Here is something I find interesting, I loathed chocolate as a kid. I found it to be awful, but as my love for red wine grew it slowly opened up my curiosity towards chocolate. At first it was a rare occasion, once every five to seven months, I would have a nibble of something with chocolate. Then every other month, and now at least once a month I get a craving for chocolate. In fact, one of my favorite delights is to enjoy a couples glasses of wine with my hubby or a special friend, have a few nibbles and then dive into a rich, chocolate dessert. The years of chocolate torment slips away with my glass of red and yummy dessert, and I feel like a kid again from the sugar high.
Zinfandel is one of those wines that just loves chocolate. I have a feeling they have always been in love. The two have a kindred spirit, a way about them, they bring out the best in each other, they would make beautiful babies. Let’s just play into the silliness of Hollywood society and call them the Brangelina of food and wine pairings.
One of my favorite Zins is a gem from the Paso Robles wine country called Biker from Four Vines. I have been to the tasting room a couple handful of times and always enjoy this wine. The Biker is a blend of 99% Zinfandel & 1% Mourvedre, the wine is aggressive in a like-able way, it’s a fruit bomb full of plum and black berry flavors, the texture is sweet and tannic, with a slight vanilla oak finish and unlike most Zins that are high in alcohol, this Zin does not have an intense burn.
The Biker would work well with most poultry, pork and vegetarian dishes, and would also complement a cooked tomato dish such as a red pepper and roasted tomato pizza. I think the dessert would shine the best. Food by itself is amazing and so is wine, but often times, when they come together, magic happens. I will share with you one of my recipes for homemade oreos. The Biker will bring out the vanilla notes in the icing and the rich berry flavors will compliment the luscious chocolate. Brace yourself. This Biker and chocolate pairing is going to be a wild ride.
Adapted from Retro Desserts, Wayne Brachman
Makes 25 to 30 sandwich cookies. Or 12 medium size cookies.
For the chocolate wafers:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups sugar [see recipe note]
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg
For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Pre-heat to 375°F.
In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar. While pulsing, or on low-speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.
Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough. Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.
To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low-speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.
To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie. Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie. Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream.