The average American eats around 7,000 calories on Christmas Day — not counting the parties and other snacking prior to the actual holiday. One of the easiest ways to at least make the overindulgence a little healthier this holiday season is replacing butter with olive oil in your favorite dessert recipes.
While cutting down on your saturated fat intake is the best reason for swapping olive oil for butter, the taste and texture of desserts will be enhanced as well. Olive oil will keep your cookies moist as well as add a specific type of crumb. While butter will add a richness to a cookie, extra virgin olive oil gives a lighter, slightly fruity flavor.
See more: Give a Gift of the World's Best Olive Oils
When swapping, the rule is three-quarters of butter to olive oil. Meaning, if the recipe calls for a cup of butter, use three-fourths of a cup of olive oil. The same rule would follow if the recipe calls for melted or creamed butter. In this case, you would whip the oil in with the other ingredients.
Not all baking calls for butter, and olive oil can also be used in place of canola or vegetable oil for cakes. If at any point the conversion seems difficult, there are handy charts online that can help.
As with other cooking, the quality of oil matters when substituting for butter. Make sure and choose a delicate extra virgin olive oil, one that would be used on the table for dipping bread or dressing a salad. A lower-quality oil could possibly degrade the taste of the cookies.
Some cookie recipes even call for olive oil specifically, like Colavita’s Lemon Olive Oil Crinkle Cookies, which calls for one-third cup of oil. While citrus is a natural pairing, the subtleties in the taste of olive oil can bring out a new flavor palate when paired with chocolate.
Speaking of chocolate, there is a myriad of chocolate chip and olive oil recipes online, but chocolate chunks and sea salt seem to be a popular pairing. You can find the best olive oils to use with your dessert recipes on the Olive Oil Pairing App.
Shortbread has always been a Christmas and butter-filled tradition for my family, but those too can be made with olive oil. Once again, there are many variations available, but the olive oil shortbread with orange and black tea was most intriguing.
Olive oil can make your holidays a little easier. It is a great baking substitute when cooking for vegans or those with dairy allergies. Plus, it makes your cookies healthier and delicious, something every baker wants.