My friend and partner in the “Italy meets India” classes at the Loblaw’s PC Cooking Schools, Chef Maria, often speaks of her love of all things olive oil. From making her own pickled olives to using it as a flavoring ingredient in cookies and cakes, she loves olive oil. The other thing she loves(there are many other food related things she loves, she is as passionate about food as I am) are fresh lemons. If you listen to one of her stories of lemons from her trip to Italy many years ago, you can almost taste the Italian lemons that could have been used to make this cookie. Thick skinned – more zest, fragrant, and large – more zest! It would be nice to try this with those lemons, but sadly, I will have to wait to do that until my next trip to Italy.

So when searching for a recipe that incorporates these two ingredients, I found – and had, to try these Algerian Lemon and Olive Oil cookies from the website. I’ve modified and adapted the ingredients and procedures slightly as the original didn’t seem to work for me – hence the name change, and I didn’t want to offend anyone. But the taste of the cookie did impress me. The original recipe called for an egg wash on the cookies but my dough was so soft – almost runny, it wouldn’t have taken an egg wash. Still delicious, almost cake like in texture. I can see where the egg wash would have given it a nice shiny crust to bite into, but again, I left it out in my version.

This is a lovely cookie recipe that uses these two favorite ingredients of hers – and now mine. A delightful cookie with a hole in the middle. Do try these for a Saturday afternoon tea or just because it’s another day. Make extra, they are delicious! This would also make a great addition to your Christmas cookie swap (yes you should be thinking about this now – it will take your mind off your other problems which can’t always be solved with a cookie!). As always – enjoy!

3 large eggs
105ml extra virgin olive oil
210g sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 lemon, zested
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
320g all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of sea salt, fine

Preheat the oven to 350f
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder and set aside
In the bowl of a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together the eggs and sugar for a few minutes or until thick, frothy and pale in color
While beating, gradually add the oil, lemon zest and vanilla extract
With the help of a spatula, incorporate the dry ingredients into the egg mixture until combined
Using a large teaspoon or regular sized tablespoon, scoop some of the dough onto a cookie sheet
Using the round handle end of a wooden, poke a hole in the center after the cookie settles/flattens a bit
Sprinkle lightly with some sugar and bake
Note:  This is a wet dough – the original recipe called for a precise measurement of 20g and involved rolling into a ball, well that clearly wasn’t going to work for me so I used a big teaspoon and dropped it onto a cookie sheet, when it flattened slightly, I took the handle end of a wooden spoon, dipped it in water and poked a hole in the center of the cookie
After 10 minutes – the cookies will not be fully baked at this stage, the holes made by the wooden spoon handle will have almost completely filled in, so remove the tray from the oven, and while the cookies are still soft i.e. not fully baked, press the handle end into the center of the cookies to make the hole more prominent
Continue baking for another 5 minutes or until lightly golden
Allow to cool on a wire rack before serving
Olives and lemons – they are a good thing!  Maria, è una bella cosa!