Q • The food at Chaumette Vineyards & Winery is the most delicious ever! I would love to make their chocolate chip cookies. — Dee DiMaggio, St. Louis
A • “You know how the first bite can take you back to a certain time or place?” asks Adam Lambay, executive chef at Grapevine Grille, the full-service restaurant and tasting room at Chaumette Vineyards & Winery near Ste. Genevieve, about 75 miles south of St. Louis. “These cookies take me back to my grandmother.”
Lambay’s German-Irish grandmother’s recipe starts with cold butter. “That’s why the cookie dough is mixed so long,” Lambay explains. His grandmother was also particular about the ingredients, always specifying light, not dark, brown sugar. The ingredients are also mixed in an unusual order, the salt and baking powder with the sugars and fats. Lambay approves. “It adds to the texture, the salt grabs onto the sugars, the dough is just more uniform.”
Because Grapevine sources nearly all its ingredients from about 20 nearby farms, the eggs are extra-fresh, usually “laid yesterday,” he says.
At Chaumette, the three tall round-topped cookies are served warm with a cup of hot chocolate laced with a reduction of Norton Reserve, a dry red wine produced by Chaumette. Often, he grins, after the first sip, customers order a second cup of hot chocolate; it’s that good. The cookies are also perfect for dipping in milk, he says. “They’re like wonderful sponges with wonderful gooey centers.”
The dough freezes well, making it perhaps too easy to spontaneously bake a cookie or two or three for immediate consumption. But go ahead, yield to temptation, the cookies just might take you back to your own grandmother.