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, the popular French salted butter biscuit or cookie from Brittany.
Enjoy them plain as they are for teatime or dress them up to celebrate Spring.Jump to Recipe
This recipe was originally published 10 April 2016. As it’s one of the most popular recipes on Mad About Macarons’ website, I have updated it to include a better, printable recipe card, additional ideas and a video.
Homemade Palet Breton Recipe
These delicious sweet-yet-salty butter biscuits (cookies) may not be found easily in patisseries in and around Paris these days – but I guarantee you’ll find them lining the aisles of sweet munchies in French supermarkets. But let me warn you: once you make them, you’ll not want to buy the regular brands again.
You will, however, find them disguised in French patisseries.
Pastry chefs often use Palets Bretons as a base for individual creamy strawberry cakes, topped with chocolate or crunchy nougat, for example.
Chocolate toppings are the best during Easter – think of all the possibilities you could make!
If you’ve made them already, please do leave me a comment below and tell me how you like them – plain or decadent for a tea party.
Sablés and Palets Bretons: What’s the Difference?
Very like Sablés Bretons, Palets Bretons (meaning “Breton disks”) are much thicker, airy and lightly crispy.
Sablés Bretons are thinner and are a shiny salted biscuit/cookie resembling shortbread. Sablé means sand in French, referring to the crumb-like texture of the dough.
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 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.
Ideas for Palets Bretons Biscuit Toppings
This is also a handy French recipe to have up your sleeve as it serves as a base for many chic yet easy 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 nougatine – I saw a Parisian pastry shop carry this in their window – great idea, as the salty biscuit goes heavenly with the nuts. Get the easiest French nougatine recipe here;
- A simple dollop of Chantilly cream or even crème frâiche with a strawberry on top will be simply and utterly delicious.
How to Make Palets Bretons – or 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.
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!
Egg Yolk Recipe
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.
Don’t forget that there’s an egg yolk recipe database for you on the website, searchable by number of egg yolks!
Best Buttery French Teacakes & Biscuits
Love buttery French teacakes and biscuits like these Palets Bretons? Enjoy similar, 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.
Easy French recipe for the best buttery, salted cookies using just 6 easy-to-find ingredients and ideas for teatime toppings
- 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
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.
* 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).
They’re also ideal as a base for easy French individual desserts. For example, top with Chantilly cream, chocolate ganache, chocolate mousse, lemon curd, or French pastry cream and strawberries.