When I recently picked up a second job as a hostess at a local restaurant, I have to admit that one of the first things I wanted to check out was the dessert menu. Along with the standard chocolate mousse and scoops of locally-made gelato, I was a little worried by one of the choices nestled inconspicuously in the middle of the list: olive oil cake. Um, what? Though served with a huckleberry compote, all I could picture was a greasy sliver of cake with the texture of cornmeal. And yet, this is by far our most popular dessert! Maybe because of this unexpected popularity, I took a second look when I saw this new cookbook devoted completely to Olive Oil Desserts.
In the world of desserts and baking, not much old is new again; there are only so many ways to rework a combination of flour, sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla. So, I guess I should be more open to unique ingredients like these. Additionally--these are actually healthier for you! By using olive oil, you are replacing the hydrogenated and saturated oils and fats usually needed for baking but without sacrificing any of the moistness you usually get from butter. Another preconception I had was that these desserts would be greasy or bland but, in fact, the oil affects the flavor no more than would a regular canola or vegetable oil (not at all). And with recipes like apple cinnamon rolls and chocolate sin cookies, you can bet these recipes are far from bland.
Finally, you know I would never recommend a cookbook if it wasn't accompanied by great photos--I need to know what my creations are supposed to look like! Filled with beautiful pictures, this unique new cookbook is a great addition for anyone that prefers heart-healthy baking or any baker looking to spice up their library with a little something different.