Breton Sea Salt Shortbreads

  • prep time15 min
  • total time 60 min
  • serves
Anna Olson
Anna Olson

While this classic style of French butter cookie would normally be made with salted butter, I prefer to use unsalted butter and then add the salt myself (different brands of butter can have different amounts of salt). These short-bread cookies are barely sweet—really, it’s all about the butter!

Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

33 Ratings
Directions for: Breton Sea Salt Shortbreads


1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

⅔ cup icing sugar, sifted

3 large egg yolks (1 for brushing cookies)

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

¼ cup cornstarch

1 tsp fine sea salt

Flaked sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C) and line the cups of mini-muffin pans with paper liners (petits fours size).

2. Using electric beaters or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and icing sugar on medium speed until smooth and light. Beat in 2 of the egg yolks. Add the flour, cornstarch and 1 tsp salt and mix on low speed until the dough comes together.

3. Use a small ice cream scoop or 2 teaspoons to drop the dough into the lined muffin pans. Use the bottom of a glass dipped in flour to gently press the dough flat. Whisk the remaining egg yolk with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of cold water and brush the tops of the cookies. If you wish, sprinkle the cookies with a little flaked sea salt.

4. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the tops are a rich golden brown. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack.

Tips and Substitutions

You can store baked shortbread in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. It also freezes wonderfully well because of its low sugar content (relative to other holiday cookies). You can make the dough ahead and freeze it in a resealable bag for up to 3 months. Thaw the dough for 2 hours at room temperature before spooning it into pans and baking. Or freeze baked shortbread in an airtight container for up to 3 months and thaw at room temperature.

Shortbread improves in texture as it sits in the pan. The longer these cookies sit, the softer and more tender they get. However, keep them away from cookies with prominent flavours (such as chocolate, spices or citrus zest) as they will absorb the odours and flavours around them.

Source and Credits

Excerpted from Set for the Holidays with Anna Olson

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

See more: Bake, Cookies, Dessert, Snack

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