Tuesday, 1 October 2013

blood orange and olive oil shortbread (vegan)

Blood orange and olive oil shortbread.

Several weeks ago, I made blood orange cookies to bring to a friend's dinner. I was very pleased with my efforts - they were crunchy citrus bites of joy, and unexpectedly wonderful for a first attempt at a tentatively drafted recipe.

I felt there could still be improvement, however, so the next time I tweaked it a little - and as a result, I baked a delightfully gourmet tray of blood orange shortbread, zestier, softer and crumblier than my first batch of cookies. Simon and his housemates were my taste-testers, and this version was the clear winner - not only by way of verbal confirmation, but also in the telling manner of how they disappeared even more swiftly, one after another, in quick succession. Encouraged, I'm sharing this recipe with you.

But wait, there's more! This is not your typical shortbread. In addition to the sensuous blood orange, it is also made with extra virgin olive oil, which imparts a light, lilting elegance that sings and twinkles and kisses. Yes, it's a vegan shortbread! - and one so beguiling, you can bake it to impress vegans and non-vegans alike. Or enjoy, sneakily, quietly, just by yourself.

The lush, dramatic appearance of a sliced blood orange.

Blood orange and olive oil dough, ready to go into the oven.

Blood oranges have a short season, so if they are not available, feel free to use regular oranges instead. It'll still be delicious!

blood orange and olive oil shortbread

1/8 cup blood orange juice (30ml)
1 tablespoon blood orange zest
1/4 cup olive oil (60ml)
1/2 cup icing sugar (55g) aka powdered/confectioner's sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup flour (105g)
1/2 cup cornstarch (65g)

Combine blood orange juice, blood orange zest, olive oil, sugar, salt in a bowl. Whisk well.
Mix the flour and cornstarch together in a separate bowl.
Add in the flour mix to the liquid mix, and stir with a wooden spoon until you form a dough. Knead with your hands and divide into about 6 chunks. Roll each chunk into a ball, then into a log of about 3.5cm / 1.5" in diameter. This dough will be soft, oily and moist, making it quite difficult to shape - but do persevere!
Wrap up the logs in baking paper, and place them in the freezer for 45 minutes.
Retrieve the logs from the freezer and slice into pieces of about 0.6cm / 1/4" thickness.
Arrange the pieces on a baking tray lined with baking paper. They don't really spread out so you can put them close together, as long as you still allow for some breathing space.
Bake at 160C fan-forced (or 180C conventional) for 15 - 18 minutes, depending on how you like them. I am quite partial to a hint of toasty brown around the edges!

Good stuff... vegan blood orange shortbread, made with olive oil.


  1. Yum, this looks really good and I bet it would work gluten free, since shortbread is often made with rice flour :) I'd never had blood oranges until this year, but I love them.

    1. Yes, I'm sure there is a way to make it gluten-free, it'll be a good experiment to try that as well sometime. :D

  2. oh my, I will have to try these! They look delicious!

  3. Oh wow, I'm loving blood orange and coffee gelato together at the moment ... I'm guessing these and a coffee would go pretty nicely too, especially when it's too cold for gelati.

    1. Probably! I had the biscuits with tea, and that certainly went down well. :)

  4. Blood orange and olive oil is such a lovely combo - these sound great!

    1. Citrus and olive oil just seem to go so well together, don't they!

  5. They look so perfect, I really want it with a cuppa :)

  6. Woah, vegan shortbread with olive oil, that's such a great idea! Love it.

  7. I've always had a soft spot for shortbread and the combination of blood orange and olive oil sounds heavenly!

    1. Yep - blood orange and olive oil go beautifully together. :)

  8. This looks great! my mother has been on a blood orange cordial making rampage, so maybe i can steal one of her many kilos and make some of these!

    Here's the recipe in case you're interested! I'm liking your blog :)


    1. Oh, envious of your abundance of blood oranges! Your blood orange cordial (and cocktail) looks great!


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