October 31st is almost here and with the annual parade of psycho pumpkins, ghastly ghosts, wicked witches and macabre monsters it's time to start thinking about tricks and treats. I'll leave the tricks up to you, but I can help with two Halloween treats: cookies shaped like witches' hats and a bottle of Concha y Toro's 2016 Casillero del Diablo red wine — translated as The Devil's Cellar. This fruit-forward, juicy and spicy Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon is not only the perfect accompaniment to all kinds of fabulous fall dishes — roast chicken, pulled pork, chili con carne, short ribs — but it also goes great with chocolate cookies and all of your favorite holiday loot, whether it's Twix, Kit Kats, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups or Candy Corn.
The story behind the Casillero del Diablo wine is an interesting one. The winery, Concha y Toro, was started back in 1883 by Don Melchor Concha y Toro, a Chilean politician and businessman with a taste for exquisite French wine. He decided that top-quality wine could also be made in his country so he planted vineyards in the Maipo Valley with seeds he had acquired in Bordeaux, France. Since then, the winery has grown to be the largest producer and exporter of Chilean wine, and continues to produce quality, value-driven wines despite its large size.
The Casillero del Diablo label debuted in 1956 and is an homage to a legend in which Don Melchor discovered that some of his best wines were going missing from the "casillero" (cellar) beneath his home. Most likely it had been the cellar workers helping themselves to some of this tasty wine and Don had the smart idea to create a scary tale that his deepest, darkest cellars were haunted by the devil. His story frightened the workers so much they refused to enter that part of the cellar ever again. Today, you can visit the Concha Y Toro winery and even take a trip down into the Devil's Cellar — if you dare!
Witches' Hats Cookies
Adapted from BettyCrocker.com
12 Fudge Stripe Cookies
12 Hershey's Kisses
2 tablespoons peanut butter or 1 tablespoon honey
1 tube Orange-colored decorating gel (if you can't find the gel, you can use white frosting and color it with a few drops each of red and yellow food coloring to make orange frosting. Place in plastic ziploc bag and cut one corner off to make a 1/16" hole to pipe the frosting out of the bag).
- Place a fudge stripe cookie with bottom side up onto a work surface. Smear a small dab (about 1/8 teaspoon) of peanut butter or half of 1/8 teaspoon honey onto the bottom of a chocolate kiss, and secure the candy piece to the center of the cookie, covering the hole.
- Use decorating gel to pipe a small bow onto the cookie at the base of the candy piece. Repeat with remaining ingredients.