This is inspired by a recipe for Olive Oil and Seat Salt Brownie Cookies that I found all over the Internet. I traced it back to Ashton Epps Swank from the blog Something Swanky.
I removed the brownie component of these cookies by taking out the baking soda and one egg. I added less sugar, flour, and cocoa. I added more salt and vanilla (always). And then I snuck in a bit of butter (because even though these are olive oil cookies, I think butter makes everything better).
They aren't the prettiest cookies. But they are some of the richest and most flavorful chocolate nuggets I've ever eaten. As my son says, "You can taste every single ingredient loud and clear."
Use an olive oil that is mild and affordable. Save your fancy herbaceous olive oil for drizzling. —Phyllis Grant
non-alkalized unsweetened cocoa
extra-virgin olive oil (mild)
salted butter, room temperature
dark or light brown sugar
egg, room temperature
1 1/2 cups
bittersweet chocolate chips
Maldon sea salt (to sprinkle on top before baking)
Sift together the cocoa, flour, and salt. Sift again. Set aside.
In a standing mixer (or by hand) beat the sugars, olive oil, and butter on high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides. Add your egg. Beat at medium speed for 8 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Add your vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 5 seconds. Scrape down the sides. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and beat for 8 seconds on low speed. Scrape down the sides. Add the second 1/3 of the dries, beat for 8 seconds on low. Scrape down the sides. Add your final 1/3 of the dries, beat on low for 5 seconds. Add the chocolate chips and beat on medium for another 5 seconds at the most. If there are any pockets of flour remaining, mix them in by hand. If you have time, refrigerate the dough for about an hour (it will be easier to handle).
Heat the oven to 350° F.
Line a sheet pan with parchment or a Silpat. Scoop the dough into half spheres (I use a 1/8 cup-sized ice cream scoop). Or you can scoop with a spoon and quickly roll with your hands. They will spread a bit so leave a few inches between the cookies. Sprinkle each cookie with sea salt (amount is up to you). Bake them for 3 minutes. Spin the tray around 180 degrees (to cook evenly) and bake for another 3 to 4 minutes. You want the centers to still be glistening. Don't worry—they will firm up quite a bit as they cool. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool on the sheet pan. Careful as you remove them because they are quite delicate. Eat right away. Or freeze for a few months.
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.