These Sablé Breton Cookies, aka French Salted Butter Cookies, are the most delicious crumbly, melt-in-your mouth cookies you will ever try… and they are super easy to make!
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If you are looking for super crunchy or really fudgy cookies, passez-votre chemin (keep looking); these traditional French Cookies are neither of those. Instead, they are deliciously crumbly and melt in your mouth instantly. Yes, thank you BUTTER! My (Australian) husband reaction to these cookies was: “that’s funny, they are actually crumbly on the outside, but soft on the inside“. Well, that was the goal exactly… The Americans have their Chocolate Chips Cookies, the Brits the scones, the Aussies the ANZAC biscuits and the French… the Sablé Breton!
What is a Sablé Breton?
You may have never heard of them, but the Sablés Bretons are high up there on the list of famous, classic French Pastry recipes. They are simple, easy to make and absolutely delicious traditional French Salted Butter Cookie. If you are familiar with French Pastry, you will have recognised the word Sablé that is also used in Pâte Sablée – the famous Tart and Pie Shortcrust Pastry. Yes, it is the same word.
In French, Sablé means Sandy and Breton refers to the North-West region of Brittany – known for its delicious, high quality Salted Butter. So they literally mean Sandy Cookies from Brittany! As their name indicates, these little butter cookies are the most delicious flaky, crumbly, melt-in-your mouth treats. These pastries are also super versatile. They can be used in many different ways other than as simple cookies. You can use Sablé Breton as the base for cakes, like I did in my Lemon Meringue Cake recipe, or as the pastry for fresh fruit tarts for example.
French Butter Cookies
Like always when it comes to baking, the quality of the ingredients is extremely important. In our case here, even more so as the butter is what brings flavour to these cookies. You can make this recipe with Unsalted Butter, but the traditional way to make these cookies is by using Salted Butter. The Salt is essential to balance the rich flavour of the butter – so if you are to use unsalted butter, I would recommend to add about 1/2 teaspoon of Salt to the recipe.
If you can find some Salted Butter from France to make this recipe – great! But do not worry; you can also make it with salted butter you will find in your local supermarket. Just make sure you get the best quality Butter you can find. It will really make a difference here where butter is what brings the flavours.
The best Sablés Recipe
This recipe is adapted from my favourite cookbook ever, “French Patisserie” by Ferrandi School of Culinary Arts in Paris. To make these cookies, you will need:
- High Quality Salted Butter
- Egg Yolks
- Confectioner’s Sugar (or powdered sugar – not to be confused with icing sugar that has added starch in it)
- Plain Flour
- Baking Powder
You can make these cookies by hand with a silicone spatula and whisk, or simply use your stand mixer. You will also need a Rolling Pin, some Baking Paper (parchment paper), a round Cookie Cutter and a large Baking Tray.
There are two ways of making these traditional cookies. Some recipe will tell you to cream the butter and sugar first, before adding the egg yolks. This recipe follows the Ferrandi School technique and works slightly differently:
- First, whisk the Egg Yolks and Sugar until foamy and lighter in colour.
- Only then, add the very soft Salted Butter and whisk it in to get a thick, rich paste.
- Finally, sift in your dry ingredients: Flour and a little bit of Baking Powder
Check out the recipe for these Salted Butter Sablés Cookies:
Sablé Breton Cookies
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 30 (1/4 cup) gr Confectioner's Sugar (or Powdered Sugar)
- 100 (1/2 cup) gr Salted Butter, soft
- 175 (1 1/4 cup) gr Plain Flour
- 1/2 teasp. Baking Powder
- Take the butter out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before starting the recipe and pre-cut it into small cubes. The butter needs to be very soft, but not melted.
- Preheat your oven on 160'C/325'F. Prepare a baking tray lined with a baking mat or parchment paper.
- Seperate your Egg Yolks and Whites. Keep the Egg Whites in the fridge for another recipe.Place the Yolks and Confectioner's Sugar in the bowl of your mixer and whisk until foamy and lighter in colour.
- Add your soft Salted Butter, and whisk until combined. You should get a thick paste - don't over-beat it or the butter will start to melt.
- Sift and stir in the Plain Flour and Baking Powder. Stop as soon as the dough comes together.
- Prepare 2 sheets of baking paper. Place one on your working bench, very lightly floured. Transfer the cookie dough onto the sheet, sprinkle with a little bit of flour and cover with the second sheet. Using a rolling pin, gently press and stretch the dough to flatten it (about 0.5cm to 1 cm / 0.2inch to 0.4 thick).
- Remove the top baking paper sheet and cut out the cookies, using a round cookie cutter (width of your choice - mine were about 6 cm / 2,5 inch wide).
- Place the cut cookies on your baking tray, leaving a little bit of space in between each cookies. Use the back of a fork to create the cross pattern (if the fork sticks to the cookie, dip it in a little bit of water).Repeat the process with any extra dough left. If the dough starts to become really soft, place in the fridge for a few minutes to harden.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, then carefully place the cookies on a cooling rack until completely cool. Keep in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
Interested in learning more about French Pastry?
Check out these traditional French Recipes: