One of the most interesting things I've learned since beginning my olive oil exploration is that you can bake with olive oil. I am a huge fan of buttery, flakey shortbread, so an olive oil shortbread seemed like a natural choice for my first adventure in olive oil baking. The heavenly aroma of robust Sonoma Valley Blend extra virgin olive oil from The Olive Press with fresh sage, nutty Parmesan and black pepper made my whole apartment smell so amazing that my upstairs neighbors actually knocked on my door to find out what I was baking. Serve these with wine or prosecco for an easy and impressive appetizer.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
1/2 cup robust extra virgin olive oil, such as Sonoma Valley Blend, plus more for brushing
1/8 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 tsp sea salt plus more for garnish
1/2 tsp freshly-cracked black pepper
About 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped, plus more for garnish
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup ice water
Combine flour, salt and olive oil and butter in a mixing bowl, stand-up mixer or food processor. Pulse or combine with a fork until ingredients for pea-size pieces. Add sage, pepper and Parmesan to mixture.
Slowly stream in ice water and continue mixing until a soft dough forms.
Remove dough from bowl and form into a ball. Wrap in wax paper or parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour or until quite cool.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly flour a baking sheet.
Place cold dough on a floured surface or between two pieces of wax paper or parchment paper. Roll out until 1/4-inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter or the edge of a wine glass to cut out 3" circles. Place on a baking sheet, about 1" apart.
Bake shortbread for 18-22 minutes, or until light brown.
Brush with additional olive oil and garnish with sea salt and sage.