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Palets Bretons: French Salted Butter Biscuits

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.

Palets Bretons

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. I have also added ideas for toppings – let’s dress them up to celebrate Spring with teatime at home. 

See the video

click HERE

 

Palets Bretons Recipe

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.

Palets Bretons French Butter Biscuits

Pastry chefs often use Palets Bretons as a base for individual creamy strawberry cakes, topped with chocolate or crunchy nougat, for example.

Palets Bretons Chocolate Easter Eggs

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.

Palets Bretons Recipe

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.

Palets Bretons Chocolate Easter

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.

Palets Bretons French Biscuits

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

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.

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!

Palets Bretons French Butter Biscuits

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.

 

5 from 7 votes
Palets Bretons - Salted French Butter Biscuits from Brittany
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Easy French recipe for the best buttery, salted cookies using just 6 easy-to-find ingredients and ideas for teatime toppings

Course: Dessert, Snack, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French butter cookies, palets bretons, Salted butter biscuits,
Servings: 20 Mini biscuits
Calories: 78 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
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
Instructions
  1. 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).

  2. 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.

  3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 180°C/360°F/160°C fan (gas mark 4)

  4. Cut disks of 1.5cm (3/4 inch) and press them into the muffin moulds (unbuttered – there’s enough butter in the biscuits!)

  5. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

  6. Leave to cool in the moulds then turn them out on to a baking rack.

Recipe 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).
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.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Palets Bretons French Butter Biscuits

Chocolate Coconut Granola (Vegan)

There’s nothing more cereal-ously satisfying to know that many of you still enjoy making this maple granola for your breakfasts.  For chocolate and coconut lovers, I’ve now taken it to a nutty, new level. Make way for a bowl of healthy dark Chocolate Coconut Granola with juicy dried cranberries, toasted brazil nuts and seeds. What’s more, it just so happens to be vegan.

chocolate coconut vegan granola

Healthy Chocolate Coconut Granola

No Added Sugar

You may know I have a sweet tooth – but not THAT sweet. Too much sugar can totally kill a dessert or a macaron filling overloaded with it. Likewise, for breakfast, I prefer sugar kept to the minimum.

When it comes to granola, the beauty of making homemade is you can control this.  By adding natural sugars via healthy, dried fruits and maple syrup, there is NO ADDED SUGAR. Add the dried fruits after baking so that the juicy fruit retains all of its healthy nutrients.

chocolate coconut granola vegan

Gluten Free

If necessary, please do ensure your oats are specifically labelled as being GLUTEN FREE if you follow a strict diet or you are Celiac.

Vegan

If you are following a strict vegan diet, use vegan dark chocolate for the recipe. Good quality chocolate chips are good, as are dark chocolate chips. If you’re not following a vegan diet, however, you may prefer to use milk chocolate which will work well.

Good Quality Chocolate

The secret is adding the chocolate after baking – so that it melts into the hot cereal.  As soon as the chocolate melts, stir the granola around again to mix it well together.

Nuts & Seeds

Brazil nuts are particularly good for selenium (great for memory). Just 2 brazil nuts a day will have you covered – just don’t forget to buy them!  Sesame seeds (and poppy seeds if you’d like to add these too) are good natural sources of calcium. All this makes for a HEALTHY THYROID too – and, if you’re like me without one, great for staying healthy.

 

Dark chocolate coconut granola

 

Chocolate Coconut Granola (Vegan)

5 from 4 votes
chocolate coconut granola vegan
Chocolate Coconut Granola
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 15 mins
 

Homemade dark chocolate Granola with coconut, brazil nuts, cranberries and sesame seeds make this one of the best ways to go vegan

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: chocolate granola, granola, vegan granola
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 280 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 300 g (10.5oz) jumbo oats (if on a strict GF diet, ensure they're labelled gluten free)
  • 100 g (3.5oz) brazil nuts roughly chopped
  • 50 g (2oz) sunflower seeds
  • 25 g (1oz) sesame seeds
  • 50 g (2oz) dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla powder (or a few drops vanilla extract)
  • pinch salt
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Van Houten)
  • 75 g (3oz) coconut oil melted if in a block
  • 125 g (4.5oz) maple syrup
To add after baking:
  • 100 g (3.5oz) dried cranberries
  • 140 g (5oz) dark chocolate chips or drops (Vegan if necessary)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (Gas 4).

  2. Using a digital scale, measure all the ingredients (except the chocolate and dried fruits) in a large bowl and stir to mix them all well together.

  3. Cover a baking tray with baking paper (or a silicone mat). Spread out the oat mixture evenly. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, turn over the mixture and return to the oven for a further 20-25 minutes.

  4. Immediately sprinkle over the chocolate chips/drops and the dried fruits. After about 10 minutes, turn over the granola to mix in the partially melted chocolate and juicy dried fruits. Leave to cool and for the chocolate to set.

Recipe Notes

Store in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy at its best within 10 days.

Serve with almond milk, fresh berries or with homemade rhubarb compote for a vegan breakfast or any of your favourite vegan accompaniments.
Otherwise enjoy with yoghurt, milk or Skyr (we're seeing this appearing from Iceland in French supermarkets all of a sudden - it's great!)

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Chocolate coconut granola vegan

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding

With winter thankfully fast disappearing around Paris, it’s about time I posted my favourite comfort-food dessert recipe, known affectionately in our family as S.T.P. or Sticky Toffee Pudding. Except I make this with a grated apple twist to the classic into a Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding – just to add a little extra fruit to the decadent luscious toffee scrumptiousness!

sticky toffee apple pudding dessert

Why haven’t I posted this before? It goes against my Frenchie-style eating habits: I love dessert but shy away from over-sugared filling puddings.  This is the one exception – and the version below is my final answer to this most delicious dilemma called Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome.

Another reason? I already have a version of it in my first cookbook. For some fun, I converted the Sticky Toffee Pudding into a macaron for Mad About Macarons – making it an entirely gluten-free version.  I also made them into a giant macaron dessert for the book’s macaron dessert chapter, a kind of Xtra Large S.T.P. macaron!

Funnily enough, some American critics initially thought that S.T.P. was a “bit too British” for a macaron book – but little did they know that the recipe for sticky toffee pudding may well have originated in Canada, just like my Scottish Granny’s Matrimonial Cake (oaty date squares).

Sticky toffee pudding #macarons #glutenfree

As a youngter, my parents would often drive my wee brother and I down to the Lake District. It didn’t take us long to discover THE highlight of any of our trips there: we’d make a mandatory stop at the legendary Cartmel Village Shop for a S.T.P. dose from their “Home of Sticky Toffee”.
I distinctly remember the difference over many other sticky toffee puddings we tried in Scotland: it was distinctly dark and lush, covered in the darkest ever toffee sauce.

Living in France has meant the necessity of making this at home, as it’s not something we can just run out to our local pâtisserie or boulangerie and find – so this Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding was created along the way. It’s often requested by my beau-père, Jean-Pierre, who’s accent is adorable: can we have more of that steeecky toafee pood-eeeng?

Well, here it is, beau-papa.

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding

sticky toffee apple pudding #dessertlove #puddings

There are two ways of making this recipe:

Normally it’s made as a flat cake, batter sitting (nearly floating) on top of a pool of toffee sauce in a buttered ovenproof pie or gratin dish and serve spooned into pudding bowls or – in this case – teacups, inspired by Carina Contini’s family recipe for Sticky Ginger & Date Pudding in her Kitchen Garden Cookbook.

I adapted the recipe, cutting down slightly on the butter and sugar and added apple, since my Granny always mixed dates with apple – it’s a deliciously nostalgic thing I can’t help continuing.

sticky toffee apple pudding #puddings #dessertrecipes #stickytoffee

Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome

If you’ve been smitten with this pudding, you’ll totally understand. The cake version has one HUGE problem: we normally have at least second portions and it can get out of control. It’s what we call the Sticky Toffee Pudding Syndrome. So, to avoid such sticky toffee impulses, my preferred method is to pour the batter into individual silicone moulds. It’s just enough. Full. Stop.

Moreover, they’re so easy to freeze when removed from their silicone moulds and reheat when needed – making them so handy to serve stress-free for a dinner party later!

sticky toffee apple pudding

We eat half and freeze the rest before anyone can ask for more.

No second portions – unless you want a sticky toffee pudding macaron?

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding Recipe

sticky toffee apple pudding sauce recipe

Firstly, make the sticky toffee sauce: you’ll need this not just for pouring when it’s served, but also for pouring underneath the batter to make the cakes beautifully sticky.

In order to get the best, dark sauce, use soft dark muscovado sugar. If you can’t find this in speciality épiceries in France, then use Vergeoise Brun.

sticky toffee apple pudding method

Prepare the date paste adding water, bicarbonate of soda and grate in a peeled apple. Make the batter and fold in the date and apple mixture.

sticky toffee apple pudding recipe method

Pour in the toffee sauce to about 1/4 of the way then top with the batter, leaving 1/3 space at the top for the cake batter to rise. Bake for about 30 minutes and serve with the toffee sauce. That’s it!

sticky toffee apple pudding #dessertrecipes #bestofbritish #classicpuddings

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Cooling Time
10 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

An apple addition to the lush Sticky Toffee Pudding classic recipe, served individually in a pool of the darkest toffee sauce. The puddings and sauce also freeze extremely well. Just reheat them separately and serve when you need a dose of Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding! I use briochette or muffin silicone moulds, but traditional buttered dariole moulds are also good.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British, Canadian
Keyword: date pudding, sticky toffee pudding, toffee sauce
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 450 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Sticky Toffee Sauce:
  • 175 g (6oz) butter, unsalted
  • pinch salt fleur de sel
  • 250 g (9oz) dark Muscovado sugar Vergeoise Brun or soft dark brown sugar
  • 225 g (8oz) whipping cream (30% fat)
Pudding Batter:
  • 175 g (6oz) pitted dates roughly chopped
  • 175 ml (6fl oz) water
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 apple (e.g. Granny Smith) peeled & grated
  • 75 g (3oz) butter, unsalted
  • 110 g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar (Muscovado)
  • 2 eggs organic
  • 150 g (5.5oz) plain flour (all purpose)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (no need if use self-raising flour above)
  • 1 tsp ground ginger optional
Instructions
Sticky Toffee Sauce:
  1. Melt the butter, sugar and cream in a large saucepan over medium heat, then once dissolved, turn down the heat to low and stir occasionally until the sauce becomes smooth and glossy. Set aside to cool.

Pudding Batter:
  1. In a saucepan, cover the dates with the water and bring to the boil. Add the baking soda then mash until a smooth paste. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then stir in the grated apple until well combined.

  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas 4.

    Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl or in a large stand-mixer until pale and creamy. Gradually beat in the eggs, flour and ginger (if using). Fold in the date and apple mixture until mixed together.

  3. Pour 1/4 of the sauce into the bottom of each silicone mould (or into a buttered gratin dish if you prefer the cake-like version). Top with the batter until 1/3 from the top, giving enough room for the batter to rise. Bake for 30 minutes.

  4. Remove from the moulds after 5 minutes cooling and place directly on serving dishes. Reheat the toffee sauce and pour over each pudding. 

Recipe Notes

The puddings and sauce freeze well. Once the puddings are cooled, chill then transfer to a zip-lock bag or containers - likewise for the sauce.  Just defrost and reheat before serving.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

sticky toffee apple #pudding #desserttable #bestofbritish #stickytoffeepudding

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Lucie squealed when she saw this chocolate banana marble cake peeking out from the aluminium foil in the kitchen. I squealed since that bottom layer wasn’t very marbled and the top was a bit too browned – but hey, nobody’s perfect.

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

To see the marble effect, of course, someone had already cut a few slices before the ‘official opening’. By the opening, you’ll understand what I mean if you want to photograph a whole cake for a blog or book before it’s attacked.

Really, the girls think I’m some kind of expert French police detective but it doesn’t take much to notice when a squirrel has sneaked off with the hidden edibles in the kitchen, does it?

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Marble Cake

To create a marble or swirl effect like a tiger (hence its other names) divide up the batter towards the end, layer each ten make zig-zags with a fork from one end to the other – or swirl a couple of times in a figure 8 with a skewer.

Although, in this case, you could say it’s a chocolate banana cake that’s lost its marble!

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Normally we enjoy this for breakfast with a typical large French bowl of coffee to accompany it and take our time. However, this chocolate banana marble cake is also delicious coated in a fudgy dark chocolate glaze for teatime.

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Chocolate Cake Glaze Festive Decor

If you have any chocolate macaron shells handy, then stick them on top for a soft yet almond crunch. To create an instant holiday decor, sprinkle on some edible glitter (I use edible metallic lustre powder to brush on macarons from DecoRelief in Paris – see stockists on the FAQ page) for a quick golden effect.

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog or fancy making this Chocolate Banana Marble Cake?  Please leave a comment below – I love it when you make and share the recipes here.

Chocolate Banana Swirl Cake

Chocolate Banana Marble Cake

5 from 1 vote
chocolate banana marble cake
Chocolate Banana Marble Cake
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
 

A reduced sugar chocolate banana marble cake (or banana bread) perfect for breakfast or brunch, either topped with roasted banana or served at teatime with a fudgy dark chocolate ganache.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, teatime
Cuisine: British, French
Keyword: bananabread, chocolate banana swirl, Chocolate Banana,, Chocolate Marble,, Marble Cake,
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 330 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 100 g (3.5oz) butter (unsalted) softened
  • 75 g (2.75oz) cane sugar
  • 3 eggs (organic) at room temperature
  • 170 g (6oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 (approx.225g/8oz) very ripe bananas + 1 for decor (optional)
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 100 g (3.5oz) dark chocolate chips good quality (bittersweet)
Teatime Chocolate Glaze (optional):
  • 50 g (2oz) dark (bittersweet) cooking chocolate good quality (64-74% cacao)
  • 50 g (2oz) icing (confectioner's) sugar sifted
  • 50 g (2oz) butter (unsalted)
  • 50 g (2oz) single or whipping cream at least 30% fat
Instructions
  1. Grease and flour a loaf tin, otherwise if you’re using a silicone mould there’s no need. Preheat the oven to 180°C/360°F/Mark 4/160°C fan.

  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until soft, light and creamy (this is even easier if you beat together in a stand mixer). Gradually add the eggs, one by one until well mixed. Incorporate the flour and baking powder until the batter is smooth.

  3. In another bowl, mash the banana with a fork and transfer half of it to the other bowl. In one of them, add the chocolate powder and chocolate chips and mix well.

  4. Pour the chocolate mix into the bottom of the tin, then pour in the banana batter, then the chocolate again then banana.
  5. Marble the cake by making zig-zags with a fork from one end to the other - or swirl a couple of times in a figure 8 with a skewer. If making this without the teatime glaze, cut the extra banana horizontally (if using) and place on top of the batter. Transfer to the oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. 

    The cake is ready when a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. If not, bake for another 5 minutes. Leave the cake to cool then remove from the mould to a wire rack to cool.

For the Teatime Glaze (optional):
  1. Melt the chocolate, icing sugar and butter in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water (bain-marie). When melted, stir in the cream until the glaze is well blended.  Leave to cool for about 5 minutes then pour over the cake, evening the glaze with a knife and decorate whatever takes your fancy. I added some mini macaron shells and finally dusted it with gold food powder, just tapping it over with a couple of fingers.

Recipe Notes

Please resist temptation to eat this straight away, as the marble cake tastes even better the next day.  Can keep for 3 days in a cool place stored in an airtight tin or in aluminium foil (although not in the fridge) - if you're lucky not to have tigers around!

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

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chocolate banana swirl loaf

Breakfast Oat Cookies with Hazelnut & Cranberry

Rushing out the door in the mornings, we enjoy a bowl of maple oat granola with almond milk and a large bowl of coffee, sipped slowly cupped in our hands, French style. However, we also love these quick, soft and crumbly healthy Breakfast oat cookies too.

Breakfast oat cookies

Breakfast Oat Cookies

My daughter, Lucie loves cookies with an abundance of chocolate in them. Happiness to her is with these chocolate hazelnut cookies I developed using a recipe from Le Pecq Chocolaterie in our neighbourhood (best suited for a goûter or afternoon snack). So, when I make cookies WITHOUT CHOCOLATE, adding oats and dried fruits instead, then the eyebrows say it all. Thankfully, these breakfast oat cookies passed the test with flying cranberries – the hazelnuts give them that extra punch of flavour and they’re LOW IN SUGAR too – perfect for breakfast.

Try this recipe and you’ll find it’s so versatile: in Winter, we love adding some vibrant orange zest.  Would you believe I’m so behind on le blog, that I realised I hadn’t posted this recipe since January 2017, when I took the photos in preparation for this.  Ahem – I have some online cleaning to do!  Thanks to my good Scottish friend, Sandra, for asking for the recipe! Enjoy.

Breakfast oat cookies

If you prefer your cookies with chocolate, then simply omit the cranberries and replace with good quality bitter dark chocolate chips which also match so well with the hazelnuts and orange. However, do try these first, just like Lucie! Cookies don’t always need chocolate – do they?

Breakfast oat cookies

Have you made any of the recipes from le blog, my books, or fancy making these breakfast oat cookies?  Please take a picture and hashtag it #MadAboutMacarons on Instagram or Facebook or simply share the recipe with your friends and tell them to join me on le blog! Thanks for popping in.

Breakfast Oat Cookies

5 from 3 votes
Breakfast oat cookies
Breakfast Oat Cookies
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Breakfast oat cookies with ground hazelnuts and cranberries (plus also good with orange). A deliciously healthy start to the day with reduced sugar, plus a perfect quick teatime snack to tide you over until dinner without the guilt

Course: Breakfast, teatime
Cuisine: American, British, French
Servings: 12
Calories: 163 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 80 g (3oz) butter softened
  • 50 g (1.75oz) brown cane sugar (Cassonade)
  • 70 g (2.5oz) ground hazelnuts
  • 30 g (1oz) oatmeal
  • 50 g (1.75oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt fleur de sel
  • 1 egg organic
  • 100 g (3.5oz) dried (but moist) cranberries
  • zest of an organic (unwaxed) orange (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas 6.

  2. Whisk together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until a mousse forms.

  3. Add all the other ingredients and ensure they're mixed together.

  4. Line a baking tray with baking parchment or with a silicone mat.  Form little balls using a couple of dessert spoons, spacing them quite apart (as they expand slightly during cooking) then lightly tap them down to flatten.

  5. Lower the oven temperature to 170°C/150°C fan/340°F/Gas3 then cook the cookies for 15 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Recipe Notes

Best eaten on the day they're made, even better slightly warm from the oven.  However, if you make them the night before, they're good the next morning if stored under a cake bell or in aluminium foil once cooled.

If the cranberries are not very moist, soak them in a little orange juice for 15 minutes, then drain off the juice before starting the recipe.  The orange is delicious over winter but the cookies are also just as good without it.  You'll see - it's a very versatile cookie recipe!

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

Matrimonial Cake – Oaty Shortbread Date Squares

Are you looking for perfect date ideas? As it’s wedding season upon us soon, I can’t think of a better lovable treat to serve than this sticky Matrimonial Cake, or oaty shortbread date squares.

Matrimonial Cake or Date Squares

I’ve baffled even myself as to why I haven’t made these oaty date squares until recently.  Granny called the recipe “Matrimonial Cake” and it was my personal favourite of all of my childhood baking with her and Auntie Shirley in Musselburgh. There was only one problem and so it comes with a warning to you: it’s so blooming addictive!

By now, if I’m able to control myself like the French women with sumptuous Parisian macarons, Lemon Passion Meringue tarts, Strawberry & Elderflower éclairs, double chocolate tartlets, buttery financiers and Madeleines (all in Teatime in Paris), plus the likes of palets bretons butter biscuits, I can safely make Granny’s Matrimonial Cake and leave it sitting in the box for up to a week.

Right?

Wrong.

matrimonial cake Scottish wedding

It’s hard to believe it’s already two weeks ago that I was back in Scotland celebrating Lindsay and Eddie’s wedding in Edinburgh.

matrimonial Cake Scottish wedding dancing

My cousin, Lindsay, is the life and soul of every family party and at Christmas time, before you know it after Auntie Catherine lights up her homemade Figgy Pudding with brandy, there’s no snoozing by the fire; you can pretty much guarantee being put into a team as Lindsay puts on the entertainment for the rest of the evening with a whole variety of party games, quizzes and prizes. Eddie, you’re in for a most fun-loving life together and wish you both matrimonial bliss for a long, healthy and happy vie à deux en amoureux. As they say in Scotland, “lang may yer lum reek” (long may your chimney smoke)!

matrimonial Cake in the snow

Back home in France – as the honeymooners had found the sunshine – we were unexpectedly snowed in.  For the first time in five years, Paris was briefly coated in a giant duvet of snow and with the girls’ lycée closed, it meant I turned to Granny’s Black Book of Scottish Recipes for our golden sunshine in the cosy kitchen.

Thinking of the wedding, it had to be Matrimonial Cake! As the recipe calls for cups, I’ve double- checked the quantities in more modernised measurements in grams and ounces and, as always, reduced the sugar slightly.

 

Why is it called Matrimonial Cake?

Goodness knows why the recipe is called “Matrimonial Cake”.  Do you know of its origins? If you do, then please leave a comment below this post – I’d love to hear from you! All I know is that it’s popular in Canada, with some Canadians mentioning that the recipe originally came from Scotland.

This is when I wish I could have asked Granny tons of questions today, as this recipe probably has a lot more to it than meets the eye. All I know is that before life with Grandpa, she’d left Scotland and lived in Canada for about 3 years with a most adventurous life as nanny to five children of a business tycoon of a canning factory, originally from Kinlochleven in Scotland. Mr & Mrs Stewart loved entertaining and while travelling in their private plane, Granny had full control of their children, taking them on holiday, baking, sewing etc. and keeping up with the glamorous life.

matrimonial cake

When she baked these date squares with us, who knows what was running in her mind of memories? Questions were taboo back in these days but knowing just this now, I’d be dying to know the children’s names. Were they named after her own 5 children later: Ronald, Shirley, Irene, June and Catherine?

So, Matrimonial Cake looks like it came from her previous life in Canada. Its name is probably just because it was served at weddings at some time.  It’s ideal for a winter wedding, as dates are easy to keep in store. My theory is that it’s simply so deliciously addictive that it had to be kept for weddings or special occasions – what do you think?

Whatever its origins, this Matrimonial Cake is just as addictive as I remember it and Lucie is pleading we make it again.  We have a good excuse, as tomorrow Antoine’s cousin is coming over with her fiancé for a goûter before we see them at their French wedding during the next holidays near Paris.  More matrimonial cake bliss is ahead…

matrimonial cake or date squares

Matrimonial Cake: The Recipe

Granny mentions using lemon juice so I’m sticking with it – and even added a bit more which made the date paste turn a bit pinkish in colour but I loved this, as it ended up being rather appropriate for Valentine’s Day, too.  I see in other Canadian recipes that they use orange juice instead plus even some zest but I prefer keeping it simple as I remember it.  If you feel some zest coming on, then go for it!

Once the delicious shortbread-like oat crumble is pressed in to the bottom of the tin and spread with the date paste, just drop on the crumble topping and only gently pat it down so that the effect is still a bit crumbly on top.

Granny didn’t use much crumble on top (if you like a lot then increase the crumble recipe but the magic is the recipe below) which meant that you could still see the date nectar underneath and the crumble was more of a slightly sparse hint – which is why we craved even more.

matrimonial cake (date squares)

Baking with Dates from the Pantry

If you love dates, then you’ll also love these Date and Apple Bran Muffins, another inspiration from Granny’s recipes.

Don’t have dates?

No worries if you don’t even have dates.  Make matrimonial cake with prunes and add some orange zest.  The combination is wonderful – I even have a prune, orange and Armagnac recipe for macarons in my first book, Mad About Macarons!

matrimonial cake or date squares recipe from Granny's selection of Scottish recipes

Like the recipe?  Have something to say about it? Just even want to say hello?  I love hearing from you – it’s my motivation to keep this blog going as I don’t monetise it. So, don’t be shy and leave a reply below… thank you!

 

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5 from 13 votes
Matrimonial Cake or Date Squares
Matrimonial Cake - Oaty Shortbread Date Squares
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Matrimonial Cake that Granny used to make. Whether it's Canadian or Scottish, the result is just as delicious: dates sandwiched in an oat shortbread crumble crust.

Course: Snack, teatime
Cuisine: Canadian, Scottish
Servings: 10 people (calories for 2 squares each @70g)
Calories: 275 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Date Filling
  • 255 g (9 oz) Pitted dates either in a block or separate in packets
  • 110 ml (4 fl oz) boiling water
  • 1 tbsp soft light brown sugar (optional)
  • 1 lemon juice only
Oat Shortbread
  • 110 g (4 oz) butter (unsalted) softened
  • 100 g (3.5 oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 90 g (3 oz) porridge oats
  • 120 g (4 oz) plain flour all-purpose
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 good pinch salt (fleur de sel)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (or vanilla powder)
Instructions
For the Date Filling:
  1. In a saucepan, cook together all the ingredients except the lemon juice.  Cook gently until soft (about 20 minutes). It's ready when the dates soften into a paste. (If you prefer having a perfectly smooth paste, then blitz it for a few seconds in a food processor.)  Set aside to cool then add the lemon juice.

For the Oat Shortbread Crumble:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas 4 and grease a baking tin (I use a 27x19cm tin) with either butter or spray with baking oil.

  2. Cream the butter and sugar together either by hand using a wooden spoon or better, in a food mixer/processor.

  3. Add oats, flour, soda and vanilla until well combined.

  4. Press no more than half of the mixture into the greased baking tin - either with your fingers or using a flat spatula to make the bottom layer even and thin. Spread on the date paste using a spatula and smooth it out until even.

  5. Top with the oaty shortbread crumbs and gently pat it on top to keep it in place but not too much - it's better to have a crumbly look to the light topping.

  6. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the oats are lightly toasted.

  7. Cool on a wire rack then place in the fridge for about 30 minutes, remove from the tin and cut into squares - or bars, if you prefer.

Recipe Notes

Like macarons, this is even better eaten next day - and the next and next...

Store up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge. Best eaten at room temperature so remove from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving.

Don't have dates? Then replace dates with prunes and add the zest of an orange.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

Matrimonial Cake Date Squares