olive oil

garlicy lemony creamy classic hummus

When I was a teenager hummus was a unknown and totally exotic foreign food.

garlicy lemony creamy classic hummus | Brooklyn Homemaker

Those years were recent enough that I probably should have know what hummus was, but I grew up far enough upstate as to be rather isolated from the food trends and cultural open-mindedness of the big city.

garlicy lemony creamy classic hummus | Brooklyn Homemaker

In the 90s in Auburn, NY, the closest most people ever got to experiencing foods from other cultures was Chinese take out or one of the many MANY old school Italian restaurants.

Or maybe Taco Bell.

garlicy lemony creamy classic hummus | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I entered high school I met a whole new group of friends; among them were the punks, hippies, goths, skate boarders, hacky sackers, vegetarians, and vegans of the alterna-teen umbrella. Falling in with a different crowd meant hearing new music, having new adventures, and experiencing new foods.

Sushi! Indian! Falafel! So new! So Exciting!

garlicy lemony creamy classic hummus | Brooklyn Homemaker

One of my favorite discoveries was hummus.

Growing up with staunchly American cuisine and lots of convenience foods, Hummus was completely foreign and exotic to me. It was simply bursting with unfamiliar spices and bold flavors that I’d never encountered before my teen years. Even the texture was new to me, and I couldn’t get enough of the stuff.

I still remember the first time I tried to get my mom to buy some for me in the grocery store and she had no idea what the heck it was or why in the world I’d want to eat it.

garlicy lemony creamy classic hummus | Brooklyn Homemaker

One of my favorite things about hummus even today is how versatile it can be. It makes a great dip at parties, a delicious spread on a sandwich, and even works as a side dish or major part of a meal. One of our favorite things to do when we make our own hummus is to thinly slice, marinate, and broil some chicken breast and serve it alongside some sliced cucumbers, grilled pita wedges, and giant bowl of hummus for dipping.

garlicy lemony creamy classic hummus | Brooklyn Homemaker

There are many different ways to make hummus and just as many flavors you can blend into it. Personally, I prefer a classic approach with lemon, garlic, and cumin. I also like to take the extra step of soaking and boiling dried chickpeas rather than using canned. I think dried chickpeas have a slightly cleaner flavor and make it much easier to control the amount salt you add.

This recipe can be made thick and chunky, or creamy and smooth, depending on how long you process everything. I myself like to let the food processor whir and whir until the hummus is unbelievably smooth and silky. While it’s really traditional to serve hummus with a drizzle of olive oil, I like to add some extra in while it’s pureed for even more velvety creaminess.

While the flavors in this recipe are very traditional, I like to turn up the volume and add a little bit extra lemon and garlic to make sure they really shine through. If you’re not as big a fan of raw garlic, feel free to skip one or two of the cloves.

garlicy lemony creamy classic hummus | Brooklyn Homemaker

Classic Creamy Hummus

  • Servings: makes about 3 or 4 cups
  • Print
1 cup dried chickpeas
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup tahini
juice of 2 to 3 lemons
3 to 4 cloves of garlic (less if preferred)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for serving

Wash the chickpeas three or four times, or until they don’t cloud the water when submerged. Check for stones and other non-chickpea debris.

Soak the chickpeas in clean water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda for at least 8 hours or overnight. Wash and drain them, and soak again in new clean water for a two or three more hours. The grains should be almost double their original size.

Wash and drain the chickpeas once more and put them in a large pot. Cover with water and add remaining baking soda and NO salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer, and cook until the grains are tender enough to be easily smooshed between two fingers. It should take about an hour to an hour and a half. As they cook some foam may form on the water and skins may rise to the top. Try your best to skim off as much of the foam and as many of the skins as possible. The fewer skins you have the creamier and smoother your hummus will be. Once finished, drain them and reserve some of the cooking liquid.

Let the chickpeas cool for a bit before adding to a food processor. Pulse them a few times before adding the remaining ingredients and processing until you get the desired texture. I like mine super smooth and creamy so I just let it go for a bit, but if you like yours chunkier just pulse it until it comes together in a thick chunky paste. If the Humus is too thick, add some of the cooking water or some more lemon juice or olive oil. Try to get it a bit thinner than the consistency you desire, as it will thicken a bit once it’s refrigerated. Check for seasoning, and if you’re happy with the levels of salt, cumin, garlic, and lemon, you’re done!

Serve with a drizzle of good olive oil and some chopped parsley if desired.

This recipe recipe doubles very easily, but you do not need to double the amount of baking soda used for either soaking or cooking.

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dark chocolate dipped hazelnut & olive oil shortbread cookies

Back in my 20s, when I was single, I tended to hang out almost exclusively with other single people.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

If one of my friends would start dating someone seriously we would try to maintain our friendship, but we’d usually start to drift apart as they hung out with their partner, or with other couples, more often than their single friends. I always quietly resented those friends, and their partners, for falling out of touch and drifting from me and my desire to blow three days worth of tips in one night of debauchery. Why would anyone chose to stay in with popcorn and netflix when they could hang out with me, bar hopping and getting embarrassingly sloppy until the bars closed, when we could try to find some cheap mexican food to gorge on before falling asleep with our clothes on? What could be more fun?

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

Now that I’m on the other side of that situation, married and in a relationship for several years, I’m starting to understand. It might have something to do with being a few years older, or the fact that I work mornings now, or that I have two dogs to get home to, but the very idea of staying out past midnight and paying for drinks at a bar rather than drinking at home has me yawning wide and worrying about my bank balance.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

I mean, it’s not as if I don’t have any unattached friends, it’s just that more and more couples have made their way into my social circle. Call it maturity, or call it geriatric old age, but I’ve reached the phase of my life where nights out on the town are fewer and farther between, while socializing and entertaining at home happens more and more often. Part of the appeal of hanging out with other couples is that they tend to be just as willing (and eager) to have drinks, dinner, and visits in each others homes.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

One of our closest friend-couples are in the process of organizing a DIY wedding. Last year when they were early in the planning stages, we had them over for brunch to discuss their ideas and pass down some of the supplies we had leftover from our own wedding. It was actually during that brunch that I served the Aunt Sassy Cake that was the inception of Brooklyn Homemaker, largely thanks to their insistence and enthusiasm.  Little by little, we’ve been helping them with certain aspects of their wedding along the way, and I might even be planning to bake a few little things for their big day.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

When they asked if I’d be interested in coming over to help out with some DIY craft projects for the wedding, I was all over it. I love doing that sort of stuff anyway, but I was especially into the idea of hanging out for the day. There would also be wine.

While the setting may have changed as I’ve gotten older, my inability to practice self control has not. I may, just may, have consumed a few too many glasses of wine and done a lot more drunken gum flapping than actual crafting.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

There’s something in my DNA that dictates I must always arrive to a party, no matter how big or small, with something homemade and delicious. So, I asked if I could bring some cookies along, as if the answer might actually be anything other than yes.

My original thought was something like a simple chocolate chip cookie, but when I learned that one of their crafting friends is vegan, I started brainstorming. It’s no secret that I love a challenge.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

As much as I adore butter and bacon, I really love to make the occasional vegan recipe. The one thing I don’t like though, is using vegan substitutes for things that are innately un-vegan. Egg substitutes and margarine are not things that you’re likely to ever find in my refrigerator. The way I see it, if you want eggs and butter, eat eggs and butter; and if you want to avoid them, avoid them without substituting impostors that look, taste, and smell vaguely similar.

So when I started thinking of a vegan cookie recipe, I immediately thought I wanted to try using olive oil in place of butter. I knew a simple shortbread would be perfect to highlight the choice of olive oil, and from there my mind went straight to sea salt, crunchy nuts, and dark chocolate.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

My instincts paid off, and these purdy little cookies were a hit. There’s something so wonderful about a shortbread cookie made with olive oil. While the amount of sugar in these cookies is restrained and subtle, it’s presence completely transforms the olive oil to give the cookie a bright, light, and fruity quality.  The shortbread has a perfectly crisp texture, with a nice hint of crunch from the toasted hazelnuts. The cherry on the sundae is the coating of bitter dark chocolate and tiny sprinkling of fleur de sel. You gotta love a sweet treat with a healthy hint of salt.

Even though there were only a few of us crafting, and this recipe makes 3 dozen little cookies, there was little more than a few crumbs left at the end of the night.

dark chocolate dipped hazelnut and olive oil shortbread cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

Dark Chocolate Dipped Hazelnut & Olive Oil Shortbread Cookies

  • Servings: 36 cookies
  • Print
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup confectioners (powdered) sugar (for a sweeter cookie use 1 1/4 cups)
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
1 cup + 1 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil, divided
8-10 oz good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel (or coarse kosher salt)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Toast chopped hazelnuts on a parchment lined baking sheet for about 5 minutes, or until they smell nice and nutty and look slightly oily. Turn oven down to 325 degrees.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and hazelnuts. Pour in 1 cup olive oil and stir until all of the dry mixture is incorporated. Brush a 9×13 baking pan with remaining olive oil, and use your fingers to press the dough down in an even layer. Prick the surface of the dough all over with a fork (try to create an even pattern). Bake until it is just beginning to turn slightly golden around the edges (keep a close eye on it), about 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove from oven and let the pan cool for 20 minutes. Do not let them cool completely before slicing! Using a very sharp knife, slice the shortbread into 6 rows of 6 rectangles. Then let the cookies cool completely before using a small spatula to remove them from the pan. Resist the urge to remove them before they’re totally cooled, or they’ll crumble to bits.

Transfer cookies to a parchment lined sheet pan, cooling rack, or countertop. Using a double boiler, or 15 second bursts in the microwave, melt dark chocolate until smooth and shiny. Dip cooled cookies, one at a time, in chocolate. I thought it looked nicer to just dip half the cookie, but you can do what you like best. Before chocolate sets sprinkle each cookie with a few grains of fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt. Transfer back to parchment and let chocolate set completely before removing and serving. (I used the refrigerator to speed this up.)