Portuguese Sweet Lemon and Olive Cookies

Portuguese Sweet Lemon and Olive Cookies

  • Servings: 18
  • Rating:


1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup oil-cured olives, rinsed if excessively salty, then pitted and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
pinch coarse salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large egg


Preheat your oven to 375° Fahrenheit. Cut three sheets of parchment paper to fit your cookie sheet, and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, chopped olives, lemon zest, and salt. In a separate bowl (I used the measuring cup with the oil), beat together the olive oil and egg until well combined. Pour this mixture into your dry ingredients, and mix well, until the dough comes together when you squeeze it (it won't come together into a cohesive ball, but it'll come together as you shape each cookie).

Lay out one of your sheets of parchment on a clean counter, and set out a small dish of additional sugar (start with maybe 1/4 cup). Pull off generous tablespoons of dough, and squeeze and then roll them to shape into balls. Shape 5 balls, roll them in the dish of sugar until well coated, and place on the parchment paper with ample space between them. Place one of the other sheets of parchment on top, and smush each cookie with your hand to flatten. Take a rolling pin and roll out further, until the cookies are about 4 inches across, and a scant 1/16th inch thick (don't worry about the rustic ragged edges — that's how these cookies should look). Transfer the parchment to a cookie tray, and bake until just browned on the edges and sort of pebbled on top, ~10 minutes. While the cookies are baking, shape the remaining dough for the next round. When done, let cool on a rack (Leite recommends fresh parchment for each batch, but given the short cooking time, I was easily able to cycle through mine). Store in an airtight container for several days, or bring to your holiday party that very night.