When and Why to Bake with Olive Oil

The season of holiday baking is upon us. From cookie exchanges to holiday parties to hostess gifts, so much baking is happening. That can be tricky when you are trying to keep things healthy.

With all of the tips we have shared over the years, we assume our customers have got low-carb cookie recipes they love. However, we know that you aren’t just concerned about blood sugar. Staying healthy is about taking care of many aspects of health.

Many different cooking oils have different health benefits and drawbacks. Olive oil is high in omega-3s and healthy fats. It can reduce inflammation and help joint health. As it’s high in fat and calories, it should be eaten in moderation. But the same is true for butter. And it doesn’t have the same negative impact on cholesterol as butter. Replacing butter with olive oil in your holiday baking may aid your health or at least make your cookies less detrimental.

Baking is more of a science than cooking. Cooking is an art. Baking is chemistry. That means using a liquid oil doesn’t work in all recipes. If something calls for melted butter, olive oil will work well. But if you are meant to cream the butter, olive oil simply will not work in its place. Creaming butter adds air to a baked good; olive oil can’t do that. If a pastry recipe calls for cold butter, olive oil won’t work. It also can’t be used to make buttercream or frosting.

There are some recipes for olive oil cakes that specifically call for the fat. Others can be reworked to use it. If you use olive oil instead of another liquid fat, you can substitute one-to-one. However, when replacing butter, you use ¼ less olive oil. Even with the amount of fat cut down, the final product will most likely be moister and fudgier than the original.  

The savory flavor works well in bread. And light flavored olive oils work in cakes, brownies and cookies. You have to pick your olive oil correctly for your baked good. Citrus or chocolate baked goods pair well with a very lightly flavored extra virgin olive oil. On the other hand, bread may benefit from a stronger-tasting oil.

Not every baked good can use olive oil, but not every sweet treat needs to be filled with butter. Read the instructions and decide for yourself if olive oil would be a suitable fat replacement as you bake this holiday season.

Banner image: Figen Kokol via Pexels

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