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Our first holiday baking creation this season was a gingerbread cake. The recipe called for vegetable oil. We used our robust, nutty Arbosana oil instead. It created an additional depth of flavor for the spicy gingerbread. To help you with your holiday dessert and cookie making, we’ve assembled a collection of chocolate cakes, cookies and truffles - all calling for extra virgin olive oil.

Chocolate Arbequina Truffles

Pastry chef Alice Medrich created this chocolate lover's dream for us. Alice - also known as the First Lady of Chocolate - introduced Americans to chocolate truffles in the 1970s. She’s since become an award-winning cookbook author. Alice uses our fruity Arbequina oil for these truffles, in the photo above. You could also use our Arbosana oil, which pairs well with chocolate. Either way you won’t go wrong. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Hazelnut Shortbread

We’ve made this hazelnut shortbread. It was easy and delicious. And the shortbread baking in the oven filled the kitchen with a toasty hazelnut aroma. Faith Durand, executive editor of the fabulous food site The Kitchn, created this dish. “It consists of hazelnuts, olive oil, and a touch of lemon — and very little else,” Faith notes. “They taste delicious too,” she adds. “Sweet, nutty, savory from the oil, and salty on the finish.” Our fruity  Arbequina would pair well with the hazelnuts. (Click here to go to the recipe.)

Chocolate Almond Torte Another terrific Alice Medrich creation. We first savored this torte a few years ago at one of our annual Harvest Retreats. We’ve since made it several times. Alice says the torte is a variation of one she’s prepared for decades. The recipe is based on the “Queen of Sheba” cake in Julia Childs’ Mastering the Art of French Cooking. “It’s an iconic cake. It practically made my entire career,” Alice says of the torte. You could use our chocolate friendly Arbosana oil for this recipe. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Chocolate Orange Almond Cake Another popular dessert in our kitchen. This chocolaty cake comes from award-winning cookbook author Marie Simmons. It combines some of our favorite ingredients: chocolate, almonds, orange zest, and extra virgin olive oil. The cake gets finished with a chocolate glaze and toasted almonds. If you want to go all the way, Marie says you can serve the cake with orange liqueur-flavored whipped cream. As with all things chocolate, you could use our our Arbosana oil to make this cake. (Click here to see the recipe.)

Almond Tuiles

[caption id align="aligncenter" width="448"] Photo by Jessie Oleson Moore[/caption]

Alice Medrich adapted this recipe for us from a James Beard recipe. Beard is considered the "Dean of American cookery."  Alice substituted our Arbequina oil for butter. She also added a "bit of lemon zest and extra salt for a contemporary balance of flavors." Tuiles take their name from their similarity to the shape of terra-cotta roof files. Alice used our fruity Arbequina for this dish. The tuiles were prepared and photographed by Jessie Oleson Moore, who pens the great food blog (Click here to see the recipe.)

Bon appétit,Your friends at California Olive Ranch