This coming Friday is my good friend Mary’s annual Christmas cookie swap so I made 6 dozen Breton butter cookies; they are more like a shortbread cookie, not sweet, but very buttery and I would say perfect with tea. I felt like making a cookie that I had never made before and it was fun experimenting. The butter cookie isn’t difficult to make at all; it requires 6 egg yolks, 1 1/4 cups of sugar, creamed together and then you add 1 cup of room temperature butter cut up into pieces. The butter is key to the cookie, to be the proper cookie you need to use the best butter possible. I found French butter from my local supermarket, the reason why I sought out French butter is because it is salted in proportion that the cookie wants. It is after that the butter is incorporated into the creamed eggs and sugar that you add a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and then one cup at a time, you add 4 cups of all purpose flour, unbleached is the one that I use. You will get a thick, heavy dough. You roll it into a log and wrap it in saran wrap, chill it for at least a half hour and then you can slice the roll into at least 1/2 inch slices and put the slices onto a cookie sheet; as a decorative detail, you score each cookie with a fork’s tin and brush an egg wash over each cookie and then into the oven at 325 for about 30 minutes.
My husband and our son both were not huge fans of the breton butter “biscuit”, they were not saddened at the prospect of 6 dozen of those cookies leaving the house on Friday. I am not offended, I was busy mixing up a batch of batter to get rid of the 12 egg whites that I had left over. The batter in question is another French confectionary treat called the financier, it is a almond tea cake consisting of almond meal, all purpose flour, melted butter, confectioner’s sugar and egg whites. There are many recipes on the web, I found one that corresponded to the amount of egg whites I had and I went from there. The only two things that I did differently was use regular sugar because I didn’t have confectioner’s sugar, so instead of adding 1 1/2 cups, I used 1 cup of regular sugar and I used my Kitchen Aid mixer. I mixed the flour, sugar, salt, and almond meal and then I added the egg whites and the melted butter. I ladled the batter into buttered mini muffin tins and baked them at 400 degrees for about ten minutes.
So I told my husband that I only made these to use up the egg whites, this was before he had tasted one. He wasn’t crazy about the butter cookies, but boy does he love the financier, our son feels the same way as well. My baking worked out well in the end; I like the butter cookies, I can see my friends enjoying them with a spot of tea or even coffee after spending hours writing Christmas cards or wrapping presents.