Author Notes: These cookies are sweet, salty, and savory, all at the same time—crisp, rich with olive oil, marbled with black olives. Plenty of orange zest provides some zip and zing, while a tumble in sugar pre-bake keeps the saltiness in check. Serve these with afternoon tea or coffee—or, my favorite, with a cheese plate. The recipe is adapted, with permission, from "The New Portuguese Table" by David Leite.
Featured In: "These Cookies Love Olive Oil Almost As Much As We Do". —Emma Laperruque
Makes: 16 cookies
cup sugar, plus more, for coating
tablespoons grated or microplaned orange zest, preferably organic
cups all-purpose flour
cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped (about 1/3 cup chopped)
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon kosher salt
cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Position a rack in the upper half of the oven. Preheat to 375° F. If you have two silicone mats, get them ready! If not, cut two sheets of parchment to fit a sheet pan. (You'll bake the cookies 1 sheet pan at a time.)
- Combine the sugar and orange zest in a bowl. Pinch together with your fingertips until the sugar begins to blush (this intensifies the citrusy flavor). Add the flour, olives, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a fork until everything is evenly distributed. Add the egg to the measuring cup with the olive oil and beat with a fork until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and stir first with a fork, then your hands until a dough forms—no dry spots, holds together when squeezed.
- Fill a small bowl with sugar. Scoop the dough into rounded tablespoons—you should get 16 or so—and roll into balls. Roll each in sugar.
- Place one silicone mat or piece of parchment on a work surface. Add a dough ball a few inches inward from one corner. (You’ll be baking 4 cookies on the pan—one in each quadrant—any more and you won't be able to roll them out.) Place the other mat or piece of parchment on top. Use a rolling pin to gently roll the cookie into a 4ish-inch circle (you don’t need to apply a lot of pressure, especially if your pin is heavy, since the dough is so soft). Ragged edges are fine, good even! Repeat with 3 more cookies. Lift off the top layer. Transfer the mat/parchment with the cookies to a sheet pan.
- Bake the cookies until pebbly on top, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for 1 to 2 minutes, until you can use a spatula to transfer them from the pan to a cooling rack.
- Repeat the rolling/baking process with the remaining cookie dough balls. (You may need to replace the baking parchment at some point, if it gets too greasy.)
- This recipe is a Community Pick!