Salted Butter Break-Ups

Salted butter break-up

Why yes, I did choose to post salted butter break-ups for Valentine’s Day. If butter is your true love – as it is mine – this is a great vehicle for it, and one made for sharing.

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I’m all for sharing desserts – and food in general – bringing out a big bar of bashed-up chocolate or pints of gelato with a stack of bowls and spoons for everyone at the table to dig into at their own speed is a great way to finish a meal. You’ve heard of communal tables? This here is a communal cookie. In the Poitou region of France, it’s traditionally served in one big piece, set out in the middle of the table for guests to break off in chunks.

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The dough is blitzed together in the food processor, then rolled out between sheets of parchment, painted with beaten egg yolk (you could colour the yolk with a drop of food colouring for a more dramatic effect) and crosshatched with the tines of a fork.

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If you’re like me, you’ll find this part oddly satisfying.

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The yolk paint makes the surface smooth and glossy and buttery yellow, and you can hear the butter itself sizzling as the cookie comes out of the oven. It’s a perfect dinner party dessert, perhaps served with a bashed-up bar of dark chocolate, ice cream or fruit in season. Thanks once again to Dorie Greenspan – her book Around my French Table is one that will never be purged from my collection.

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Salted Butter Break-Ups


February 14, 2014

Adapted only slightly from Around my French Table by Dorie Greenspan.

  • Makes: Serves 10-15.


1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup sugar

1/2-1 tsp. sea salt (use less if you're using salted butter)

1/2 cup salted or unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces

4-5 Tbsp. cold water

1 egg yolk


1Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Drop in the pieces of butter and pulse the mixture until it looks like coarse meal, with bigger clumps of butter the size of a pea. With the machine running, pour in the cold water gradually, adding just enough to allow the dough to start pulling away from the side of the bowl; if you squeeze it together, it will form a dough. Dump out onto a piece of plastic wrap, pat it down to flatten into a disc, then wrap it in plastic and chill it for about 1 hour, or up to 3 days. (It also freezes for up to 2 months.)

2When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and put the dough between two sheets of parchment. If it's very firm, you may need to bash it a bit with your rolling pin to soften it up. Roll it into a rectangle that’s about 5x11-inches. Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet and peel off the top piece of parchment. Beat the egg yolk with a few drops of cold water and brush the surface all over. With the tines of a fork, decorate the top with a crosshatch pattern.

3Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden. It will be firm to the touch but will have a little spring when pressed in the center — the perfect break-up is crisp on the outside and still tender within. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve it whole on a platter or cutting board, set in the middle of the table.


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10 comments on “Salted Butter Break-Ups

  1. Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    February 14, 2014 at 10:49 am

    One of my favourite recipes from AMFT. I love these dipped in a little chocolate!

  2. Fiona
    February 14, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Would the French be mad if I put sprinkles on top for a sprinkles-loving toddler?

  3. Janel @ Creating Tasty Stories
    February 14, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    I love simple butter cookies. The whole break apart aspect of this recipe makes them even more appealing to me. May make these for a late Valentine’s gift for my family tomorrow.

  4. Erica B.
    February 14, 2014 at 10:48 pm

    Nice! My cookbook shelves are full to bursting…but I’ve wanted AMFT since it came out>

  5. Jules @ WolfItDown
    February 15, 2014 at 3:28 am

    This looks heavenly Julie!
    I know exactly what you mean by “breaking bread” (or biscuits!) with people you care about, there is something so symbolic about it. I love the way people come together, pass it around, break off pieces for others, or pass it carefully over, mmmm 🙂
    I hope you had a lovely day of hearts 🙂 x

  6. Julie
    February 15, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Love it all!

  7. Kate
    February 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

    The egg wash and cross-hatching is so pretty. I like the darker edges. Shortbread is often under baked for my optimum enjoyment. These look perfect!

  8. Robyn
    February 16, 2014 at 11:28 am

    salted butter is my true love TOO!

  9. Kristin
    February 18, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I absolutely adore the story behind this cookie. I can’t wait to make my own!

  10. South Park The Stick Of Truth Crack
    March 13, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Now, it’s time to go explore the wonderful city of South Park that you have come to know,
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    The biggest is being able to play as four different classes.
    There are no quest generations, and grinding isn’t much of an option in this game because there are not a ton of
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