The idea to bake a cookie using balsamic vinegar came to me after I saw a Daily Candy update that featured a Cool Haus Balsamic Fig & Mascarpone Cheese ice cream sandwich. Though the extent to which I had used balsamic vinegar in cooking up to this point was to a ) mix it with olive oil to make a salad dressing and b) to simmer it to a syrupy consistency to pour over strawberries, I immediately wondered what I could bake to replicate even a tiny amount of the deliciousness I perceived to be in that cookie and ice cream sandwich. I think my cookies missed the mark.
In my quest for general knowledge about baking ingredients, I learned balsamic vinegar is made from grapes and takes years to mature. I suppose this stands to reason given the vinegar is made from grapes.
So, what is the difference between balsamic vinegar and wine? I do not know for sure, but I am guessing the oxygen has a lot to do with it; open a bottle of wine, let it sit, and the wine will have turned to vinegar about seven days later.
This cookie was not one of my favorites. It was flat and crisp, and I like my cookies to resemble soft, puffy, floury pillows. Remember the baking soda and vinegar volcanoes you made as a kid? This is also happening in the cookie dough to puff it up, but since it happens so quickly, the reaction is mostly gone before a full puff can be achieved in the cookie. At least that is my understanding from reading Bake Wise by Shirley O. Corriher.
I had a few tasters for these cookies, and according to the tasters, the cookies were good. I dusted the cookies with confectioners’ sugar to make them look a bit fancier. In hindsight, I think it might be nice to top these cookies with ricotta or mascarpone cheese, sliced strawberries or peaches, and a tiny drizzle of reduced balsamic vinegar syrup. Whatever you decide, topped or plain, I hope you enjoy these somewhat unique cookies.
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar, simmered and reduced to 2 tablespoons
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a medium bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugars in large mixing bowl.
- Add the balsamic vinegar and vanilla and mix until combined.
- Slowly pour in the flour mixture and stir until well incorporated. The dough may be somewhat grainy, but it should hold together when scooped by rounded tablespoons and placed on a baking sheet.
- Bake on a lightly greased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
- If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar when cool.