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Better-For-You Olive Oil Cakes And Cookies

As a cardiologist and anti-aging doc, I’m not too keen on processed baked desserts like cookies and cakes. But, I’m also not a fan of deprivation – life’s too short to never eat cake or cookies. So, my rules of thumb when indulging a sweet tooth are to practice strict moderation and to make healthier ingredient substitutions whenever possible.

That being said, I’ve found olive oil to be a luscious dessert ingredient… Not only is it healthier than butter, shortening, canola or corn oil, but it adds a delicate buttery-ness and lightness to baked goods like cookies and cakes that makes them melt in your mouth.  

When baking, I also like to replace refined sugar and flours with more nutritious ingredients to get the most out of dessert. If I’m going to splurge, I want to make sure it’s worth it! I like using raw honey or pure maple syrup – these natural sweeteners are not processed or pasteurized, so the natural trace vitamins, antioxidants and minerals remain intact. To make honey easier to work with when blending with other ingredients, gently heat it until it’s more liquid, and let it cool slightly before using in your recipe.

Since white flour is highly processed, I try to substitute more nutritious plant flours like almond or coconut in my baking recipes. The texture of the desserts will change, though – almond flour creates moister results and coconut flour makes for crumblier, drier baked goods – so sometimes I’ll add a bit of regular flour to get the right consistency. The point is to make healthy swaps whenever possible while preserving the taste and spirit of the original dessert.

To that end, here are a few olive oil dessert recipes that are sure to entice your taste buds, while also cutting out some of the unhealthier ingredients found in traditional recipes…Light, pillowy olive oil cookies and three kinds of citrus olive oil cakes.   These moist, delectable desserts pack well, so they’re great for picnics and barbecues, too!

Lemon Rosemary Olive Oil Cookies

cold-pressed Vervana rosemary flavored olive oil
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 c raw honey
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp lemon olive oil
  • 2 tbsp + 2 tsp rosemary olive oil
  • 1/2 heaping tsp finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent cookies from sticking (this also creates a barrier to the aluminum, so it won’t leach into the cookies).

In a medium bowl, whisk together almond and white flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat honey, lemon zest, lemon olive oil and rosemary olive oil until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract. Slowly add dry ingredients and beat until well combined.

Drop tablespoon-sized portions onto the baking sheet a few inches apart – they’ll spread out while baking so make sure to give them ample space. Bake 11-13 minutes, cool in pan a few minutes before transferring cookies to a cooling rack.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

  • 1/2 Tbsp organic butter for pan
  • 4 large organic eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup EVOO, or  lemon olive oil for an even deeper flavor
unfliltered natural and local honey

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch glass pie plate with organic butter.

In a small pan combine honey, lemon juice and zest. Heat gently over low until just warmed through and fragrant. Let cool.

In a large bowl lightly whisk eggs then one at a time, gradually whisk in olive oil, honey mix, almond and white flours, salt and baking soda. Pour into pie plate.

Bake until puffy, browned and set, and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

Cool cake in the pan on a cooling rack about 30 minutes, then turn out of the pan, slice and serve. Drizzle each slice with lemon olive oil, if desired. Serves 8.

Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake variation

cold-pressed Vervana blood orange flavored olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp organic butter for pan
  • 4 large organic eggs
  • 1.5 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Zest and juice of 2 small blood oranges
  • 2 Tbsp chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/3 cup of raw honey
  • 1/2 cup of EVOO, or blood orange olive oil for deeper citrus flavor

Follow the same directions as for lemon cake above.  After cooling the cake, drizzle each slice with blood orange olive oil and serve with orange slices. Serves 8.

Citrus Olive Oil Cake variation

  • 1/2 Tbsp organic butter for pan
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Juice of 1 large navel orange
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Black Label Vervana Cold Pressed Organic Olive Oil - 100% extra virgin

Follow the same directions as for lemon cake above.  After cooling the cake, drizzle each slice with extra virgin olive oil and serve with orange slices. Serves 8.

Remember, it’s okay to splurge every once in a while, just practice moderation and use healthier, high quality ingredients!

From my heart to yours,

© 2019 Stephen Sinatra, MD. All rights reserved.

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