French Cookies with Chocolate (Pétit Écolier)

5 from 7 reviews

Delicious homemade French Cookies with Chocolate, also called Pétit Beurre or Pétit Écolier.


For the French cookies

For the chocolate topping


To make the French cookies

  1. Place the butter, sugar, water, and salt into a small saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Stir the mixture and heat until the butter has melted, but do not let the mixture boil.
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and let it cool to about room temperature, which might take 15-20 minutes.
  4. When the butter mixture has cooled, add the vanilla extract.
  5. Place the flour and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer with the flat paddle attachment.
  6. Slowly add the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and beat on low speed until everything is incorporated into a soft dough.
  7. Place a large sheet of clingfilm on the work surface and scoop the dough onto the clingfilm.
  8. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  9. When you are ready to bake, bring the dough to room temperature first so that it will be easier to work with. This might take 30-60 minutes, depending on how warm the room is.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  11. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  12. Place the dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll out the dough until it is quite thin, about 3mm thick. You want the dough to be as thin as possible as they will rise a bit upon baking.
  13. Cut out shapes from the dough using a fluted rectangular cookie cutter, and place the cut shapes onto the lined baking tray.
  14. Bake the biscuits for about 12 minutes, or until they are lightly golden.
  15. Leave the biscuits on the hot baking tray for about 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the chocolate toppings

  1. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie (or in a bowl over a pot of simmering water).
  2. Place the silicone chocolate moulds on a large flat tray which can fit in the fridge.
  3. Carefully fill the moulds with the melted chocolate.
  4. Transfer the moulds (on the tray) to the fridge to help it set.
  5. To unmould the chocolate, I find it easiest to take the moulds out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before removing the chocolate. If you try this when the chocolate is still fridge-cold, they might crack. I also find it helpful to unmould the chocolate over a large plate or wire rack.
  6. If you don’t have enough chocolate moulds, you will have to make the chocolate toppings in batches.

To assemble the Pétit Écolier Cookies

  1. Melt the extra 50 g (1.5 oz) of chocolate in a small saucepan, and let it cool slightly. This chocolate will be used to “glue” the chocolate topping to the biscuits.
  2. Remove the chocolate toppings from their moulds.
  3. Once the melted chocolate has cooled a little, dot a small amount on the cookie and place the chocolate topping on top. If the melted chocolate is too warm, it might melt the chocolate topping.
  4. Leave the cookies to set before serving.

Kitchen Notes

* I recommend using good quality chocolate for this recipe, especially since it is a key component of the biscuit. You can make the toppings with just milk chocolate or dark chocolate, but if you have the time, it’s worth making maybe a half batch of each.
* When buying milk chocolate, I recommend a minimum of 45% cocoa content (but less is also fine).
* When buying dark chocolate, I recommend a minimum of 70% cocoa content.
* White chocolate also works well in this recipe, and those sold specifically for baking (such as white chocolate chips) are usually easier to melt.

Should you find yourself with a lot of leftover melted chocolate, now is a good time to use any silicone chocolate moulds that you might have. Otherwise, I would suggest making some chocolate mendiants by dolloping large circles of the melted chocolate onto some baking paper on a baking tray, and sprinkle over some chopped dried fruit and nuts of your choice, or simply some coloured sprinkles (hundreds and thousands). Place in the fridge to set.

Due to the resting time required, I recommend making the biscuit dough the night before using, and leaving it to rest in the fridge overnight. First thing the next morning, take the dough out of the fridge to let it soften and come to room temperature.
The chocolate toppings also need time to set, and can also be kept in the fridge overnight.

These biscuits are best eaten as soon as possible.

All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.