BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Savoring Chocolate

20 Comments

Chocolate goes with everything, or so the enthusiasts proclaim, and for once I’m not here to argue. Though not a rabid chocoholic myself, a square or two of good dark chocolate is frequently the emergency fuel of choice, staving off everything from common hunger pangs to emotional flights of fancy. No stranger to the great range of flavors that can be coaxed from the humble cacao, my greatest disappointment is that fewer feel the need to explore beyond the most commonly accepted flavor pairings. More adventurous confections are beginning to emerge, giving rise to bars dusted with curry, sprinkled with popped amaranth, or blended with beer, but all of these treats still land firmly on the dessert menu. Enough with the candies and confections, just for once! I would challenge those who see chocolate only as a source of sweet gratification to take a walk on the savory side.

To call them “cookies” may be a bit deceptive, but their construction has much more in common with your standard shortbread than any cracker or chip I’ve ever known. Ultra-dark, dry, and slightly bitter chocolate chunks put to rest any preconceived notions of classic chewy chocolate chip cookies- Switching up cacao percentages alone makes an incredible world of difference! Of course, such a small adjustment didn’t satisfy my craving, which is where the unconventional addition of oil-cured olives comes into play. Yes, you heard right: Olives. Briny, rich with oil, vaguely fruity, and very concentrated in their inherent olive goodness thanks to the slow drying process, this salty addition serves to brighten the chocolate while adding a surprising pop of flavor. Catching eaters off-guard at first bite, it won’t be a taste for everyone, but a delight for adventurous eaters seeking something new.

Best served as an appetizer or snack, these delicate cookies shine their brightest when paired with a glass of dry red wine and an equally salty olive-infused hummus on the side. Don’t be afraid to really drive the theme home with a robust tapenade. Trust me, that intense dark chocolate can stand up to anything you throw at it. The saying really is true; chocolate goes with everything, or perhaps more accurately, everything goes with chocolate.

Savory Chocolate-Olive Cookies

1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Margarine
1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Tarragon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Cup Oil-Cured Olives, Pitted and Chopped
2.5 Ounces 90% Cacao Dark Chocolate, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Fit your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and thoroughly cream together the margarine and sugar, until the mixture is homogenous. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, tarragon, pepper, and salt, making sure that all of the dry goods are evenly distributed throughout. Add in the chopped olives and chocolate, tossing gently to coat all of the pieces with flour. Break up any clumps of olives that may remain sticking together so that they’re equally blended throughout each finished cookie. Starting the mixer back up on the lowest setting, slowly incorporate the dry goods in two additions, alternating with the olive oil, until all the remaining ingredients are used.

The dough should be just moist enough to stick together in a coherent ball when pressed; don’t be tempted to incorporate extra liquid! Gather it all up and form it into a log about 6 – 8 inches long. You can choose to either keep your cookies rounded or square off the edges by gently dropping the log on the counter at regular intervals. It’s merely a stylistic choice, so feel free to play around with it. Once shaped as desired, wrap the dough log in plastic and place it in your freezer. Allow at least 2 hours for it to chill, or store for up to 3 months before baking.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with silpats or pieces of parchment paper.

Unwrap the chilled dough, handling it as little as possible to prevent it from warming up, and use a very sharp knife to cut it into slices approximately 1/4 inch in thickness. (The cookies pictured above are admittedly a bit too thick- Don’t go too chunky here or they will be very dry and cloying!) Lay the cookies out with about 1/2 inch in between them on your prepared sheets, and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until lightly golden brown.

Let cool completely on the sheets before enjoying or storing in an air-tight container.

Makes 1 1/2 – 2 Dozen Cookies

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

20 thoughts on “Savoring Chocolate

  1. I bet I’d love these. I’m definitely a chocolate enthusiast- the darker and richer the better.
    Beautiful pictures as always Hannah.

  2. Sold! The combination of cocoa and olive plus mad genius has definitely wormed its way into this sweet-toothed chocolate fiend’s heart. I’ll be making these for sure. Thanks Hannah!

  3. goodgolly talk about a double whammy aphrodisiac…both olives and chocolate! ;)
    You’re right, more people should experiment with savory combinations. I’ve seen miso and chocolate pairings too…I would love to play with it, add more spice, etc. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  4. These look awesome! Love the low amount of sugar. I’m a huge sucker for savory/sweet combinations – and these look right up my alley!! Couldn’t agree more about the dark chocolate :)

  5. I hope you’ll be sending me a care package. ;)

  6. Wow! I love the sound of this. I’ve been looking for a good cracker recipe to hold up my homemade cashew cheese! I loove olives and, obviously, chocolate. So yes. I will try this soon! Thanks!

  7. Crackers methinks! Imagine these spread with some gorgeous vegan cheezy spread and topped with antipasti toppings…YUM! I love savoury chocolate. I actually quite like the taste of cocoa powder straight. Maybe I have some Mexican hovering around in me someplace …”I will make these…manana!” ;)

  8. Hannah, these cookies look beautiful. I am excited by the combination of olives and chocolate. N think ey do great! Thanks for sharing this. I’ll be sure to give these cookies a go.

  9. Savoury delectable creations with chocolate too, how clever of you. 😃

  10. What an interesting idea – I’d never have thought of that, but now I can’t think of anything else. I need to get baking some of these ASAP.

  11. Wow, so unique! I bet they’re great. You have great taste (I know this because I own all of your cookbooks, lol!). I’ve got to try this. I don’t think I’ll tell anyone the secret ingredient until after they rave about them ;)

  12. I have never had anything savory with chocolate but it sounds like such a great ‘risk’. I would never have though to pair chocolate with olives but as I’m reading your recipe, it seems to make sense. I am going to have to get up the nerve to try this.

  13. I adore the idea of pairing chocolate and olives! These cookies and a glass of vino rosso would be divine.

  14. Such an interesting combination! I can just imagine how good that would be with tapenade, I could just eat that as a meal instead of a little snack. :-)

  15. This is super interesting. I wonder could you use chocolate “nips” instead of cocoa powder?

  16. I quite like savoring cookies, it gave me some ideas, thanks for sharing. :)

  17. i love savory any day over sweet. these sound interesting

  18. oh my gosh! this is totally intriguing, love it :)

  19. Oh wow this sounds so interesting! I never would have thought of this- so creative!

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