I Was Drinking When I Made These

These are quite possibly the weirdest thing I’ve ever made.

I’m not even going to make you try to guess the odd ingredient (mostly because it looks so weird in the pictures that I don’t want your mind going creative places).

Olives.  And chocolate.  Yes, you read that right.

Does it help if I explain these are meant to be barely sweet and enjoyed with a nice glass of red (and maybe a sharp cheddar)?

I will say that I actually had to drink a couple of glasses of wine before I worked up the courage to bake these babies off.

And you know what?  They were delightful.  You don’t get olive so much as you get salt.  Which is nice with cocoa.  If you are looking for something a little unusual to add to a cheese board or maybe a unique addition to the traditional host gift of a bottle of wine, give these a try.

Chocolate Olive Cookies

from Dorie’s Cookies, Dorie Greenspan 

makes about 60 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 C (170g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 C (32g) cornstarch
  • 1/4 C (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 stick (8 TBS, 4 ounces, 113g) unsalted butter, at room temp and cut into chunks)
  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 C (67g) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/3 C (50g) chopped, pitter oil-cured black olives (I used Kalmata because we have a giant Costco jar on hand at all times)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch and cocoa powder.
  2. Working with a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or hand mixer), beat the butter and olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper on medium speed until smooth (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add the yolk and beat for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Turn off mixer, add dry ingredients and pulse to start blending.  Mix on low until ingredients are incorporated and you have moist curds.  Pull the bowl off the mixer and fold-in olives.
  5. Turn the dough out, kneed briefly to bring dough together.  Divide it in half.  Roll each half into a slender log 8-81/2 inches long.  Wrap the logs in plastic and refrigerate over night (or freeze).
  6. When you are ready to bake, position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment.
  7. One log at a time, cut cold dough into 1/4 inch discs and place them on baking sheets, about an inch apart.
  8. Bake for 15-17 minutes rotating halfway through (done cookies will be firm to the touch).  Remove from oven and allow to cool on sheets for at least 3 minutes.  Carefully transfer to racks to cool completely.

Variations on a sable

At this point I must have half a dozen sable recipes scattered throughout TMH’s pages.  I just can’t help myself.  And, I have no intention of stopping.

When the Wall Street Journal published their mother recipe for sables in the Off Duty section just before the holidays I was on it like an otter on an oyster.

I had some leftover candied orange peel and ginger from my own holiday baking and decided to throw them in.

As a category, sables are a lesson in simplicity.  Just four ingredients: butter, sugar, flour and salt.  And this recipe my friends, is the closest I’ve come to the golden quadrangle.

Slightly sweet, crumbly and while delicious plain, just asking for fun and unique combinations.

If you decide to fancy-up your sables, you’ll need about 3/4 to 1 cup of goodies.  Need some ideas?  How about:

  • Any kind of freeze dried fruit, chopped (Trader Joes is a great source)
  • Citrus zest: lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange
  • Herbs: fresh mint, rosemary, thyme, lavender (as a note–start with 1 TBS chopped and go from there).  If you are going to herbs, a good way to further infuse flavor is to measure out your sugar and add it and your herbs to a ziplock bag.  Let “steep” for at least an hour.
  • Chocolate: any kind.  Chop it up and add it in
  • Teas: Chai, Earl Grey and fruity teas work well.  Depending on how strong you want the flavor,  start with a teaspoon and go from there
  • Candied fruit

Master Sable Recipe

The Wall Street Journal

makes 24 cookies

note–this recipe doubles very well

Ingredients

  • 11 TBS (1 stick plus 3 TBS) unsalted butter at room temp (use good quality here with high fat content like Plugra)
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 1 3/4 C all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1/2 C sanding sugar, turbanado or Demarara for rolling
  • 1 C total mix-ins of choice

Directions

  1. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and whipped, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add sugar and continue beating until well incorporated. Add salt and beat to combine.
  3. Add flour and beat until almost all flour disappears into the dough.  Finish by giving the dough a few good folds with a rubber spatula.  The dough will be crumbly.
  4. Divide dough in half (I use the food scale here but eye balling works).  Gently coax first half into a general log shape.  Set the log on to parchment paper and roll it back and forth until you have an even log about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and 8ish inches long.  Set aside and repeat with other log.
  5. Sprinkle the sanding/decorating sugar onto your parchment and gently roll each log until the surface is completely coated.
  6. Roll each log individually in either plastic wrap or parchment.  As a note, I first roll the log in a sheet of parchment, then place in a paper-towel roll and THEN wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap.  Rolls can now be frozen for up to two months.  They can also be baked from frozen but I prefer to move them to the fridge a couple of hours before I want to bake, I think they cut more nicely.
  7. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds in the oven.  Line baking sheets with parchment.
  8. Remove parchment/paper towel/plastic wrap from logs.  Using a sharp knife, cut into 3/8 inch disks.  Arrange cookies on baking sheets with about an inch in-between (the sables will not spread).
  9. Bake for 18-21 minutes rotating sheets halfway through and until sables are lightly toasted.  Let stand for 1-2 minutes then slide the parchment off the pan and onto a heat-proof surface.  Allow cookies to cool completely before removing from parchment.
  10. These freeze well.

Posession with intent to distribute

Sometimes I feel like a drug dealer when I deliver baked goods to friends and colleagues.  And, that’s not just because I like to lurk in dark alleyways and whisper, “hey kid, you wanna smoke some drugs?” out of the side of my mouth.

It’s also not the whole sugar is a drug thing (Yes, I know it is.  No, I’m not going to stop baking).

Maybe it’s because my hobby yields something people generally seem to want to consume. Then there is that part where people enjoy and then talk about why they shouldn’t have.  It may also have something to do with my ties to the Salamancas Family.   Anyhow on to the biggest baking drug deal of the year: 2018 Holiday Baking!

My analytics weren’t super awesome this year.  I just didn’t have time to work on data visualization. In their place,  I offer a summary:

  • 35 pounds of butter
  • 75 pounds of sugar
  • 25 pounds of fruits and nuts
  • 25 pounds of chocolate
  • 3500 units

And some old fashioned visuals.  You’ll find a  list of everything I baked with links at the bottom.

 

Holiday Baking 2018: The List

Candied Orange Peel

Candied Ginger

Triple Gingersnaps

World Peace Cookies

Sugar Cookies

Royal Icing (Sweet Sugarbelle)

Rum Butter Nuts

Peanut butter (schweddy) balls

Almond Butter Crunch

Cranberry White Chocolate Doodles (recipe isn’t quite ready for prime time)