Recipe: Salted Butter Break Ups

This delicious recipe is a Dorie Greenspan classic – it’s great for Christmas eve or New Year’s Day open house!


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3/4 to 1 teaspoon sel gris (see above) or kosher salt
  • 1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 18 pieces
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 egg yolk, for the glaze



  1. Put the flour, sugar and salt in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.
  2. Drop in the pieces of butter and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal – you’ll have big, pea-size pieces and small flakes.
  3. 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.
  4. Scrape the dough onto a work surface, form it into a square and pat the square down to flatten it a bit.
  5. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill it for about 1 hour (or for as long as overnight).
  6. When you’re ready to bake, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  7. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  8. Remove the dough from the fridge and, if it’s very hard, bash it a few times with your rolling pin to soften it.
  9. Put the dough between sheets of plastic film or wax paper and roll it – or pat it – into a rectangle that’s about 1/4-inch thick and about 5-x-11 inches; accuracy and neatness don’t count for a lot here.
  10. Transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet.
  11. 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.
  12. Using the back of a table fork, decorate the cookie in a cross-hatch pattern.
  13. 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.
  14. 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 the cookie in the kitchen and serve the pieces on a plate.

Storing: The baked cookie will keep in a 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. Don’t brush the dough with egg wash until you’re ready to bake it.