All week long, my roommate has been asking me to bake something, but only today did I actually turn the oven on to try a recipe I had bookmarked ages ago. Today was a long, long day, and it was the long, long days in high school when I would get both in and out of the building with the sun down that first made me bake regularly. To turn pale, scentless pantry staples into warm, sweet goods was pure magic. It still is, but reserved for perhaps more extreme situations than before. I believe the only two “cake floods” happened around my exam sessions, with yeast buns in the autumn (and kitchen turned into a sauna) and banana breads on (pretty much) every morning of February.
I initially wanted to use cumin as a primary spice in these cookies, but I chickened out last minute and went with the usual cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg mix. The lemon juice worked really well with these (even though it sounds quite weird, I admit), but I will still give my favorite spice a chance sometime soon. The olive oil is hardly detectable, but i think it gives the cookies a good, denser texture. Preparation asks for nothing more than your hands, a bowl, and a spoon (unless you want to add ground hazelnuts). Perfect late night baking. Or early morning baking. Or any time baking really.
Lemon and Olive Oil Cookies
(makes about 26 cookies)
(based on this recipe from White Plate)
1 ½ + 1 tbsp flour (I used wheat, grano tenero)
8 tbsp olive oil (½ cup)
½ cup sugar
4 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp sweet liquor (I used something with chocolate)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 ½ tsp baking powder
handful hazelnuts or any other nuts, finely ground (or more, but reduce flour by the same amount)
Preheat the oven to 190ºC. Line a tray with baking powder.
Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add all the liquids (lemon juice, liquor, and olive oil), and combine, at first with a spoon, later use either a mixer or your hands to make the dough no longer crumbly.
Take 1 tbsp of dough, roll into small balls and lay on the tray, leaving 5cm spaces between them. Flatten with a fork, pressing once in the middle, and then again at 90º. You will have to bake in two turns.
Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes if your oven has the option of heating from both sides. If your oven is the old school, one side type, go for 8 from below and 10 from above.
They should be golden on top but still soft when you take them out. They will get crumblier as they cool down.