Daily Archives: 18 March 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Salted Butter Break-Ups

Sometimes, the best things are the simplest things. I think that applies to Salted Butter Break-Ups, this week’s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie.

The ingredient list is very short, just flour, sugar, butter, salt, and ice water. The steps were easy. You pulse the dry ingredients together in the food processor, cut in the butter, and then add the ice water until the dough binds into a ball. After a chilling, you roll out the dough, decorate and bake. I put it together one morning and rolled it out the next evening. The most complicated (and most fun) part was decorating with egg wash and pulling the tines of a fork through the dough. It looked très élégant.

The recipe itself was reminiscent of a pâte brisée, with a lot more sugar and salt. Special salt was called for, French sel gris (gray salt) which, I miraculously had in my pantry. I am obsessed with food. Consequently, I collect ingredients that I don’t have an immediate need for. Often, soon I’ve noticed an unusual or unfamiliar ingredient while browsing recipes, I’ll spot it at a store and can’t resist buying it “just in case”. That must have happened with the French gray sea salt.

I am a big fan of shortbread. The Butter Break-Ups were similar to shortbread, yet not exactly. They reminded me a little of Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies, which, for store-bought cookies, aren’t bad. Of course, these were better.

I expected the salt flavor to come through a little more than it did. The recipe gave a low and high measurement for the salt. I went with the high measurement, but I might increase that next time. Butter is the prevalent flavor, so my other thought is to use one of those fancy butters, like Plugra, because its richness would really shine in this recipe.

I enjoyed these cookies. They definitely resulted in a high payoff for low effort. As I said, the simplest things are often best!

Even with this simple recipe, I know my fellow Doristas (term coined by Trevor at Sis. Boom. [Blog!]) will have creatively tweaked their Salted Butter Break-Ups. I can’t wait to read about their ideas. Check it out for yourself by following their links at French Fridays with Dorie. We don’t post the recipes, but consider getting your own copy of the book, Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. It’s a winner.

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