Culture Magazine is by and for the cheese world. It is the ultimate publication for cheese lovers and provides innovative stories about the world’s cheeses and cheesemakers. The magazine is extravagantly well researched and, in addition to great stories, there is stunning photography, beer and wine information, and unique and creative recipes.
An article called “Baked In” in the Winter 2017 edition featured several cookie recipes with cheese baked into them in some way. This Fennel and Olive Oil Cookie recipe provided a perfect opportunity to let the McEvoy Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil show up and shine. An unplanned bonus was that the McEvoy Ranch Black Olive Tapenade provided an easy and delicious shortcut in the recipe – Tapenade Stars!
Fennel and Olive Oil Savory Cookies – aka, Tapenade Stars
Makes 32 to 36 cookies
- 4 ounces Pecorino Romano, roughly chopped (You can substitute pana gradano or parmesan.)
- ¼ cup pitted oil-cured olives (I substituted ¼ cup McEvoy Ranch Black Olive Tapenade which was a great shortcut!)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch chunks
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
Pulse pecorino in the bowl of a food processor until cheese is pebbly, then transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- Add flour, sugar and salt to food processor and pulse to combine.
- Add butter, a few chunks at a time, and pulse until flour mixture and butter start to come together.
- Add cheese, olive tapenade and fennel seeds and pulse again.
- Sprinkle dough with ice water, 2 tablespoon at a time, pulsing between additions, until dough starts to pull away from sides of bowl in a mass.
- Remove dough from food processor, gather into a ball, and divide in half.
- Shape each half into a disk, wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
- Arrange a rack in the center of oven and heat oven to 350F.
- Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper.
- Flour a work surface and remove dough from refrigerator. Working with 1 disk at a time, unwrap and roll out into a ¼ inch thick round. Use a cookie cutter to stamp out dough. Reroll dough scraps just once.
- Place rounds on prepared baking sheets and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until fragrant and golden brown.
- Let cookies cool on baking sheets for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely before serving.
I took these to an Easter party with some great local mixed milk cheese.