Sheet Pan

Black Olive Cookies

February  5, 2018
Photo by Bobbi Lin
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
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus more, for coating
  • 2 tablespoons grated or microplaned orange zest, preferably organic
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup oil-cured black olives, pitted and chopped (about 1/3 cup chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In This Recipe
  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.)

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Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.