Sablés bretons can easily be found in French supermarkets in the biscuits aisle but they are actually pretty easy to make at home too.
I added some cocoa powder to make a chocolate version and a bit of grated tonka bean as I love this ingredient in sweet things (especially chocolate ones!). As you can guess, the dough is pretty buttery and needs to be chilled then rolled between two pieces of baking paper so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin (and I would advise against flouring the surface since it could make the dough too dry and crumbly).
A bit of patience while the biscuits bake in the oven and cool down afterwards is necessary. But this is all worth it once you get to spread a few of those chocolate and tonka sablés bretons on a plate to have by your side with a hot mug of tea while curled up on the couch reading (by the fire if that is an option in your house).
Ingredients (make approximately 32 biscuits)
125g caster sugar
2 egg yolks
150g diced softened salted butter
225g sifted plain flour
25g sifted cocoa powder
7g sifted baking powder
1/2 teaspoon grated tonka bean
Optional: 1 egg yolk + 1 teaspoon cold water (for brushing) and 1 teaspoon cold water for the dough
1. Put the sugar and egg yolks in a large baking bowl and mix until light and fluffy. Add in the softened butter and mix well until it is all incorporated.
2. Pour in the sifted flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and grated tonka bean and incorporate to the butter mixture until it is well incorporated. Don’t overwork the dough, it should be smooth (add in a little bit of cold water if necessary - 1 or 2 teaspoons - I did not add any to mine but you might want to add a little bit at a time if your dough is too crumbly). Shape it into a rectangle, wrap it (I use beeswrap here instead of cling film) and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan).
Line a baking tray with greaseproof baking paper.
Place the dough between two pieces of baking parchment and roll it out until it is 5mm thick. Cut little round shapes using a 5cm diametre cookie cutter. Place them on the baking tray with enough space between them as they might spread a little bit. Prick the dough like I did (see photos above) or make a cross-hatch pattern with a fork. I baked them as they were but you could mix an egg yolk with a teaspoon of water and brush it on the biscuits before baking if you want (with regular sablés bretons, it creates a lovely golden shiny top - with the chocolate biscuits, the effect is not the same).
4. Place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 20 minutes (rotate the tray midway through).
Transfer the biscuits onto a wire rack to cool down completely.
5. Repeat the process with the rest of the dough. While your first batch of biscuits is baking, reshape the scraps into a ball. And repeat the steps for rolling it out and cutting out round shapes before baking.
These delicious chocolate and tonka French salted butter biscuits are perfect with tea and coffee after a meal.