I love olive oil more than just about anything else in this world. It's just one of those things that makes all the annoying parts of life recede. I pour it in ribbons across the top of fruit crumbles (like pear-ginger and strawberry-rhubarb), and I love to eat it plain with crusty bread, sea salt, and cracked black pepper. Even the most basic olive oil is always pretty good; we go through lots of 33-ounce bottles of $6 extra-virgin olive oil around here.
So I've made herb-infused olive oil, and I like an
olive oil pie crust, but I wanted to try in a more upfront way in a dessert. Surprisingly, I had a really hard time finding a recipe for olive oil cookies. It was even tougher to dig up anything about olive oil shortbread. When I have an idea like this but wonder if I'm crazy to try to see it through, I just do a lot of research on the basics and take a stab at figuring out my own recipe. Here are a few things I learned.
Apparently, shortbread is all about getting the proper ratio of butter to flour to sugar. 4:2:1 was a ratio that I saw often, but for this recipe, I went for 1:3:1. I have also heard that using either rice flour or corn starch offers a good crumb. Keeping the dough cold before baking it was a good tip; I am impatient and utilized the freezer for a shorter chill.
The dough tasted like pure marzipan, so that alone seemed promising. The cookies had a slight savory quality from the olive oil, and that rocked. But what put them over the top was dipping the edges in dark chocolate ganache and sprinkling them with a little Maldon salt.
Olive Oil Shortbread
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup olive oil (plus a tbsp. or two if needed)
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla paste
2 tbsp. unsalted butter (cold and cubed small)1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine olive oil and sugar well in the stand mixture. Stop and add vanilla paste and salt. Add butter, too, and then mix. Switch over to a low speed and add in the AP flour and whole wheat flour. You may need to add a tbsp. or two of olive oil if mixture is too crumbly. Add a bit of oil at a time while mixer remains on low until the dough comes together. Wrap dough in wax paper and set it in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill.
Roll out the dough into 3/4-inch thickness and cut into rectangles. Poke holes into the top of each piece with a fork. Freeze for another 30 min. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden. They are best when cool -- or even a day or two or three later.
1/3 cup dark chocolate
1 tbsp. milk
For an easy ganache, combine dark chocolate and milk and microwave for 30 seconds. Whisk it together. Dip the the edges of the shortbread in the ganache after they cool and sprinkle with salt...if you like that kind of thing.