste of the Chianti comes through without being overpowering. They’re scrumptious alone or with fruit, gelato, or zabaglione – or even better, dunked in more Chianti.
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month’s theme is Boozy Cooking and is hosted by Jenni Fields, who blogs at Pastry Chef Online. For our Wine and Cheese dinner, we all created recipes using wine or cheese or both.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we will always need substitutes and if there is enough interest would consider additional groups. To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information.
Wine and Cheese
- Port Wine Cheese Ball from Pastry Chef Online
- Cheese Fondue Pasta Ragout (Gluten-Free) from The Heritage Cook
- Apricot Riesling Mustard from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
- Chicken Scallopini from Stetted
- Chicken with Mushrooms in White Wine Sauce from Never Enough Thyme
- Red Wine Jelly from Creative Culinary
- Italian Wine Biscuits from Mother Would Know
- Moscato Zabaglione with Strawberries from The Wimpy Vegetarian
- Pears Poached in Wine with Lemon Mascarpone from SpiceRoots
- Mascarpone Cheesecake from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Sarasota Lemonade from Miss in the Kitchen