This French butter cookies recipe, aka Breton butter cookies or sablés, are easy, traditional, crispy, crunchy, buttery, salty, homemade loveliness incarnate.
French butter cookies may be something of a misnomer. Because to emphasize only the butter in these homemade little lovelies from Brittany, or Breton, doesn’t convey the incredibly crisp, crumbly texture and the sparest lilt of sea salt. If anything, they should be called “ooh la la” cookies. Or simply “we find it impossible to stop noshing them” cookies.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Special Equipment: Muffin pans
French Butter Cookies
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 2 H, 30 M
- Makes about 20 cookies
- 10 tablespoons (5 ounces or 150 grams) butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 pinches fine sea salt
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 large egg yolks
- 1. Mix the butter with the sugar and salt in a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric mixer. Gradually add the flour and baking powder with the mixer still running. Stop the mixer, add 2 egg yolks, and ever so briefly knead the mixture into a ball as quickly as possible, working right in the bowl if desired. (If you knead the cookie dough too long, the cookies will become dense and tough and lose their ethereally airy quality.) Beware that the dough will be quite dry and crumbly, but that’s okay, you just need it to cling together when pressed. Gently wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
- 2. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- 3. Roll the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper until it measures 3/8 inch (1 centimeter) thick. (It may be necessary to let the dough rest at room temperature for up to 30 minutes until it’s soft enough to roll.) Peel off the top layer of parchment and, using a biscuit or cookie cutter, cut out circles about 2 inches (5 1/2 centimeters) in diameter and place one in the bottom of each cup of the nonstick muffin pans. You should have about 20 cookies. (If you don’t have enough muffin pans to bake all the cookies at once, simply slide the parchment and the cookie dough onto a baking sheet and refrigerate.)
- 4. Beat the remaining egg yolk with a little water and brush it over the pastry circles in the muffin pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
- 5. Remove from the oven, then let cool a little in the muffin pan before turning out and cooling completely on wire racks. (If you’re baking the cookies in batches, keep the dough refrigerated until the muffin pans have cooled to room temperature.) The cookies will keep for up to 3 days in a resealable container.