I know, you are having the same reaction I had when I looked at this recipe...I can't imagine eating a cookie made with olive oil. Don't get me wrong, I love olive oil. I use it in 99% of what I cook, but I don't think of putting it with sugar in a cookie recipe. Jeff had been looking for a recipe in one of our Fine Cooking magazines and pointed it out to me. I read the reviews and it seemed pretty good. But, if I made them, would anyone eat them?
So, with the recipe in one hand and olive oil in the other, I set off to make Orange Hazelnut Olive Oil Cookies. The cookies were easy to make and the orange zest made the whole kitchen smell heavenly. I still wasn't sure if I was going to like them. My problem? Olive oil doesn't have that same rich texture as say, BUTTER!
The cookie was dense and nutty, it reminded me of mexican wedding cake cookies. It is definitely a cookie that compliments a cup of tea and/or coffee. After having one, I did crave another. I really liked the smell of orange and taste of nuts. At one point, I dipped one tray of the cookies in confectioner's sugar, like wedding cake cookies, and they tasted good, too. (What can I say, I like sweet!)
I served them to friends and guests who came for dinner last night and the response is the same, "these cookies are really good."
Add them to the cookie list, I will make them again.
2 cups of hazelnuts (toasted and skinned)
10 oz. (2-1/4 cups) of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of table salt
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs
Finely grated zest of 2 medium oranges (about 1-1/2 packed tablespoons)
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Finely grind the hazelnuts in a food processor. In a medium bowl, whisk the hazelnuts, flour, baking powder, and salt to blend. With a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil, eggs, zest, and vanilla on low speed until the sugar is moistened, about 15 seconds. Increase the speed to high and mix until well combined, about 15 seconds more (the sugar will not be dissolved at this point). Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until the dough has just pulled together, 30 to 60 seconds.
Divide the dough in half. Pile one half of the dough onto a piece of parchment. Using the parchment to help shape the dough, form it into a log 11 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Wrap the parchment around the log and twist the ends to secure. Repeat with the remaining dough. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 1 hour.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line four cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners.
Unwrap one log of dough at a time and cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices; set them 1 inch apart on the prepared sheets. Bake two sheets at a time until light golden on the bottoms and around the edges, about 10 minutes, rotating and swapping the sheets halfway through for even baking. Let cool completely on racks. The cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.