Baking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil Instead of Butter – Part II

I flew to New York at the end of June to attend the Fancy Food Show, which focuses on specialty foods from around the world. While in the Big Apple, I had a great dinner with my sister.  We met up at a nice French restaurant called Le Monde, which specializes in cuisine from the Loire Valley. It’s on Broadway.

The meal lead to my sister’s raising the idea of her baking our mother’s delicious Swiss Christmas cookies once the holidays roll around. Here’s the kicker: My sister is interested in using extra virgin olive oil instead of butter to make the cookies.

That spurred me to want to revisit the topic of substituting extra virgin olive oil for butter when baking. It’s a subject we often get asked about, and we’ve posted olive oil baking recipes such as the Pumpkin Streusel Bread pictured here.

I want to alert you to a great book on olive oil, The Passionate Olive (Ballantine Books, 2005), which offers a table detailing how to convert butter to olive oil in baking and cooking.

The author, Carol Firenze, is passionate about olive oil (as her book title suggests). I recently met Carol at an extra virgin olive oil conference. She’s a great source of information on all things olive oil, including baking with EVOO. Carol recalled to us how her mother, now 90, adapted her biscotti recipe.

“She makes wonderful biscotti. About 20 years ago she started using olive oil instead of butter,” Carol said. Her mother, Gigi, taught her that olive oil can be used as a substitute for butter in just about anything you can cook or bake.

Here’s Carol’s table detailing how to convert butter to olive oil:

Butter                    Olive Oil
1 teaspoon            ¾ teaspoon
1 tablespoon         2 ¼ teaspoons
¼ cup                    3 tablespoons
1/3 cup                 ¼ cup
½ cup                    ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons
2/3 cup                 ½ cup
¾ cup                    ½ cup + 1 tablespoon
1 cup                    ¾ cup

We’ll post the recipe for Carol’s biscotti very soon, along with other tips and recipes from her book. Stay tuned.

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch