This French butter cookies recipe, aka Breton butter cookies or sablés, are classic Christmas cookies. Easy, traditional, crispy, crunchy, buttery, salty, homemade loveliness incarnate.
“French butter cookies” may be something of a misnomer if you ask us. Because to emphasize only the butter in these homemade little lovelies from Brittany, or Breton, doesn’t convey the incredibly crisp, crumbly, shortbread-like texture they boast and the sparest lilt of sea salt. If anything, they should be called “ooh la la” cookies. Or maybe simply “we find it impossible to stop noshing them” cookies. Originally published December 7, 2017.–Renee Schettler Rossi
French Butter Cookies
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 2 H, 30 M
- Makes about 20 cookies
Special Equipment: Muffin pans
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
Recipe Testers Reviews
Based on flavor and texture, I would give these French butter cookies a 10. They were fabulous—buttery, slightly sweet, crumbly like shortbread, with crisp edges and softer centers. They were a perfect accompaniment to a cup of hot tea, a blanket, and a good book.
However, the dough gave me some difficulties. I will definitely make them again, as the end result was pretty darn tasty (my tight jeans can attest to that!). I weighed my flour and checked the volume measurements as well. With the sprinkle and sweep method of measuring, I had to add another 1/4 cup flour to get to the 250 grams called for in the recipe. In hindsight, I should've held back on that extra flour. I had to let the dough warm up for about 30 minutes after chilling for it to be soft enough to roll.
The bottoms of my cookies were darker than the picture. The tops looked exactly like the picture. The cookies came out of the pans with just a little help from a table knife.
These French butter cookies were a nice treat. They are almost reminiscent of Lorna Doones, with the rich buttery flavor and a little more crumb.
It was very easy to put the recipe together. The dough after mixing was dry and crumbly. With some manipulation right in the mixing bowl, I was able to get all of the dough pieces together into a ball because of the warmth of my hands. After the dough chilled, it took a few good passes with the rolling pin before it flattened down. The butter softens very quickly.
My yield wound up being more than 20 cookies. I believe it's because I rolled the dough a little thinner than 3/8 inch, which in turn led me to burn the first batch. Because I still had dough left over, I rerolled the rest and made them a little thicker, which was the trick. They came out much lighter and golden brown around the edges. Exactly 20 minutes is the right amount of time to get golden brown edges. It's easy to pop each cookie out of the muffin tin with a small offset spatula.
These cookies were crisp and not too sweet in taste. The recipe did make about 20 cookies. I creamed the sugar and butter until light and creamy, although the recipe did not give specific instructions. The consistency of the dough was soft and slightly gritty, and the dough cleaned the sides of the bowl when it came together. I found that after the 2 hours of resting that the dough needed to be warmed up before rolling as when I tried to work with it straight out of the fridge it cracked up badly.
I did not use the muffin pans suggested as I thought it was an odd why to make the biscuits. I also could not find a rolling pin and so as I struggled to find a suitable bottle to roll the dough I decided to roll the dough into a roll and slice it into rounds and cook them on a flat baking sheet. I baked each batch for 10 minutes at 180°C, until the edges of the biscuits turned a light golden brown. The egg yolk gave a golden shiny top to the biscuits which I felt looked a bit odd, and for the second batch I left them unglazed.