Breton Biscuits

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So, dog season is underway.

The pow wows with bow wows are everywhere.

Outside pet stores and at sidewalk intersections all over my neighborhood, strangers meet and bond over the love for their pups.  It’s the cat lovers that sneer and make an exaggerated effort to go around these obtrusive pavement packs.

Although they may differ in the type of furry friends selected for roommates, pet people cannot deny that there is one thing that sends giddiness through the very tips of their loyal companion’s tails: crunchy treats.

Whether bacon flavored, sardine scented, allotted one at a time or hacked into and raided by the bagful, treats are delicious rewards [bribes] for our animals.

I will give you one guess as to whether it’s the cat people or the dog people who succeed in getting their animals to do what they want by enticing them with treats.

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Yeah.  Not the owners with those mugs lookin’ back.

Cats and dogs know the sound of that treat bag opening and the mouthwatering aroma that ensues (how you could miss such a stench if you tried, I have no idea).

I may not be able to relate to the flavors that launch cats and dogs into a tizzy, but I sure do understand the rest:  The way my fork drops to the floor and my nose whips to the attention of an irresistible buttery aroma.  The way my neck strains forward to classify the crunch as teeth sink in for the first bite.  And the way I relentlessly follow you around  for hours when I see that you don’t have one in your hand to give me after I’ve witnessed all the irrefutable signs that deliciousness should be in my belly by now.

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Here I present you people treats.  And I want bags and bags and bags.  I want my boss to bribe me to do more paperwork with these.  I want my roommate to give me one when I take out the trash.  And I want my boyfriend to toss one high in the air when I’m being downright adorable.

Simple and golden they may look, but boy are they delicious!

They are perfect as is.  Sometimes a simple, smooth cookie surface just isn’t appealing, regardless the tastiness within.  But with this glistening diamond imprint, they reflect outwardly the exact wonder that they possess inside.

Although Martha describes these as a version of shortbread, I would describe them as a split between a shortbread and sugar cookie.

Gently sweet and crisp throughout, there’s no chewiness at all here.   Each bite is so buttery that it melts in your mouth, yet has a distinct flavor of golden browned sugar cookies- you know the thin ones that are pale on top but with a golden brown pattern on the bottom?

The smell is stellar (to people noses) with that sugary and buttery fragrance typically wafted about by holiday sugar cookies.

So get to treating yourself:

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Create a creamy base.

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Brush the biscuits with brightness.

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Create your design- not by placing a passing paw in it.

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Who’s been a good little baker today?!  Nom nom nom.

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Breton Biscuits

Crispy and crunchy with a rich buttery flavor, these are a cross between a shortbread and a sugar cookie.  With an attractive shiny diamond top, they are dressed up for any fancy night on the town.

Recipe adapted very slightly from Martha Stewart found here

Ingredients

  • 3/4 C flour
  • 1/2 C cake flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C butter, softened
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg whisked with 1 T water, as an egg wash
  • Additional flour for rolling out dough

Directions

  1. Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  2. Cream the egg yolks and sugar until almost doubled in volume, pale in color and slightly thickened.  About 3 minutes.
  3. Add the butter in quarters making sure that the entire chunk is incorporated before adding the next.  Mix in vanilla.
  4. Add the sifted flour mixture until combined.  Pat dough into a disc and refrigerate, wrapped in plastic wrap, for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 325F.  Cut a large piece of parchment and place it on work surface.  Cut another and line your cookie sheet with it.
  6. When dough is chilled, sprinkle plenty of flour on parchment so dough does not stick. Roll out 1/4 inch thick and cut with a 2-1/2 inch round cutter to make circles.  Roll leftover dough and repeat process.  If dough sticks when removing the cut rounds from the parchment, freeze whole sheet for a few minutes and then remove the cut pieces.
  7. Place cut cookies on parchment lined sheet and brush a layer of the egg wash on each one.  Allow to dry for 5 minutes and then brush again.  For a sweeter version of this cookie, sprinkle granulated sugar on the tops of each brushed cookie before scoring.  Score the surface of each cookie with lines to form a diamond pattern.  Be sure not to cut all the way to the bottom and I find that a sharp paring knife worked best.
  8. Place in oven for 18-20 minutes until top is golden and edges are dark golden.  Do not under-bake or you will be missing the necessary crunch.  Cool on a rack and enjoy!
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