{recipe} sweet little salted chocolate petit beurres

petit beurres
petit beurres

My favourite biscuits when I was little were those Petit Ecolier biscuits by Lu. I'd bite into them straight, the thick and smooth chocolate with the plain crisp biscuit. They might be my favourite biscuit now, come to that. Chocolate on one side, biscuit on the other. I resolved to do a version of those, sandwiching together the biscuits and adding a tilt with the addition of salt. Salt is just the best with dark chocolate, and the biscuits balance the whole thing out. So these little French buttery biscuits are in perfect limbo between sweet and salty, somehow remaining completely sophisticated despite all their indulgent companions.

petit beurres2
petit beurres2

Salted chocolate petit beurres

1 2/3 cups (200g) plain flour

80g unsalted butter, cold and diced

40g sugar

½ tsp sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling

3-4 tbsp crème fraiche

100g dark (70-85%) chocolate

Cocoa, to serve (optional) 

01. In a food processor, combine the flour and butter and pulse to form a crumb. Transfer to a medium bowl, make a well in the centre and add sugar, salt and 2 tablespoons crème fraiche. Stir from the centre, gradually pulling in the flour mixture to form a dough. Gradually add more crème fraiche if mixture is too dry. Place dough on bench and pull together with your hands, then divide dough in two slightly flattened balls, wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for an hour.

02. Preheat oven to 170C fan-forced and line a baking tray with baking paper. Working with one ball at a time, roll dough out evenly on a lightly floured bench until 3-5mm thick. Use a biscuit cutter, about 3-4cm in diameter, to cut out dough, then transfer to baking tray and prick lightly with a fork a few times. Pull together offcuts, wrap in plastic and chill, then use to make remaining biscuits. Bake biscuits 12-15 minutes, in batches, until just golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

03. To assemble biscuits, melt chocolate in a bowl placed over a small saucepan of simmering water. Dollop 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate onto center of the underside of one cookie, then sprinkle with a few flakes of salt. Top with another cookie, matching flat side to flat side, and press down lightly. Chocolate should spread to edges without dripping out. Place on wire rack to set, repeat with the remaining cookies. Dust cookies with cocoa and extra salt to serve, if liked. Store in airtight container for 3-4 days.

Photographs by Kate Gibbs. This recipe appeared in Sunday Life magazine in May 2013.