I never would have thought to make these cookies just a few years ago. I was a chocolate chip girl, fully devoted to “my” oatmeal chocolate chip recipe, straight from the Quaker Oats carton (shhhh, don’t tell!). But then I started getting into Spanish cuisine, thanks to Penelope Casas, who convinced me that olive oil could be sweet and luxurious all at the same time. When you start to learn about a new culinary tradition for the first time, you learn to accept the unexpected, and go ahead and give whatever odd combinations you might try a shot, without prejudice or expectation. More often than not, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
I call these grown up cookies because they have a slightly complex undertone, thanks to some good Australian olive oil and a bit of my homemade Meyer lemon liqueur (made of vodka, Meyer lemon peel, and time). They’re really simple, fairly quick, and best with a bit of good wine or a cup of hot coffee. And if you want soft cookies, these are not for you. But try them, regardless. Hey — olive oil’s good for you, right? (As if you needed an excuse.)
Olive Oil Cookies with Orange and Cinnamon
Makes ~24 cookies.
This recipe is from Mark Bittman’s The Best Recipes in the World, which I highly recommend if you like dabbling in different culinary traditions from all over the world. These remind me of a mixture of snickerdoodles and churros somehow, without the greasy consistency, and are (so I’m told) quite good with sherry. We had them with a fruity shiraz, which made me happy enough. But really, right now, I want them with a cup of tea and some Iron and Wine, which somehow makes me think of a spur of the moment kind of adventure, my last road trip down to Georgia, and the eerie layer of Okefenokee fog marking the end of our long, strange journey into the South.
- 2 c. (9 oz.) flour.
- 1/2 t. baking powder.
- Pinch salt.
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar.
- 1 t. ground cinnamon.
- 1 egg.
- 1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil.
- Grated zest of one blood orange (you can use an orange or lemon if you prefer — the blood orange is my addition).
- 1/4 c. orange liqueur.
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients with a wire whisk. In a smaller bowl, beat the egg with the olive oil, liqueur, and blood orange zest. Fold the egg mixture into the dry ingredients gently, and stir until just combined. If the flour isn’t hydrated enough, add a bit of blood orange juice.
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, distribute ~1 T. of rounded dough per cookie. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to brown. Let sit for a couple of minutes, and then cool on a rack (careful — these are crumbly) before serving.