Pair Biltmore Wine with Cookies for Holiday Cheer

‘Tis the season to pair Biltmore wine with your favorite cookies to create plenty of holiday cheer!

Pairing wine and cookies

“Whether you’re baking at home, participating in a neighborhood cookie swap, or sending sweets to someone far away, our wine and cookie pairing ideas are the perfect way to pour on the cheer this holiday season,” said Courtney Miller, Vanderbilt Wine Club® Manager.

Bottles of Biltmore wine, cookies, and other foods
Pour on the cheer by pairing Biltmore wines with cookies this holiday season

In the recipes below, we’ve paired each cookie with Biltmore wine to make it even easier to match the distinctive flavors with wines that complements them.

“Go ahead and sweeten the season by purchasing Biltmore wines,” advised Courtney, “then bake some cookies, or snag similar styles from your local bakery; we won’t tell!”

Pour on the holiday cheer

According to Courtney, you generally choose a wine that’s a little sweeter than the treat with which you plan to pair it, but richer, heavier sweets can stand up to dryer wines.

“Either way, you’ll be ready to savor a sophisticated treat for the holidays,” Courtney said. “And if you upgrade Santa’s usual glass of milk to a glass of Biltmore wine, I’m pretty sure he’ll add you to his ‘nice’ list!”


Gingersnap cookies paired with Biltmore Estate Riesling
Spice up your holiday wine and cookie pairings by serving Honey Gingersnaps with Biltmore Estate® Riesling!

Honey Gingersnap Cookies

Heidi Badger, Pastry Sous Chef at Cedric’s® Tavern, developed this recipe. “These honey gingersnaps are soft, tender, and nicely spiced, especially if you use freshly grated ginger. The honey flavor is very subtle,” said Heidi.

Chef Heidi recommends serving these traditional holiday favorites with lightly sweet wines such as our delightful Biltmore Estate® Riesling.

Yield: approximately 3 dozen cookies
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1½-2 hours (includes 1-hour chill time)

Ingredients
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
½ cup sugar
½ cup honey
1 large egg
2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger or freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves

Method
In a large bowl, cream together butter, sugar, and honey until fluffy. Mix in egg and set aside.

In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Stir into wet ingredients until combined.

Chill dough for 1 hour or until slightly firm.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place onto parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Biltmore Estate Limited Release Petite Sirah paired with holiday cookies
Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside–these chocolate cookies pair perfectly with our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Petite Sirah

Flourless Fudgy Chocolate Mudslide Cookies

“These cookies have a rich, intense chocolate flavor, especially when enhanced by the coffee liqueur,” said Angie Chan, Pastry Chef, Deerpark/Amherst/Lioncrest/Biltmore Catering. “They feature a crispy outer shell that reminds me of meringue and a fudgy, soft interior. Because the recipe is already flourless, the cookies can be made gluten free.”

For a match made in heaven, Chef Angie suggests pairing these rich chocolate cookies with red wines like our Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Petite Sirah.

Yield: approximately 2 dozen cookies
Preparation Time: about 15 minutes
Total Time: about 2 hours (includes 1-hour chill time)

Ingredients
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup cocoa powder
3 egg whites
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur or coffee syrup*
1–2 tablespoons milk

*Coffee syrup: dissolve 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder with 1/3 cup sugar in 1/3 cup hot water. Allow to cool and use the same amount noted in the recipe.

Method
In a large bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg whites, coffee liqueur, and vanilla extract until lightly foamy. Combine wet and dry mixtures and stir until well mixed. Dough will be very thick and sticky once it comes together. Add 1-2 tablespoons of milk to help with mixing, if needed.

Add in the chocolate chips and refrigerate the dough for about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and coat with a thin layer of non-stick vegetable oil spray to prevent sticking.

Scoop 1 tablespoon worth of dough and place onto prepared cookie sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the top is slightly cracked and dry. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Lemon-Cranberry Shortbread Cookies

Biltmore Estate Limited Release Orange Muscat wine paired with Lemon-Cranberry Shortbread cookies
Pair these citrus-and-cranberry-kissed shortbread cookies with our lightly sweet Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Orange Muscat

For an updated version of a classic treat, Chef Angie also created Lemon-Cranberry Shortbread Cookies with bright hints of citrus and the tart tang of cranberries.

“There’s nothing more perfect for the holidays than shortbread cookie like this with fresh flavors to lighten the richness of the recipe,” Chef Angie said. “In addition, they pair perfectly with the hints of tropical fruit in our lightly sweet Biltmore Estate® Limited Release Orange Muscat.

Yield: about 2 dozen
Preparation Time: about 15 minutes
Total Time: about 2 hours (includes 1-hour chill time)

Ingredients
1¾ cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 teaspoons lemon extract (or fresh-squeezed lemon juice as substitute)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon lemon zest
½ cup dried cranberries
¼ teaspoon salt

Method
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar, butter, and lemon extract together until light and fluffy.

Add flour, baking soda, and salt and stir until just combined. Add lemon zest and milk, mix well. Gently fold in the dried cranberries. Mixture will be crumbly.

Work dough by hand into a ball and then roll into a log about 2-3 inches thick. Wrap with parchment or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Once dough is chilled and firm, use a sharp knife to carefully slice dough into about ½-inch pieces and place onto parchment-lined cookie sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart.

Bake for approximately 11-12 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Allow to cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Enjoy Biltmore wines this holiday season!

Biltmore wines and cookies
Enjoy perfect pairings with Biltmore wine and cookies this holiday season

Whether you’re pairing them with cookies, entertaining friends, or simply enjoying a peaceful glass by a crackling fire, you’ll find all our award-winning Biltmore wines in our estate shops, online, and close to home with our Retail Locator.

For a special gift for yourself and others, consider joining our Vanderbilt Wine Club®. You’ll enjoy hand-selected Biltmore wines delivered to your door each season, plus all the other privileges membership brings.


Decorations in Biltmore House: Christmas 2020 by the Numbers

Join us for a very special Christmas at Biltmore this year as we mark the 125th anniversary of George Vanderbilt first opening the estate to his friends and family on Christmas Eve 1895. In honor of this milestone in our history, this year’s theme for decorations in Biltmore House will be “An 1895 Christmas,” with a focus on Vanderbilt holiday traditions—especially those that provide a sense of calm and comfort. 

Estate archives offered insight to the theme, including George Vanderbilt’s request for “barrels of mistletoe and wagonloads of holly” to adorn his new home. Look for holly garlands throughout, plus plenty of classic Christmas reds popping up in the decorations in Biltmore House this year, like bright berry trees in the Vestibule and Entry Hall and deeper claret and burgundy tones in the Tapestry Gallery.

Let’s take a closer look at the sheer amount of décor displayed at Biltmore this Christmas season.

Crane assists with giant tree installation
Installation of the 55-foot-tall Christmas tree on the Biltmore House Front Lawn is always a sight to behold.

Christmas Trees

  • There are 55 hand-decorated Christmas trees in Biltmore House for the 2020 celebration.
  • The smallest tree in America’s Largest Home® is a tabletop tree in the Morland Room.
  • The largest tree is, of course, the Vanderbilt traditional fresh 35-foot-tall Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall
  • A lit 55-foot-tall Norway spruce encircled by 36 illuminated evergreens and shrubs decorates the Front Lawn of Biltmore House for Candlelight Christmas Evenings
  • A total of 52 additional decorated Christmas trees are at other estate locations, including Antler Hill Village, our Winery, The Inn on Biltmore Estate®, and estate restaurants. The Conservatory will feature Christmas tree-shaped planters with potted plants and other natural materials.  
Christmas lights lay across the floor
Strands upon strands upon strands of lights come together to create the illuminated magic of the season.

Lights & Candles

  • There are around 45,000 lights and 150 candles inside Biltmore House. Approximately 135,000 LED and mini lights twinkle around the estate.
  • More than 55,300 lights illuminate the Front Lawn tree. An additional 33,280 are used on the surrounding trees and shrubs.  
  • Hand-lit at dusk, 250 luminaires line the driveway and Esplanade in front of Biltmore House, welcoming guests for Candlelight Christmas Evenings. 
Various ornaments for Biltmore House Christmas trees
Ornaments used throughout the estate vary by size and style, with some paying homage to the Vanderbilts’ era.

Ornaments

  • The Banquet Hall tree is trimmed with 500 ornaments and 500 LED Edison-style electric lights, along with an abundance of gift boxes.
  • Around 13,870 ornaments are hung on the other trees in Biltmore House, and another 13,000 are used to add holiday cheer around the estate. 
Vibrant poinsettia blooms
Vibrant poinsettias and other blooming plants are on display in Biltmore House and across the estate.

Poinsettias & Other Blooms

There are more than 1,200 traditional poinsettias on display throughout the estate—about 150 of which are part of decorations in Biltmore House. Other familiar holiday plants and flowers include amaryllis, Christmas cactus, bromeliads, orchids, peace lilies, cyclamen, begonias, and kalanchoe.  

Detail shot of unique Christmas wreath
All of our Christmas wreaths are handmade and some feature unique natural materials.

Wreaths

About 225 fresh wreaths and sprays, along with 90 faux pieces, used as decorations in Biltmore House and around the estate for the season. Our wreaths are made of fresh white pine and Fraser fir and they are ornamented with golden arborvitae, holly, or other natural materials such as twigs and cones. Artificial bases are decorated with ornaments, berries, faux flowers, and ribbon.  

Floral team members install garland
Garlands and greenery are still used to decorate Biltmore House

Garlands

  • About 3,120 feet of fresh evergreen garlands, made of mixed white pine and Fraser fir, are used during the season. The garlands are replaced weekly to maintain a fresh look and fragrance for our guests.  
  • Faux garlands add another 1,000 feet in Biltmore House and around 1,800 feet in other estate areas.
Outdoor Christmas decorations
Once you start looking for bows throughout the estate, we have a feeling you’ll spot them everywhere!

Ribbons & Bows

  • There are about 600 handmade bows used in decorations in Biltmore House with an additional 1,200 across the estate. Everything from narrow cording to 8-inch-wide ribbons is used to make the bows, which are decorated with velvets, metallics, satins, burlap, and printed cottons.
  • The amount of ribbon needed to make a bow ranges from 5 yards for a bow used on the fresh garland on the Grand Staircase, to 15 yards to make a tree-topper bow for a 16-foot tree you might see in the Tapestry Gallery or Banquet Hall.  
Enchanted view of evening Biltmore House illumination
Candlelight Christmas Evenings offers the opportunity to experience Biltmore House aglow with holiday spirit.

We invite you to join us in marveling at the festive decorations in Biltmore House and across the estate as we honor the anniversary of this beloved celebration. Christmas at Biltmore Daytime Celebration and Candlelight Christmas Evenings each offer comfort, joy, and peace of mind in the traditions that have enchanted Biltmore’s guests for 125 years. Availability is limited; reserve your visit today to secure your preferred dates!

Please note all images used in this blog post are from Christmases past.

Top Five Christmas Activities for Overnight Guests

From the decked halls of America’s Largest Home® to all that our lively Antler Hill Village has to offer, there’s so much to see and do during the holiday season at Biltmore. That’s why we’ve narrowed it down to some of our favorites to help you plan your visit. Take a look at our top five Christmas activities for overnight guests.

Horse Carriage at Barn
Bundle up and embrace the crisp air as you take in the gorgeous long-range views.

5. Relax with a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride

Keep cozy with a horse-drawn carriage ride across the estate. Select either a private or group experience, and escape the season’s hustle and bustle to enjoy our 8,000 acres of Blue Ridge Mountain wintertime beauty.

Three women shopping
We have a variety of shops by Biltmore House and in Antler Hill Village to meet all of your holiday shopping needs.

4. Shop for Everyone on Your List

From Christmas decorations to toys for the kids, our various estate shops truly offer something for everyone. Don’t miss our newest retail location: a holiday pop-up shop at The Biltmore Legacy in Antler Hill Village!

Couple dining by fireplace
Treat yourself to an elegant meal of expertly prepared cuisine with world-class service.

3. Dine in our Four-Star Dining Room

Nothing says “special occasion” quite like an evening meal in The Dining Room. Be sure to make reservations early so you can savor this award-winning culinary experience at the most exclusive restaurant on the estate.

Unwind in Antler Hill Village, a more casual Biltmore experience. (Photo credit: @travelforwildlife)

2. Stroll through our Illuminated Village 

As the sun begins to set, we invite you to discover our glittering holiday light display, including “waterfall” lights and oversized ornaments, in Antler Hill Village each evening throughout the holiday season. 

Decorated Library in Biltmore House
More than 45,000 twinkling Christmas lights are illuminated throughout Biltmore House.

1. Discover Biltmore at its Most Enchanting

Our annual Candlelight Christmas Evenings visits offer a rare glimpse into a more intimate side of America’s Largest Home® with soft candlelight, crackling fireplaces, and live music. Reserve your evening visit today!

Luggage and christmas gift on bed
Be sure to take a look at our holiday lodging packages, available at The Inn and Village Hotel.

Stay overnight at one of our two distinctive properties—The Inn on Biltmore Estate® and Village Hotel on Biltmore Estate®—so you’ll have plenty of time to experience our top five Christmas activities and so much more!