French Butter Cookies

I recently had to get a Costco membership – long, boring story – but it’s already paying off.  When I came home from Paris four years ago, my suitcase contained 10 packages of St. Michel Butter Cookies (Galettes). I was besotted.  Super buttery, flakey, not terribly sweet with just a touch of salt. Costco sells them by the very large tin.

I’ve been trying to recreate them ever since, but it’s difficult from memory. Now I have a tin of them, I stand a better chance. These come very, very close.

French Butter Cookies

  • 1/2 cup French Butter**
  • 1/4 cup +1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1/4 cup skim milk POWDER
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • dash of lemon zest

Topping:

  • 1 egg yolk, dash of water
  • Mix together 2:1 sugar and salt

These need a mixer to create the flaky texture. Whip butter until fluffy, add sugar. Mix again until fluffy. Add egg yolk and mix well. Finally, add flour and skim milk 1/4 cup at a time, combining before adding more.  Finish with baking powder and lemon zest.

**If you can’t find French butter add 1/2 tsp salt to the batter. French butter contains more salt per serving than regular butter. It also has a very distinct flavor that I’ve never been able to recreate, so without it, cookies are delicious, but they aren’t quite St. Michel’s.

Remove to a floured surface and roll out to less than 1/4 inch thickness. The thinner, the crisper the cookie. The dough is super crumbly, so it’s easiest between two silpats or on a marble surface with plastic wrap covering the top. It’s very dry here now, so I brushed a tiny bit of water over the dough before rolling thin.

Cut with a cookie cutter. Brush with egg yolk and sprinkle lightly with sugar/salt mixture.

Bake at 350 degree F for about 8 minutes. I set my timer for 4 minutes and then added 2 minutes until they were done.

I decided to up my game with some raspberry jam added before baking

If you want the traditional criss/cross pattern, it’s a bit more complicated. The dough is too delicate to use the fork method for each cookie. Instead, you’ll need to roll them out completely, refrigerate or freeze until firm. Then run a fork diagonally across the sheet of dough in one direction, and then again in the other direction. Only after the marks are made can you cut with a cookie cutter.

I used leftover dough for makeshift tarts filled with strawberry jam

You gotta know, unless I was baking for a super special crowd, that’s a bit too much work for a cookie that tastes just as good without those marks. Like, are Prince Harry and Meghan coming over? VP Harris?  Then, nope.  😉

Besides, I made such pretty heart shapes.