Chocolate Palets Bretons – Chocolate Butter Cookies from Brittany

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. – Margaret Atwood, Bluebeard’s Egg

Spring has finally arrived in Chinon. Wild winds, grey skies, spattering rain are interspersed with flashes of bright sunlight filtering through hazy skies and lighting up the courtyard, brushing against the windows and warming the breakfast room. Jean-Pierre has been busy in the garden most every day, morning and afternoon, hanging his collection, his massive collection of birdhouses on every available space. “I want this to be a bird’s garden! I want birds to flock to the hotel, inhabit these houses, and live here with us!” We already hear them singing every morning and spy them hopping across the terrace, digging in the dirt, carrying bibs and bobs of treasures and pushing them through the tiny holes of those wooden houses, their new homes.

The vines, trimmed much too close last summer in our opinion, are, nonetheless, beginning to unfurl their green and the bird’s houses will soon be nestled in halos of leaves. The magnificent magnolia tree has lost most of her blossoms, the path to the front door now strewn with pink petals as if awaiting a bride, but the courtyard is dusted with yellows, pinks, whites, plants bursting with color and springtime is so much more than just that feeling in the air. It is here.

Spring is the time of plans and projects. – Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

High season kicked off with the BD en Chinonais event mid-March with the arrival of close to 2 dozen illustrators staying at the hotel. Since then, we’ve hosted artists in town for gallery openings, musicians in town for concerts, passionate groups of men and women in town for the wine festivities leading up to and including Les Vignerons dans la Ville, Wine Makers in the City, where close to 4,000 glasses of local reds, rosés, and whites will be poured, distributed, tasted, where the interested will be able to meet the wine producers and chat with them, asking questions, getting to know their wines, the light and fruity, the deep and tannic, the cabernet francs and the chenin blancs of our perfect little appellation Chinon.

Jean-Pierre continues his work fighting against the projet de la Breche and working to create and organize a new collection of associations. The future of our city is as important as is the preserving of the history of our city.

And I am nearing the signature of my contract for my first cookbook and so have been researching, developing, testing, and writing recipes non-stop, with an enthusiastic group of friends who have been testing each recipe as I go. I worked on a recipe, which will be published in the late summer issue of Fine Cooking magazine (like my pot-au-feu was) as I carve out time from my hotel responsibilities. My work table is once again piled high with cookbooks, papers strewn across every surface and spilling onto the floor. I must clean and reorganize once again. And again.

But as the days lead up to Passover and I share my recipes for Lemon Almond Sponge Cake, Cocoa Espresso Almond Sponge Cake, and Individual Berry Mascarpone Cheesecakes, not only Passover-friendly but gluten-free, I recall that I promised you the recipe for these delicious Chocolate Palets Bretons, tender, crumbly, butter cookies from Brittany. For your afternoon tea or coffee break.

Chocolate Palets Bretons I

Chocolate Palets Bretons IV

4.5 from 2 reviews
Chocolate Palets Bretons - Chocolate Butter Cookies from Brittany
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
The delicious chocolate version of the tender yet crumbly butter cookie traditional to the Brittany region of France. Slice them as thin or as thickly as you like, underbake them slightly for a moister cookie, a bit longer for a drier, crumbly cookie just like they like them on the wind-whipped, wild coast of northwestern France.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (140 grams) flour
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking power
  • 1 tablespoons (8 grams) cocoa powder, optional
  • Pinch (about ⅛ tsp) salt or fleur de sel
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2/5 cup (80 grams) sugar
  • 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon (80 grams) salted butter (beurre demi-sel), softened
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract, optional (or replace with orange extract or orange flower water)
  1. Stir the flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder together in a bowl.
  2. Beat the egg yolks and the sugar together until thick and pale, scraping down the bowl a couple of times.
  3. Beat in the butter and vanilla until blended and thick.
  4. Beat in the dry ingredients in 3 or 4 additions.
  5. Scrape down the bowl and beat it briefly to make sure it is well blended and the dough should pull together.
  6. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap; lightly pat and shape the dough into a log, giving it the desired diameter depending on how wide you want your biscuits – I roll mine into either a 7 - 8 or a 10 - 12 inch long log, for fatter or thinner. Wrap the dough in the plastic wrap, make sure the log is even and smooth and refrigerate to firm for about 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C).
  8. Carefully unroll the cookie dough and slice; the dough may still be soft and pliable so try and keep the dough in the log shape. Cut into ½ inch slices; gently reshape the discs into rounds and place on a baking sheet or in muffin tin cups or small metal circles (so they are less likely to spread and will better keep their disc shape.)
  9. Bake for about 10 minutes or until set and just firm in the center.
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before lifting them to a cooling rack to cool completely before devouring.
Slice the dough as thin or as thickly as you like the cookies, underbake them slightly for a moister cookie, a bit longer for a drier, crumbly cookie. Change out the vanilla extract for coffee or orange extract or orange flower water.

  • Monique
    April 14, 2016

    Bravo Jamie ..all your accomplishments:) Wonderful!

  • Jill @ MadAboutMacarons
    April 14, 2016

    Jamie – I love Palets Bretons. We must be on the same wavelength since I made them just last week and am addicted since I love their play of salt. Your chocolate ones sound wonderful and something completely different ! Good luck with the rest of your book’s work – can imagine it’s a marathon finishing it all up. I bet it will be a hit!

  • Susan Walter
    April 14, 2016

    Has Jean-Pierre put up any Swift (Fr. Martinet noir) nest boxes? If not I would strongly encourage him to do so. A friend in Amboise is involved in a project there to get nest boxes up on as many buildings as possible there. There is lots of advice on the internet about how to make the nest boxes and where to position them. I’ve just put up two on the back of our barn and will blog about their progress.

    The petition to stop the stupid carpark project is doing the rounds. Friends near Richelieu asked me if I knew anything about it the other day as they had been sent it on Facebook. Social media is doing its thing.

    April 14, 2016

    These cookies look amazing. These are my kind of perfect cookie to be enjoyed with a cup of tea in the afternoon.
    Must have them! xx

  • John/Kitchen Riffs
    April 14, 2016

    Sounds like you guys are busy, busy, busy! But a good busy. Glad to hear your cookbook is progressing — such fun news. And it’d be fun for me to have a plate of these cookies in front of me at the moment. Great looking Bretons! Thanks so much.

  • D. Cori Glassey
    April 18, 2016

    Hi Jamie
    It is so good to be hearing from you there in Chinon. I can picture you there at the breakfast table and Jean-Pierre out in the gardens. The bird houses are such a fun idea.
    It sounds like you have had some very interesting guests this spring. I know that you have entertained them well.
    We are back in Oregon and it is beautiful here. We are having unseasonably warm weather here- today it was 87 and it will be in the 80’s for 3 more days, We have been planting our garden and getting the flower beds planted and in order.
    We have had a great time showing off our pictures of France and telling our stories of the beauty of the Loire Valley and Burgundy.
    Our dogwood is blooming- which is always marvelous. Do you have dogwood in France. Ours is pink,
    Joy and Beauty to you—Cori Glassey

    • Jamie
      April 18, 2016

      Hi Cori! I got your wonderful email and I thank you so much! It was wonderful having you at the hotel and having the chance to get to know each other. Ah dogwood – beautiful! I don’t think we have it here! I’ll bet your garden is gorgeous and I dream of getting out there to experience it! And to make jam with you! Thank you so much for your kind words and your visit to my blog has made my day!

  • Faye
    June 15, 2016

    For sure these are greatly delicious! Thankful to know about this.