September 08, 2003
Corte Madera - Recently I was a guest at an Olive Oil Culinary Guild meeting in Sonoma. Their purpose is to sponsor activities that educate food professionals, olive oil producers, and consumers on the flavor components and cooking applications of quality olive oil.
We tasted five oils and four chocolate brownies made with olive oils. The oils were all rated favorably by members of the group. I was surprised that one of our favorites was an oil that had been pressed in 2000 and was a year past the “best used by” date stamped on the bottle. It was obviously not yet past its prime!
Of the brownies, the favorite by far was the one made with Orange Olive Oil produced by Nick Sciabica & Sons. The least favorite turned out to be the one made with real butter! So for a healthier and tastier brownie, substitute olive oil for butter. I have included the recipe and a conversion chart below.
The guild currently has seven different regional tasting groups with no more than 20 members per regional guild. Members include chefs, oil makers, food writers, winemakers, and consumers. For further information contact Gabrielle Leonhard, project coordinator and author of The Ultimate Guide to American Olive Oil at Gabrielle@winecountryliving.com.
CONVERSION CHART OF BUTTER TO OLIVE OIL
2 1/4 teaspoons
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons
1/2 Cup + 1 Tablespoon
EXTRA RICH BROWNIES
Adapted from The Art du Chocolat by Robert Linxe
Makes: 20 small brownies Preparation: 20 minutes Cooking time: 25-30 minutes
2 1/2 cups
(4 ounces maracaibo, 4 ounces ordinary)
or 10 Tbl.
All purpose Flour
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x10-inch rectangular baking pan.
2. Coarsely chop the walnuts. Break the chocolate into pieces and place in the top of a double boiler to melt. Add the butter or olive oil and stir to blend. Remove from the heat. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, combine the eggs, ground almonds, and sugar. Add to the melted chocolate and stir to blend.
4. In another bowl, combine the baking soda and flour. Sift into the chocolate mixture. Stir to blend. Add the walnuts and stir again.
5. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove pan from the oven. Let stand for 5 minutes, then un-mold onto a cooling rack and cool completely. Cut into 3” squares for serving.
Tip: These are best served cold.
Susan Sullivan specializes in co-packing, private labeling and brand development at the Olive Oil Source and can be reached at