The holidays are marked by a progression of celebrations that range from office parties to a sweets lover’s favorite – the holiday cookie exchange. A quick web search will bring back hundreds of tips for throwing an ideal holiday cookie exchange. If you are looking to break from tradition – why not offer a selection of wine to pair with some classic favorites?
According to Food & Wine Magazine, as a general rule, select a variety that matches the weight and complexity of your cookie, and offers enough acidity to balance the sugar. Meijer wine buyers suggest forgoing complex wines, such as cabernets and merlots in favor of lighter wines with a lower alcohol content. If the idea intrigues you, here are some suggested pairings:
- Sugar Cookies: The buyers suggest pairing this quintessential holiday favorite with a Prosecco or sparkling rose. As cookies go, the sugar cookie has one of the highest sugar content. The key is to pair it with a lightly sweetened wine that contains carbonation that produces a softer and lighter taste. Suggestion: Ruffino Sparkling Rose.
- Chocolate Dipped Meringues: The buyers report that the trick in pairing chocolate and wine is to keep it simple because each on their own can be complex. A chocolate dipped meringue tends to be made with a sweeter chocolate, therefore try a less intense red variety, such as a red blend. Suggestion: 19 Crimes Red Blend.
- Gingerbread: Ginger is a warm spice that makes gingerbread cookies taste less sugary. In this scenario, it is safe to pair this holiday classic with a sweeter variety that also hails from Germany – a semi-dry Riesling. The spice in a gingerbread cookie combined with the sweetness of a Riesling create a combination that brings out the best in both. Suggestion: Chateau Ste. Michelle Johannisberg Riesling.
- Fruitcake: Not generally known as a member of the cookie family, nevertheless, fruitcake is a signature dessert found on many sweet tables during the season. “Intense” is a word that commonly describes its taste due to the darker red dried fruits used in many recipes. To create a nice balance, aim for a sweet harvest Riesling or a blush wine. Suggestion: Roscato Rosso Dolce.
- Classic Thumbprint with Jam: With a sugar cookie base, this concoction gets an extra dose of sweetness due to the addition of jam. The buyers suggest pairing this cookie with a lightly carbonated dessert wine, such as a Moscato di Asti. According to Wine Folly, Moscato wine is a sweet, slightly bubbly white wine made from Muscat Blanc grapes. The carbonation makes a Moscato less sweet thus an ideal partner. Suggestion: Cupcake Moscato D’Asti.
- Chocolate Chip: Chocolate, vanilla and molasses in the brown sugar creates a decadent combination. According to the buyers, this is one of the few cookie varieties that pairs well with a cabernet sauvignon. However, if your goal is fun, stick with something light and refreshing, such as a Pink Moscato. The citrusy-notes of most Pink Moscatos pair well with the richness of a chocolate chip cookie. Suggestion: Risata Pink Moscato.
- Walnut Crescents: This classic cookie contains a nut that is often described as mild tasting and earthy. Because there are tannins in walnuts, this nut is often paired with sweet wines to balance the flavor. In the case of a walnut crescent cookie bathed in confectionary sugar, it actually pairs best with the classic Italian sparkling wine Asti Spumante because the walnuts and light carbonation complement each other. Suggestion: Martini & Rossi Asti Spumante, one of the retailer’s top selling wines of the season.
- Snickerdoodles: Many believe that a snickerdoodle is just a sugar cookie with cinnamon. However, a classic snickerdoodle contains cream of tartar, which gives this cookie a chewy texture and slightly tangy flavor that’s enhanced when dusted with cinnamon. A snickerdoodle pairs well with a slightly sweet Moscato, or a mild Chardonnay. Suggestion: Seven Daughters Moscato.
- Snowballs: Also commonly known as Mexican Wedding Cookies or Russian Tea Cakes, a snowball is a dry cookie that is often described as a dainty tea cookie due to its delicate texture. Snowballs are versatile and often contain nuts like walnuts, pecans or pistachios. A nutty cookie like this pairs well with a Madeira or a light white wine like a Pinot Grigio. Suggestion: Vinifera The Falls Pinot Grigio.
- Chocolate Peppermint: There’s no doubt about it, chocolate peppermint cookies are considered to be a robust cookie. The chocolate and peppermint offer quite an intense flavor combination. The buyers suggest pairing this cookie with a fruity blend like a sweet red to complement the sharp, menthol notes of the peppermint. Suggestion: Rosatello Rosso.
- Brownies: The intense chocolate flavor combined with the gooey texture of most brownie recipes call for a wine that shares a similar boldness in character – a port. Often described as a rich dessert wine that is meant to be savored, much like a brownie. If the intensity or high alcohol count of a port wine is too much, the buyers suggest opting for a lower content, dessert cordial like an Irish cream. Suggestion: Omaras Irish Cream.
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