I’ve become addicted to these biscuits (cookies) that are also known as Brittany Butter Biscuits. They are shortbread made even more rich with egg yolks. With ingredients that are few and simple, the quality of ingredients is very important- no chocolate here to mask inferior butter or vanilla. So do use the best you can find. I decided to use lemon verbena infused sugar to add a very slight hint of herbal citrus note to the basic shortbread flavour. I think it was a hit and now I’m thinking of other complementary combinations to try- maybe lavender or orange zest?
These are similar to a cookie called Traou Mad from Brittany that you can buy in some gourmet food stores. Traou Mad means “good things” in the Breton language. And they are! Making them at home is simple and they are so good when fresh. That said- they do keep for a long time so if you are baking for someone far away and need a cookie that will stand some shipping time, these are a great choice. They are absolutely made for that so French habit of dunking one’s biscuits into hot coffee or tea. I love them with a cup of Orange Dulce tea from Mighty Leaf Tea Company.
Lemon Verbena Galettes de Bretagne (Brittany Butter Biscuits or Galettes au Beurre Bretonne)
- 6 large egg yolks
1-1/4 cups Lemon Verbena infused granulated white sugar- see below, or regular granulated sugar may be substituted
1 cup best quality butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel, ground finely before measuring
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons water
At least two days before you plan to make these, take ½ cup of fresh lemon verbena leaves and bruise them slightly. Add 2 cups of granulated sugar, making sure the leaves are covered by the sugar, and store in an airtight container in a dark place. Shake the container now and then. After two days use a medium strainer and strain the leaves out. You will have a bit more sugar than needed for the recipe but any left over is very nice in a cup of tea.
Combine six egg yolks and the lemon verbena sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix for a couple of minutes at medium high, until the mixture is smooth, thick and pale yellow. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the butter in softened knobs and the vanilla extract. Combine the flour and salt and add them slowly, blending until a thick stiff dough forms. You can add a bit more flour if needed to achieve this. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour. If you have to leave the dough in the fridge longer, remove it and let it warm slightly at room temperature (about 15 minutes should do) before rolling.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Stack 2 full size baking sheets together and line the top sheet with parchment paper. Or use 4 half sheet pans with two stacked together and the top lined with parchment.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Use a 3-inch round fluted cookie cutter to cut the cookie rounds; place them about 1 inch apart on the stacked/lined baking sheets. Use the tines of a fork to make a small crisscross on the center of each cookie.
For the glaze: Whisk together the two egg yolks and water in a small bowl. Brush each cookie generously with the mixture.
Bake 1 sheet at a time for 50 to 55 minutes, until the cookies are golden on top and brown around the edges. Cool completely on the baking sheet. This makes about eighteen 3” cookies. You could make them smaller if desired and just adjust the baking time down a bit by keeping an eye on them after 30 minutes.