Use Olive Oil for Healthier Christmas Cookies

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.

Dec. 9, 2016
By Anna Boarini

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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 Also: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.


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