Remember when I said not all butter is created equal? Good! If you ever need to test out my claim, these cornmeal shortbread sandwiches—ice cream sandwiches!—with all the butter!—will rest my case.
Good, really good butter, will transform you. There’s a reason pastries in France taste so much better than they do here—it’s the butter! And if you’re lucky enough to try a Breton pastry, it’s game over.
The Breton region, in northwestern France, is famous for its butter. Always salted, its butter will make you cry with joy. For further proof, watch this video on how its made, which I have watched no less than twenty times and drooled copiously all over my laptop.
No Breton butter in the US sadly, but we do have European salted butter, which has actually been easier to find lately than unsalted butter. And while most desserts call for unsalted butter, I present to you these crispy, light, melt-in-your mouth cookies that are salted butter all the way.
Breton-style shortbread cookies, or sablés, always use salted butter. It’s the salt that adds that extra flavor, bringing out the creaminess of the butter. I swapped out some flour to create an additional sandy texture that comprises these cornmeal shortbread sandwiches.
Oh yeah, sandwiches! If you think these sablés are good on their own, they’re even better with a big ass scoop of ice in between them. Quarantine or not, it’s still spring, and that means celebrating warmer weather. Use your favorite flavor for whatever you want your French-American pastry vibe to be.
- As you can guess, sablés use a lot of butter. That means the dough is tricky to handle as it gets warm fast. Don’t skip on taking the full time to chill the dough—otherwise your cookies will melt and bake unevenly.
- I love Kerrygold butter for all my pastries. If you can’t find salted, use unsalted and add 1/4 tsp salt.
- Don’t roll the sablés out too thin! Then they won’t stand up to the ice cream. A half-inch width is perfect.
Check out my cardamom sablés for a different take on these cookies!