These Greek Olive Oil Cookies are so crunchy, lightly sweet and perfect with a cup of coffee or tea. With a slight hint of spice and orange, they are such a lovely, simple cookie.
About a year or so ago, my husband and I went to a great Greek restaurant with a group of friends. After our meal, we wandered into a Greek grocery store just next door and loaded up a shopping basket with an assortment of cheeses, breads, olives and…cookies.
Ah, cookies. My weakness. I’d take a cookie over a slice of pie or cake any day. So, you’ll understand when I tell you that I tore into that bag of cookies as soon as we got home that night. Those Cretan Cookies, or Ladokouloura, were simple, crunchy and just slightly sweet. I spent the entire time eating them wondering how I was going to make them myself. I even saved the bag with its list of ingredients to refer to. Unfortunately, finding a recipe for those specific cookies was impossible. I’ve found versions of them, so many, but none that were as basic as my Greek grocer’s find. I imagine that many wise, Greek grandmas hold tight to those cherished recipes.
I’ve said this before, but I’ve got a thing for simplicity. That goes for cookies, too. I love a crunchy, unfussy cookie that’s not overly sweet that I can pop in my mouth every time I walk into the kitchen…err, I mean, so I can have just one or two with a cup of coffee. I do find some consolation in that, although these are not healthy by any means, they are made vegan with heart-healthy olive oil instead of butter and with very little sugar.
I love baking with olive oil. It’s been done forever by many cultures, but for some reason, so many of us find it odd and only associate olive oil with savory foods. One bite into these crunchy nuggets and you’ll never even guess they were made with olive oil. Try it with some of your favorite baking recipes. A key tip to remember when substituting olive oil for butter is that olive oil is one hundred percent fat, while butter is eighty percent fat and twenty percent moisture. That in mind, you’ll want to use a bit less olive oil and you may need to increase the liquid in your recipe a bit.
I hope you love these as much as I do. They are not authentic by any means, but they are my interpretation of a beautiful Greek cookie. If you are Greek or have a sweet Greek grandma who bakes amazing cookies…tell me what you know about my new favorite cookie. And, if you have your own recipe for these…I’d love to hear about it!
- ¾ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- zest of one orange
- ⅔ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup sesame seeds
- Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a stand mixer, combine the olive oil and sugar and orange zest. Beat just under high speed for about five minutes to begin emulsifying. Add the orange juice and continue beating for another two minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together to flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves.
- On low speed, add the flour mixture to the olive oil mixture a half cup at a time, adding as the flour mixes in, but try not to over-mix. I turn the mixer off while adding each half cup and run it just until the flour combines.
- When the dough has formed, scoop by slightly heaping tablespoon size and form a ball. Dip the top of the ball into a bowl of sesame seeds, then placing it on a cookie sheet, press down a bit to flatten, this will press the seeds into the cookie as well. Space the cookies about two inches apart, although they really won't spread at all.
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the cookies begin to look golden and are crunchy the whole way through. They'll crisp up more as they cool. Cool on a baking rack.
These cookies are very, very lightly sweet. If you prefer a sweeter cookie, feel free to add up to a half cup of granulated sugar.
If you love baking with olive oil, take a peek at these beautiful recipes…