I love olives. I am one of those people who can’t leave Whole Foods without stocking up on some goodies at the olive bar. So when I saw these cookies on Lottie and Doof, I was completely intrigued. Like, obsessing over day and night until I had a lazy weekend afternoon to devote to them.
The recipe hails from David Leite’s The New Portuguese Table, a cookbook I’ve been lusting after but have yet to purchase. See, I went on my honeymoon to Portugal and basically ate presunto, Serra da Estrella cheese, and pasteis de Belem for two weeks straight. So, in addition to this recipe being awesome for having olives in it, it’s awesome because it reminds me of my lovely vacation.
The recipe is a little tricky but by no means difficult. The dough is dry and crumbly so you’ve got to be patient. Use good quality olives because you don’t want a really briny, tinny taste coming through. These cookies would be lovely with some tart frozen yogurt or lemon sorbet, or with a nice glass of prosecco. Or if you want to be super Portuguese, white port.
Sweet Lemon and Black Olive Wafers
recipe from David Leite
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup mild oil-cured black olives, rinsed quickly if particularly salty, pitted, and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, olives, sugar, baking powder, zest, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil and egg. I’ve never made mayonnaise before but it was easy for me to see how egg and oil do turn into mayo from this.
Pour the oil-egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Combine it together with your hands for a minute or two, until it holds together when squeezed. It’s going to feel a little like pie crust or short bread – dry and crumbly and a little tricky to work with. I had some crumbs that wouldn’t stick but I managed to get it about 95% there.
Fill a small bowl with sugar and set nearby. Pull out a small ball of dough, about a tablespoon worth, and roll it into a ball, then coat it in sugar. Repeat this a few times and set the balls down on parchment. You now need to flatten them out. The recipe suggests covering them with more parchment, then using a rolling pin to flatten. I had some difficulty with this so I just left out the top piece of parchment and flattened them out. You want them to be about 3-4 inches around and 1/16 an inch thick. None of mine resembled anything like a circle, which if you’ve seen my pie crust attempts, shouldn’t come as a surprise. No worries, these are rustic cookies.
Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Since I had rolled off most of the sugar that I had rolled onto the cookies, I got a pinch of sugar and just sprinkled it lightly over the cookies on the sheet. Bake until the wafers edges start to brown, about 10-12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack and store for up to a few days in an airtight container.
They tasted amazing. Unlike any cookie I’ve ever had. The olives mellow out and don’t taste olive-y… almost like the taste a date gets when it’s been cooked wrapped up in bacon – just rich, fatty, slightly salty, slightly sweet. The lemon makes it fresh and the cinnamon is just perfect. I feel prepared for an Iron Chef olive battle. Now, I just need a dessert with arugula.