Cacao and Olive Oil Sweet Crackers are delicate, melt-in-your-mouth treats influenced by the famous Spanish sweet pastries, tortas de aceite. These crispy disks are one bowl and easily vegan and gluten-free.
These sweet olive oil and cacao sweet crackers are a tweak of an old tortas de aceite recipe on Food To Glow; it based on ones I have enjoyed with tiny cups of strong coffee in their spiritual home of Andalucia.
Cafe life is very civilised in Spain. 🙂
What are tortas de aceite?
Crisp, delicate and very more-ish, the usual recipe for these sweet crackers is merely flour, water, olive oil, leavening, anise seeds (or fennel seeds), sesame seeds and sugar. Nearly store cupboard then. After mixing these up to a glossy, tawny dough, you roll out pinches of it as thin as you dare, then wash with whipped egg white and sprinkle over a flurry of fine sugar. Baking is quick and hot. Eating is slow and sensuous, the crumbs sticking to your lips and falling on your lap.
Okay, messy, not sensuous. 😉
A delicious update – cacao! aquafaba! bee pollen!
I’ve been making these gorgeous delicate cookies for years and thought they might be ripe for a wee update. I thought, why not use aquafaba instead of the egg white wash? Why not add cacao for an almost savoury note? And wouldn’t tiny golden spheres of bee pollen be a wonderful surprise?
Tick, tick and tick.
I made a few sprinkled with brown sugar, but that is dead-difficult to evenly distribute (you will see some pastries here with flat spots of deep brown where it clumped a bit).
As for the bee pollen, I got some wonderful stuff direct from the producer at a market in Lyon, but domestic, pesticide-free sources can be good, too. Because bee pollen is food for honeybee larvae and worker bees, it is crucial to get yours from a small-scale, trusted supplier – local farmer’s markets are your best bet. Make sure that what you purchase is soft and crumbles between your fingers. The taste should be both earthy and slightly bitter-sweet. It keeps for ages. I love it on porridge and over granola.
I have a strong childhood memory of this taste. Shopping in the 1970s with my mother and sister Julie, we would – as a rare treat – get tiny golden sweet bars containing it at the health food store. Then I didn’t know what I was eating, but when as an adult I tasted bee’s pollen I was instantly transported back to that moment. I remember standing in the murkily-lit shop nibbling at this little golden bar with the bees on the package while my mother picked things up, scrutinised the label, and put them back down again. I may or may not have gotten in trouble for eating before paying.
If you are vegan, or don’t have bee pollen in your pantry, fret not: these light faintly-sweet flatbread cookies are delish without this little touch. As for the aquafaba, of course use egg white if you wish. I have a stash of frozen aquafaba I’m working through and thought (rightly) that whipped chickpea juice would work in this instance.
Another delicious tweak – ice cream sandwich!
And, if you are feeling it, why not smoodge some softened vanilla ice cream between two crackers, pop in the freezer for 15 minutes and basically treat yourself? Wish I’d thought of that before we ate them all! What other tweaks do you think you can make?
Have you ever had tortas de aceite? Have you tried making them?
Spanish Cacao and Olive Oil Flatbread Pastries
Cacao and Olive Oil Flatbread Pastries are delicate, melt-in-your-mouth treats influenced by the famous Spanish sweet crackers, tortas de aceite. These crispy disks are one bowl and easily vegan and gluten-free. And they keep well, too. xx
160 g spelt flour, gluten-free flour blend or all-purpose/plain flour
20g cacao or cocoa powder
1/2 tsp flaky salt, finely crushed after measuring (or 1/4 tsp fine sea salt)
3 tbsp raw or golden caster/super-fine sugar + extra for sprinkling
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted in a hot pan and crushed in pestle & mortar or spice grinder
80ml best “fruity” (rather than peppery) extra virgin olive oil
70ml ice-cold water
Topping: 3 tbsp aquafaba or egg white, whisked to thick foam + 2 tbsp bee pollen*, optional
1. Beat all the biscuit ingredients together until they come together in a shiny mass. Pinch walnut (or smaller) sized pieces and roll individually between cling film or baking paper (I prefer cling film so I can see what I’m doing) as thinly as possible.
2. Peel the top sheet from the biscuit and upend onto a lined baking sheet, carefully peeling away the bottom sheet once the topside is on the tray. It’s not as complicated as it sounds – promise. I usually get about three or four on each tray so you will need to do a number of batches.
3. Brush each uncooked biscuit with foamy aquafaba or egg white and sprinkle generously with sugar and bee pollen, if using. Bake in a 200C/400F oven for 8 minutes. You may need to turn your trays to get even browning.
4. Allow the biscuits to cool for a minute before using a fish slice/spatula to carefully transfer to a cooling rack – they are exceedingly fragile at this stage. Continue with the rest of the dough. These keep well in an airtight container. Makes approximately 15 x 15 cm/6 in tortas. ¡Buena suerta!
*Because bee pollen is food for honeybee larvae and worker bees, it is crucial to get yours from a small-scale, trusted supplier – local farmer’s markets are your best bet. Make sure that what you purchase is soft and crumbles between your fingers. The taste should be both earthy and slightly bitter-sweet. It keeps for ages. I love it on porridge and over granola. Use yours sparingly – and gratefully.
Soft food diet: these are so melt-in-the-mouth that they should be suitable for situations.
RIPE FOR PINNING!