I was skeptical about baking with olive oil. But, I attended a preview of the new We Olive store in La Jolla and during our olive oil tasting, our expert suggested substituting their blood orange olive oil for butter when baking cookies and cakes. I tried it.
I decided to use the basic Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that is on the back of Nestle chocolate chip packs. I’ve known the recipe by heart since I was about 9 years old and definitely know what the cookies should taste like. This was no time to try a new recipe because I’d never be able to tell if the olive oil changed the taste or texture.
The great thing about baking with olive oil is that kids can stir it. Softened butter is too difficult, at least for La Jolla Girl, so I use a hand or stand mixer. For this, we just used a spoon. The dough was noticeably shinier.
We did use the blood orange flavored olive oil from We Olive. You could taste and smell the citrus, but it wasn’t overpowering. And let me tell you, the cookie dough was delicious. The recipe calls for 1 cup of butter. As I started to pour the olive oil into the measuring cup, my gut told me to put in a bit less so I didn’t fill it to the top. That was lucky, because here is the conversion chart that seems to be universal across the web.
I let La Jolla Girl drop the cookie dough on to the cookie sheet.
I prefer gooey cookies so I take them out as soon as they start to brown on the edges, even if they look a bit uncooked in the middle. I suspect that you’ll need to be more careful about this when baking with olive oil. I forgot once and baked them until they were golden on top (without being overcooked). That batch turned out crunchy and light. With butter, baked like this, they would still be kind of soft. If you like gooey cookies, bake them until they look like this.
And when you break the olive oil chocolate chip cookies open, they will look like this. They are a little greasier on the inside, but in a good way.
Benefits Of Baking With Olive Oil
In the absence of blood orange olive oil or another fancy flavor, it’s recommended that you use extra light olive oil. The benefits of baking with olive oil instead of butter include:
Olive oil cuts the amount of fat in your recipe by about 25%.
Olive oil has much less saturated fat than butter.
Olive oil has no cholesterol. Butter does.
Substituting olive oil is a great way to get more monounsaturated fat and polyphenolic compounds in your diet.
It’s easier for kids to stir and may eliminate you having to use a mixer. I will incorporate it more in my kids recipes.
Olive oil can enhance the flavor of your recipe, depending on what kind you use.
Your kids won’t notice the difference. Most other people won’t either.
By the way, did you know that to taste olive oil properly you pour it into a small container, cover with your hand, swirl and then sniff?
Have you baked with olive oil before? Share your thoughts.
I'm Katie Dillon, a freelance luxury travel writer who lives in seaside La Jolla, CA. This is where I document my recent trips around the world, the latest San Diego happenings and other fun lifestyle topics. Thanks for stopping by!