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These Wine Cookies Put Your Leftover Reds to Good Use

If you find yourself staring down a few open bottles after a party or tasting, or simply love chocolate desserts, consider this the perfect time to make wine cookies.

Unlike taralli, the Italian wine cookies akin to crunchy doughnuts, these chewy numbers get their rich flavor from browned butter, semisweet chocolate chunks and a red wine reduction that can be made with one or even a blend of whatever dry red wines you happen to have on hand.

Open bottle of Pinot Noir on the counter? Add it to the pan. Not sure what to do with that Cab your friend brought over the other night? Get ready to reduce it. You can use any dry red wine for this recipe, “including the cheap stuff,” writes Jesse Szewczyk in his book, Cookies: The New Classics, where this recipe appears.

Between browning the butter and reducing your red wine with sugar, the recipe entails a few more steps than your average drop cookie recipe, but it’s worth the effort. The end result is a bakery-caliber cookie with complex notes of fruit and spice in each chocolatey bite.

Reprinted with permission from Cookies: The New Classics. Copyright ©2021 by Jesse Szewczyk. Photographs copyright ©2021 by Chelsea Kyle. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House. 

Serving Size

Makes 18 large cookies


2 sticks unsalted butter
2 cups dry red wine, any variety
1/3 cup plus two tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
3¼ cups spooned and leveled all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1½ cups packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped


In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking, stirring often, until the butter foams and then darkens slightly in color and becomes very fragrant, 4–6 minutes. Immediately pour the butter into a large heatproof bowl. Do not wash the pan.

In the saucepan used for the butter, add the red wine and two tablespoons of granulated sugar and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 1/3 cup, approximately 16–18 minutes. Pour the reduced wine into the bowl with the butter and let the mixture cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set two racks at the upper-middle and lower-middle positions. Line up to three baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the brown sugar and remaining 1/3 cup of granulated sugar into the butter-wine mixture, and then whisk in the eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture with a spatula until a soft dough forms, then stir in the chopped chocolate.

Use your hands to roll the dough into 1/4-cup-sized balls and drop onto the prepared baking sheets at least three inches apart.

Bake two sheets at the same time, swapping the top sheet to the bottom rack and the bottom sheet to the top midway through baking, for a total of 11 to 14 minutes, or until the tops of the cookies are lightly cracked, and then bake the remaining cookies. Let cool completely on the baking sheets. Store in airtight container for up to one week.