Growing up, Mom never used olive oil in her cooking. I've gravitated to where that is the oil I use the most. I especially like flavored olive oils, they add an additional layer of flavor to a dish. I use lemon olive oil a lot when cooking fish and basil olive oil in Italian dishes. I even have a jalapeno-flavored olive oil which is great in Mexican dishes. I keep all my olive oils and flavored vinegars on the countertop next to my stove. They are easy to get to and are pretty on the counter!
I've not baked much with olive oil, however. I've seen recipes and thought to myself that I should try it, but it's never happened. Last week I ran across this recipe for brownies and knew I had to jump in. I found the recipe on the Sciabica Olive Oil website. Sciabica's is a local company, I am fortunate that I can find their offerings in local stores and at our Farmers' Markets. Until he died in his mid-90's Mr. Sciabica was at the Farmers' Markets on a regular basis, enthusiastically telling everyone how wonderful olive oil is!
I happened to have orange olive oil and some ripe bananas so I had no excuse not to try these. We really enjoyed them. There is a subtle orange flavor to them and they are very moist. I could definitely taste the bananas in them. For a more neutral flavor the applesauce would work. They are more cake-like than fudge-like which is how I like my brownies. To make them less "chocolately" you can omit the chocolate chips in the batter and replace the frosting with a powdered sugar dusting. I liked them with everything!
Orange Olive Oil Brownies
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups mashed bananas (about 2 medium) or applesauce
3 tablespoons orange olive oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking spray in a 9x9-inch square baking pan.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. Add the eggs, mashed banana, vanilla and olive oil; mix again.
Add chocolate chips and nuts and mix until just blended.
Pour mixture into pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center is done.
While the brownies are hot, pour more chocolate chips evenly over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes then, using an offset spatula, spread melted chocolate over the brownies. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set the chocolate.