Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Let's Eat This: Salted Butter Break-ups

I get the yen for things when I read. I read a lot. Ergo, I get the yen for things a LOT.  One of my favorite sources is KitchenAid.  I bought a KitchenAid 600 Professional stand mixer some years ago and really love using it.  I liked it so much I joined a couple of online forums and "Liked" KitchenAid on Facebook.  The only problem is it's HUGE and HEAVY, so I am the only one in the family who can use the darn thing. This recipe is for a food processor - you know, that thing in the cupboard that you look at and think, "I really should use that thing..."

This recipe and article courtesy of KitchenAid on FaceBook:

Salted Butter Break Ups

Salted Butter Break-ups
by: Dorie Greenspan
Makes 4 servings

Even if this weren’t wonderfully good — and it is — I’d want to make it just because it’s so much fun to serve. Essentially a large buttery, flaky, salty-sweet rectangular cookie with a pretty little crosshatch pattern on top, it is put in the center of the table and your guests serve themselves by reaching over and breaking off pieces of the sweet. Yes, it’s messy — it’s impossible for this to be a crumbless endeavor — but everyone, young and old, easygoing and stuffy, likes it. For neatness’s sake, you could break the cookie up in the kitchen, or you could even cut it into cookie shapes after you roll it out, but that wouldn’t be as amusing, would it?

Called broy√©s in French, meaning crushed, the cookies are a tradition in the Poitou region, a part of western France where butter is prized. Butteriness is one of the cookies’ defining characteristics, saltiness is another — they’re undeniably salty and, now and again, you can even feel the salt on your tongue. In France, the cookies are made with sel gris, a moist slightly gray (gris) sea salt with crystals that are large enough to be picked up individually. If you can’t find sel gris, go with kosher or another coarse salt. (Marc's NOTE:  I used a mixture of a pinch of cinnamon and grey salt - barely a hint, but there nonetheless.)
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
¾–1 teaspoon sel gris (see above) or kosher salt
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 18 pieces
3–5 tablespoons cold water
1 egg yolk, for the glaze

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Drop in the pieces of butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal — you’ll have both big pea-sized pieces and small flakes. With the machine running, start adding the cold water gradually: add just enough water to produce a dough that almost forms a ball. When you reach into the bowl to feel the dough, it should be very malleable.

Scrape the dough onto a work surface, form it into a square, and pat it down to flatten it a bit. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill it for about 1 hour (or for as long as 3 days).

When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the fridge and, if it’s very hard, bash it a few times with your rolling pin to soften it. Put the dough between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper and roll it — or pat it — into a rectangle that’s about ¼ inch thick and about 5 x 11 inches; accuracy and neatness don’t count for a lot here. Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet.

Beat the egg yolk with a few drops of cold water, and, using a pastry brush, paint the top surface of the dough with the egg wash. Using the back of a table fork, decorate the cookie in a crosshatch pattern.

Bake the cookie for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it is golden. It will be firm to the touch but have a little spring when pressed in the center — the perfect break-up is crisp on the outside and still tender within. Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and allow the cookie to cool to room temperature.


Serving

If fun is what you’re after, bring the break-up to the table whole and let everyone break off pieces big and small; if order suits you better, break up the cookie in the kitchen and
serve the pieces on a plate.

Storing

The baked cookie will keep in an airtight container for about 3 days. You can make the dough up to 3 days ahead and keep it in the refrigerator, or you can wrap it airtight and freeze it for up to 2 months.

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