Olive oil an unlikely -- but delicious -- ingredient for desserts

Lori Kilchermann

The release of a new cookbook featuring brownies stirred thoughts of finding healthier versions of this tried-and-true stand-by. Author Micki Sanner has the answer in her cookbook, “Olive Oil Desserts, Delicious and Healthy Heart Smart Baking."

Olive oil is accredited with helping to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raising HDL (good) cholesterol. Micki has incorporated olive oil into her favorite baking recipes, omitting butter and other artery-clogging oils.

Getting past the unlikely pairing of the words “olive” and “brownie” took a few minutes. But the recipe looked straight-forward, so I gave it a try. Very surprisingly, they are hands-down the best brownies I have ever made. They are both chewy and crunchy, and the chocolate flavor is scrumptious.

I did opt to add in the optional 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips – for decadence. This recipe is definitely being filed into my recipe box, and I’m eager – rather than hesitant – to try her other recipes. Another benefit to this recipe – if you need to whip something up fast, you’ll likely have all these ingredients already on-hand.

Micki’s Simple Brownies

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate baking squares

1/3 cup pure olive oil

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional: 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat an 8- by 8-inch pan with olive oil cooking spray.

Place chocolate and olive oil in a small glass mixing bowl. Heat in microwave for

1 minute. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside.

In mixer bowl add eggs, sugar and vanilla and mix on medium/high speed for

5 minutes.

Add in chocolate mixture and blend until smooth and creamy. Fold in flour and sale. Mix until just moistened. Do not overmix. If adding chocolate chips, gently blend in.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove, cool slightly. Serve and enjoy.

Lori Kilchermann is a confessed foodie and a writer for The Journal-Standard. Recipes, stories and tips are always welcome. She may be reached at lkilchermann@journalstandard.com or The Journal-Standard, P.O. Box 330, Freeport IL 61032.