I love kalamata olives. I can eat them straight from the jar, daintily spitting out their pits as I reach for the next one. This amuses Ray.
I came across this recipe for savory shortbread a couple of months ago, and decided that I would divide the base dough (without olives or pepper) into 3 portions, adding a new mix-in to each. Essentially, why have 60 shortbread bites of ONE flavor when you can have THREE?
Well, of that experiment, I found 2 winners, one being the kalamata olive and black pepper. These are the perfect bites to put out as appetizers … they stand on their own, or can be accompanied by jam or cheese. And I love how they melt into your mouth with their buttery and salty goodness. Yummmmm.
Definitely give yourself time to make these. My best results come from letting the dough chill at least 12-24 hours. This works well when you don’t have a lot of time: you can make the dough and shape the logs one night, and then bake them the next.
Another quick note: because the recipe calls for a single egg, it’s pretty hard to scale down. My advice if you don’t need 60 shortbread cookies of ANY flavor:
Prepare the dough ahead of time, because it will need to chill for at least 1 hour before you shape the shortbread bites.
Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a bowl. Stir in the pepper and set aside.
Beat butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 mins.
Add egg yolk and beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure an even mixture.
Slow add in the dry ingredients at a medium-low speed.
Fold in the minced olives.
The shortbread dough should be fairly easy to handle, but if it's a little sticky you can dust your hands with flour before handling.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and pat it gently to bring it together.
Divide into two portions and roll them both into logs, about 1.5-inches in diameter. Wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
After chilling your dough logs thoroughly, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or baking silicone.
Remove dough from the fridge, unwrap, and use a sharp knife to slice the bites into rounds, about 1/4-inch thick.
Place the shortbread bites onto the baking sheets, with at least an inch in-between each one.
Chill the full baking sheets in the freezer for 5 minutes (this will help keep them from spreading too much).
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. (If baking two trays at once, make sure you switch the top and bottom trays around half way through the baking time)
Leave the shortbread bites on the baking sheet for 5 minutes to cool and then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.