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French Salted Butter Biscuits (Palets Bretons)

5

Put just a few good quality basic ingredients together – salted butter, sugar, egg yolks, flour and baking powder – and what do you get? Irresistible Palets Bretons, French popular buttery cookies or biscuits from Brittany, so easy to make! It’s also a classic base used for making many kinds of French patisseries.

Palets bretons biscuits with salt

What are the Most Popular Cookies in France?

These delicious sweet yet salty butter biscuits (cookies) are most popular in French homes? Why? As they’re not generally found in patisseries around Paris, you’ll find them in the cookie aisles of sweet munchies in French supermarkets.

However, let me warn you: once you make them, you’ll not want to buy the regular brands again.

palets bretons french butter biscuits

Sablés Bretons and Palets: What’s the Difference?

Very like Sablés Bretons, which are a thinner and shiny salted biscuit/cookie resembling shortbread (Sablé means sand in French, referring to the crumb-like texture of the dough), Palets Bretons (meaning Breton disks or flat stones) are much thicker, airy and lightly crispy.

To make Sablés Bretons, just cut them thinner and reduce the baking time.

Palets Bretons French Butter Biscuits

What Butter is Best to Use for Palets Bretons?


Perfect with an afternoon cup of tea, the best part is that Palets Bretons are not that sweet since they contain a large amount (about 20%) of the famous Breton salted butter from the North coast of France. This is what makes them compulsive eating!

Ideally, use good quality salted butter from Brittany for this recipe but – as this isn’t always easy to find outside of France – use unsalted butter and add good quality salt from Brittany such as fleur de sel from the Guérande, so that the resulting taste is more authentic.

How to Make French Salted Butter Biscuits

Many French chefs tell you to roll out the dough between two baking sheets, cut out circles using cookie cutters and bake them directly in pastry rings. As I’m making them at home and don’t have that many pastry rings (who does?), I find it so much quicker and easier to roll out the dough into a sausage shape and bake them in muffin moulds.

This recipe makes enough for about 10 large Palets Breton biscuits using regular muffin moulds (at 156 calories per large biscuit). I love making these mini versions (using mini muffin moulds) but if you prefer the bigger version, then just double the recipe quantity below -the dough also freezes well up to a month in its sausage shape. Defrost in the fridge before use and cut to size for the rest of the recipe.

how to make salted butter biscuits

How to make Palets Bretons: roll the dough into a sausage, chill, then press into unbuttered muffin moulds

recipe for French thick butter cookies or Palets Bretons

Leave to cool and turn out the thick biscuits on a cooling rack

Your Oven and Over-Baked ‘Bitter’ Biscuits

Just a quick word: be careful not to over-bake them.  You know your own oven best: all recipes stating oven temperatures are there as a guide. So if after 15 minutes your Palets Bretons already look golden brown, then they’re ready. If you’re not sure about your ovens and temperatures, then check yours out with an oven thermometer, just to make sure it’s doing what it says it’s doing.

If they’re dark brown, then they’re over-baked and could even taste a bit bitter.  In fact, they’ll no longer be French Salted Butter Biscuits but Bitter Biscuits!

Palets-Bretons-Biscuit-Base

How to Serve Palets Bretons?

I know you may be tempted to add vanilla, cinnamon, or lemon zest – but there’s nothing to beat enjoying Palets Bretons plain to enjoy their irresistible, salty and buttery addictiveness.

Somehow, the word ‘plain’ doesn’t do them justice! Taste them for yourself and tell me in the comments below how you prefer them.

What’s more, you’ll find them disguised in French patisseries, or served in restaurants as a dessert – presented as a base and topped with pastry cream and fresh berries. Think creamy strawberry cakes, topped with chocolate, or crunchy nougatine. Over to your imagination!

Conversely, salted butter biscuits are also found decorating popular desserts such as crème caramel.

Palets Bretons Chocolate Easter

Ideas for French Butter Biscuit Toppings

This is also a handy biscuit recipe to have up your sleeve. That’s because it serves as a base for many chic yet easy French desserts like cheesecake, mousse or even if it’s just a topping of pastry cream and fresh strawberries.

  • Here I piped on some pistachio pastry cream, taken from my recipe book, Teatime in Paris. Many of the cream variations are good: e.g. coffee, hazelnut and chocolate;
  • A blob of chocolate ganache (or chocolate spread if you don’t have time) would also be perfect with the salt and sweet – especially for Easter: stick on some mini Easter eggs, edible flowers, raspberries – let your imagination go mad;
  • As this is part of the egg yolk recipe collection, USE UP THE EGG WHITES to make this Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse (and macarons, of course!)?
  • Top with crunchy yet soft nougatine – I saw this in a Parisian pâtisserie. Great idea, as the salty biscuit goes heavenly with the nuts;
  • A simple dollop of Chantilly cream or even crème frâiche with strawberries on top will be simply and utterly delicious.

Egg Yolk Recipe Using 2 or 4 Yolks

For those of you who love to make macarons, macaron trifles, meringues, financier cakes, tuiles, etc. you need just egg whites. This recipe uses 2 egg yolks (or 4 yolks if you make a bigger batch of larger biscuits), so is ideal to make if you’re planning to make any of them later.

See more in the egg yolk recipe database in the index.

Palets Bretons French Biscuits

More Easy French Teacakes & Biscuits

Enjoy many more quick and easy French teatime recipes in the first chapter of my second book, Teatime in Paris!

You’ll find Financier teacakes (including gluten-free chocolate hazelnut), chocolate-filled Tigrés, Madeleines, Diamond biscuits, almond Tuiles, Canelés, Coconut macaroons … and that’s just part of the FIRST chapter, out of 6 main French pastry types.

Palets Bretons French Butter Biscuits

Palets bretons biscuits with salt
5 from 8 votes

Palets Bretons - French Salted Butter Biscuits from Brittany

Author: Jill Colonna
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course : Dessert, Snack, teatime
Cuisine : French
Keyword : Salted butter biscuits,, palets bretons, French butter cookies
Servings : 20 Mini biscuits
Calories : 78kcal

Description

Easy French recipe for the best salted, buttery biscuit (cookie) bases using just 6 easy-to-find ingredients and ideas for toppings

Ingredients

  • 90 g (3oz) butter (unsalted)* at room temperature
  • 75 g (2.5oz) sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt (fleur de sel) omit if using good quality French salted butter
  • 2 egg yolks organic
  • 125 g (4oz) Plain flour (all-purpose)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Express Strawberry Tartlet Topping

  • strawberries or wild strawberries
  • 200 ml (7fl oz) whipping cream (30% fat) chilled

Instructions

  • Using a mixer, beat together the softened butter, sugar and salt until light and creamy.  Mix in the egg yolks then the flour and baking powder until a lovely soft dough forms. (If you don’t have a mixer or electric whisk, this can be done by hand in a large bowl).
  • Using the palm of your hands, roll the dough back and forward to create a sausage shape until the diameter is the size of your moulds (here I used mini muffin silicone moulds @5cm diameter). Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C fan (gas mark 4)
  • Cut disks of 1.5cm (3/4 inch) and press them into the muffin moulds (unbuttered – there’s enough butter in the biscuits!)
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Leave to cool in the moulds then turn them out on to a baking rack, pretty side up.

Express Mini Strawberry Tartlets

  • Whip the cream in a chilled bowl until thickened and top with a strawberry or a few wild strawberries.

Notes

* As finding good quality salted butter from Brittany is difficult to find outside of France, I make this recipe using unsalted butter and add good quality 'fleur de sel' from the Guérande.
Delicious on their own with a cup of tea (such as Jasmine green tea or Ceylon).
Also delicious topped with chocolate ganache, chocolate mousse, lemon curd, or Chantilly cream and strawberries.

Have you made and enjoyed this recipe? Please leave a rated review below. It means so much for your support.

For more easy dishes that we make ‘en famille’, see our family’s favourite French Classic recipes.

This recipe was originally published 10 April 2016. Now updated to include a recipe video, a printable recipe card and used the recipe as a base for many additional toppings as is done in many French patisseries. 

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Comments (13)

5 stars
Great recipe. It works wonders as a base for a lemon pie with or without meringue.

Thanks, Christophe. Of course! I forgot lemon pie – this would be fantastic as a base. Thanks for adding your delicious thoughts!

5 stars
They look absolutely brilliant, and I can almost taste that French butter in them! OMG, if only I could use such good French butter in all my baking! Kerrygold will have to do! Have to try these, soon! Thanks for another fab recipe!

Thanks Christina – good to know that Kerrygold is a good bet in the USA.

5 stars
Thanks for posting this recipe Jill – we have used your previous one and love it. Works every time and quick to make a batch. It’s a while since we made them so thanks for the reminder – I’ll bake them tomorrow or the kids will. Great photos. Happy Easter to you!

Thanks Jenny – glad you’ll have a printable recipe for the family now. Happy Easter to you too and enjoy them.