Sweet Black Olive Shortbread

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Le hasard fait bien les choses… So tasty I had to find a safe hiding spot for the tin!

Back from a three-day process engineering training! The gamut on operations, costs, efficiencies et al. Interesting, brain-twisting problems, but after being trapped in a classroom with only cafeteria fare for distraction, I just needed the buttery softness of shortbread cookies for comfort.

To make these cookies, I adapted Jamie Oliver’s recipe for basic shortbread without rolling the dough. It is very similar to the one I used for the vanilla sablés, without eggs or refrigeration step. Just like scones, shortbread comes in sweet as well as savoury flavours, ranging from chocolate and almonds, to rosemary and fleur de sel.

Why black olives? I was browsing through my fridge for a salty snack – a pickle, maybe, I stumbled upon my favourite Moroccan black olives from the Italian store and remembered about Pierre Hermé’s green olive macarons.

Bingo! Salty, but bold and creamy also…perfect flavour and texture to enhance my sweet shortbread. Just keeps me coming back!!!

Ingredients for 18 cookies:

2 cups cake or all-purpose flour

1 cup butter, diced and room temperature

1 cup cornmeal

1 cup crystallized sugar (instead of superfine, but pulverized using food processor)

2 tablespoons to ¼ cup greek-style Moroccan dry cured black olives

1. Cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer.

2. Sift flour and cornmeal into a bowl.

3. Pit and finely chop the olives, and stir into the flour.

4. Stir the flour mixture into the buttercream, until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

5. Preheat the oven to 300 F.

6. Line the bottom of a 9x9 inch pan with wax paper, and grease the sides with butter.

7. Press the coarse dough into the pan with floured hands (Do not worry if the dough is crumbly, because it will give the sablé texture to the shortbread)

8. Prickle the dough with a fork and bake for 50 mins, until lightly golden.

9. Let cool slightly and cut the cookies using a knife. (Similar to the sablés, the dough is soft to the touch)

10. Let cool completely before unmolding.

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