Who else is exhausted from a month of holiday parties, dinners, and other assorted wine-laden celebrations? But just when you’ve tossed out the sweets, traded in artichoke dip for steamed broccoli, and vowed to drink a heck of a lot more water, you see it: a half-consumed wine bottle from that last New Year’s toast. Is the only option for your newly healthy self to dump that probably-bad-by-now bottle down the drain?
The Italians (of course!) have a use for leftover wine: Bake with it! Use the last of that holiday baking spirit and a few ingredients already in the pantry to make these simple Italian wine cookies.
Originating south of Rome in an area called Ciociaria, these wine cookies have a long history of being passed down through generations. The basics of the recipe below were shared by a generous Italian friend who can remember her grandmother making them at home. The dough is quite simple, based on a few key ingredients that any Roman family, rich or poor, would have in the house: wine, sugar, oil, salt, and flour. Handily, the recipe works with any kind of dry wine, red or white, so the flavor will be a little different each time.
For those who are a little over-sugared from the holidays, these cookies are perfect; while they aren’t quite biscotti, these donut-shaped cookies are less sweet and more biscuit-like. Enjoy them on their own as a snack, or do as the Italians do and dip them in milk or coffee for breakfast, or in dessert wine like Vin Santo del Chianti for dessert. Just because it’s January doesn’t mean that the wine needs to stop flowing!
Recipe: Roman Wine Cookies
- ½ cup dry white or red wine
- ½ cup seed or canola oil
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine wine, oil, sugar, and salt thoroughly in a bowl.
- Add flour gradually, stirring to combine, until dough comes together and starts to hold its shape. Knead with hands if needed to fully incorporate flour.
- Roll ½-inch balls of dough into a snake-shaped cylinder (about 3 inches long) and connect the ends, making a donut shape.
- Optionally, dip in or sprinkle with additional sugar, if a sweeter cookie is preferred.
- Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned.