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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Posted on 18 March 2011, in Baking, French Fridays with Dorie and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Yours turned out just like the photo in the book! Looks fantastic!

  2. The pattern really shines on your break-ups! I felt the same way about the salt. I think I am going to increase it the next time. Great idea about using Plugra for this recipe!

  3. Looks enticing. Two things I’m supposed to be staying away from – flour and butter – sigh. But somehow I think the name needs a makeover. Break-ups doesn’t quite make it.

    • @April – For those who didn’t make this recipe, I should have mentioned that you make the cookie in one big piece and the eaters break off pieces (hence the name break-ups). In my case, after it cooled, I broke it up into smaller pieces that would fit in a tin.

  4. That looks so beautiful I wouldn’t want to break it up and
    eat it. You make it sound so easy, I’m going to have to give it a
    try.

  5. Yours looks so lovely! I agree easy and delicious!

  6. I agree…yours looks just like Dorie’s! Nice work. Lucky find on the sel gris in your cupboard. Wonder what else is hiding in there?

  7. Ah – I am so glad to hear that I am not the only person who collects random ingredients for future use. Thank you for making me fill a little more sane!

  8. Your cookie looks really good! I wish I was more creative in jazzing up recipes. Great post!

  9. I’m still playing catchup, so I made the bread this week :) Yours look fantastic… so looking fwd to making this now.

  10. I’m the same with hard to source ingredients too! I just buy them when I see them and of course they come in handy pretty soon.

  11. Wow, that top photo is gorgeous!!! Love the glaze and your crosshatching :)

  12. hi. your corned beef looked yummy & i imagine was delicious. i mde a strawberry shortbread bar today. it was easy & delicious although i only tasted a little piece after ibaked it. it is supposed to cool in refrig before cutting. iplan to serve it tomorrow for company. love to all, helyn

  13. Yumm… the photo of your cookie makes me want to eat it
    all over again!

  14. Your cookie came out perfectly, Betsy. I have to agree with you, I often buy ingredients ‘just in case’… no fleur de sel/sel gris for me though. :-(

  15. Your crosshatching is perfect …I’m impressed…and your giant cookie looks great. It was nice to have a simple recipe this week…and one that was so much fun.

  16. Betsy, yours look wonderful! I couldn’t agree more, the simplest things are always the best. I would definitely use Plugra next go around, as the butter is really the star of the show. Nicely done!

  17. I like the diamond-shaped pattern on your cookie. I am going to think of a different way to accomplish the perfect lines next time:)
    This was an enjoyable treat, and oh, so easy to make.

  18. Hi, Betsy,
    The flavor reminded me of something I haven’t been able to put my finger on, too. But, I totally agree – worth the effort. Your scoring looks perfect!

  19. I agree, the parts where I didn’t add cinnamon + salt on top tasted not quite salty enough and the salt was that extra flavor kicker so, I will definitely add more next time! Also chiming in to say that your scoring looks picture perfect.
    – K

  20. I pick up ingredients that I read about too! French gray salt is one of those and I use it all the time. Your cookie looks great and I agree that it needed more salt and would probably be better with a high quality butter.

  21. I only used the Himalayn pink salt on the cookie tops. The crystals are so large I’m not sure how they would work in the cookie dough. The large crystals retained some of their crunch on top though and were excellent! I want to try sel gris, though; if I can find it for under $15!

  22. Hey hey DORISTA!!! lol. Lookin’ good! Isn’t it funny how we all pretty much universally believe that this cookie needs more salt? In my second batch I added 50% more and it was perfect. A light sprinkle on top made this cookie according to my work crew. I just wonder how ole Dor missed this. Oh well. We have it now and I’ll bet many of us Doristas will make this one many times…with more salt.

  23. Loved your photos- the composition of your ingredient shot made me think of how much I enjoy the whole “getting my stuff out” process. And totally agree on picking up new interesting ingredients- don’t think I have ever been called to use some of these items as much as I have for FF’s. I actually think I picked up my own salt at TJMAxx. I am a sucker for a pretty label/container. How refreshing to actually use it :)

  24. The cookie wasn’t as salty as I expected either. I didn’t have sel gris though, so I used a gray celtic sea salt. The granules were probably too fine. Still, I also loved the simplicity of this cookie. The pattern on yours looks beautiful!

  25. Dorista’s Unite! Love that you’ve used the term as well. Wish I’d thought to reference back to Sis.boom.blog! Will next time. Love your pix!

  26. Yours looks perfect, just like Dorie’s!

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