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Olive oil sugar cookies marbled with your favorite fruit jams.
Even though it’s still properly hot outside, I can feel summer starting to wind down. The sun sets before 9pm instead of closer to 10:30 and I noticed the first leaves turning yellow and orange. But don’t be fooled, there is plenty of summer left to squeeze out - especially with late summer produce.
I used to be so eager to jump into fall baking, but the not-quite-ripe figs and green strawberries in my garden have me holding on to every last little bit of summer. I’m savoring every nectarine, juicy tomato, and sweet corn that I can get my hands on.
No matter where you are in the season, this recipe is perfect for preserving a piece of summer. I’ve swirled some of my favorite fruit jams into a tender olive oil cookie that is full of flavor and forever customizable. Marbled with fruit and sweetened with herb and spice-infused sugar, the cookies are soft and chewy, with slightly caramelized edges from the jam.
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The dough itself comes together by hand. I used half melted butter and half olive oil - no need for room temperature butter or a mixer to cream it together. A light olive oil pairs well with most fruit, but feel free to sub something more neutral, like avocado oil.
For even more flavor, I infused the sugar with herbs and spices. I tried dried lavender and cardamom with beautiful results. I bet citrus zest and vanilla bean seeds would be equally lovely with nearly any jam variety you decide to use.
But about the jam - I made these three ways: apricot, blueberry, and fig. The fruit ripples through the dough and slightly caramelizes where it is exposed to the oven.
I prefer a chunkier jam (the fig) compared to a smooth one (the strained apricot), but both baked up exceptionally well. You can even try mixing two flavors together! For a darker jam, like blueberry, try not to over-mix or you will lose the marble effect, leaving the whole cookie purple.
For the fig jam, I used the small-batch recipe from these Fig Jam Bars. The apricot jam was adapted from this old recipe I created for The Kitchn, then strained. The blueberry was a quick compote I made by cooking blueberries with lemon juice and sugar until they softened and juices thickened. Store-bought jam would work too, but be sure to chill it first if you can.
Some Notes on Baking with Olive Oil:
Baking with olive oil creates some of the most beautiful and delicious tasting desserts. Using the right kind of olive oil adds depth to flavor while keeping things light and moist. It pairs perfectly with citrus desserts, savory bakes (like pumpkin bread), and even chocolate.
Adding olive oil to your recipe will change the flavor - in a good way! Choose a delicate, mild-flavored extra virgin olive oil for light and fruity desserts. Feel free to get a little bolder when pairing with chocolate for a more robust flavor.
In all cases, select a high quality olive oil and be sure to taste it first. Olive oil can go rancid, and that’s the last thing you want to be adding to your cookies and cakes.
1 ½ teaspoons dried lavender or cardamom pods, optional
1 ¼ cup (250g) granulated sugar, divided
½ cup (113g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
½ cup (120ml) olive oil
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups (315g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (120ml) jam
Crush the lavender or cardamom pods with a mortar and pestle. Remove the shells of the cardamom pods. Add a couple tablespoons of the sugar and continue to crush the herbs and spices into the sugar.
Combine the butter and oil in a large mixing bowl. Sift in the infused sugar to remove any large pieces of lavender/cardamom. Add the remaining sugar and whisk to combine. Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth and the mixture lightens in color, about a minute by hand.
Sift in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir the dough with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined.
Dollop spoonfuls of jam over the top of the dough (not one pool) and briefly fold until the jam swirls into the dough. Do not over-mix (especially with blueberry jam, if using).
Use a spring-loaded cookie or ice cream scoop to portion the dough into 18 balls, 2½ to 3 tablespoons each. Place on a baking sheet and chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake no more than 9 cookies on a parchment lined half sheet pan at a time. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until the edges of the cookies are set and slightly browned.
Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
Serving and Storage:
Jam cookies are best served the day they are made. Store leftovers at room temperature for up to 2 days or in a zip-top bag in the freezer.
The cookies will soften overnight. If you prefer a crisper edge, I suggest storing them in the freezer. They will only need a few minutes to thaw and enjoy.
I recommend a chunkier jam with fruit pieces rather than one that is completely smooth. A smooth jam will make the cookies spread a bit more, but still very tasty!
The lavender and/or cardamom is optional. Feel free to add ½ teaspoon ground cardamom instead.
Alternatively, rub citrus zest or vanilla bean seeds into the sugar before adding to the dough.
Try mixing two flavors together! I made some with half fig and half blueberry.
For two different flavors, split the dough in half and put in two bowls. Add ¼ cup of jam to each then fold.