Delicious buttery gluten-free and vegan shortbread cookies topped with a layer of chocolate. Oh, so irresistible with a cup of coffee...
When I saw these Petit Ecolier-style chocolate molds I couldn't resist making these cookies. They used to be one of my absolute favorites.
DIY Petit Ecolier / Petit Beurre Cookie Molds
To be frank, I've seen this particular chocolate mold on Amazon way back but wasn't 100% about the patterns (there are more delicate ones out there, but mostly available in Europe). Howerver, I do love their functionality -- this type of mold creates a lovely thin chocolate layer that's just right for the cookies, and they do look the part.
If you're looking for something similar, here are a few options:
- Round ones, similar to mine.*
- Rectangular ones, most similar to actual Petit Ecolier cookies.*
- Look around for variations of these two (and heart ones -- they're out there too), since there are different patterns. The company that makes them is called Silikomart.
- Go a DIY route with something like this mold.
- Look out for a "Petit Beurre Cookie Set" from Mason Cash -- they make really lovely holiday patterns, but unfortunately they're rather difficult to find in North America (keep an eye out on Ebay, they pop up there once in a while, but can be pricey).
- Go with a simple pre-made chocolate of your choice (more on this later).
*Note: I found that the cookie cutter that comes with this set doesn't work with this dough, which is why I used a simple 2" round cookie cutter for the base instead. But the top of the silicone mold is worth it.
The reason I love the mold for the chocolates is because the chocolate layer turns out just perfect -- not too thick or chunky to overwhelm the cookies. Just the right amount of chocolate to cookie ratio in my opinion = cookie perfection.
Another bonus: the molded chocolate makes these cookies look very giftable -- they're so pretty and have that touch of going the extra mile to create something special.
For the cookie base, I went with my simple gluten-free vegan shortbread recipe here. Last year a blog reader shared that she used the recipe combined with a square of chocolate on top to mimic Petit Ecoliers and so it's been on my mind to give that a go as well since then. Her cookie looked and sounded delish :)
Below is a video for the shortbread recipe, in case you wanted to see the process for the cookie part, since it's the same (except instead of cutting the cookies into rectangles, here you'll be using a round cookie cutter):
These aren't exactly like a Petit Ecolier in the sense that the cookie is not as hard / dry, and well they're also gluten-free, vegan and refined sugar-free -- so you can hardly expect the exact same result. But they are so delicious in this recipe that I say who cares! Trust me, you won't regret making these.
If you can't or don't want to buy a mold for the top, you can just use a chocolate bar of your choice. I did that as well, so you can see what that might look like below. Only tip I have if you go this route is to find chocolate that's molded as thinly as possible. A thick slab of chocolate might be a bit much -- or maybe not, guess that depends on your taste! :)
It's definitely a "lazier" way to a Petit Ecolier, but works nonetheless.
The most important thing, I'd say, whether you're going with the mold or slab of chocolate route, is to use a chocolate you love the flavor of. I chose to enhance the flavor of the chocolate I melted with a bit of extra cacao butter to deepen the chocolate flavor even more -- highly recommended.
A few final quick tips on the shortbread cookies:
- Readers have shared that the shortbread cookie recipe works well with Bob's Red Mill flour as an alternatives.
- If you'd rather not use vegan butter, you can make the cookies with coconut oil instead. I find the butter lends them a much better flavor, but the recipe will work either way.
- If you're looking for an oil-free alternative for the cookie base, you can use this cashew butter tea biscuits recipe instead.
Gluten-free vegan shortbread cookies with chocolate, Petit Ecolier-style.
- ¼ cup non-dairy butter, at room temperature / softened
- 2 ½ tbsp dark maple syrup
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp gluten-free flour blend (I recommend Pamela’s Artisan Flour Blend) (or make your own by combining: ½ cup brown rice flour, 6 tablespoon tapioca starch, ¼ cup sweet rice flour, ¼ teaspoon guar gum)
- 1 cup non-dairy dark chocolate chips (or chopped vegan chocolate of your choice)
- 2 tbsp cacao butter**
- COOKIES: Preheat oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Prepare a rolling area with two additional sheets of parchment paper for that, and have a 2" round cookie cutter ready.
- Place butter in a large mixing bowl and whip it briefly with a hand mixer until creamy. Add sweetener, salt, and vanilla and mix once again to combine. Add in flour and use a wooden spoon to mix. Then get in there with your hands and mix everything together by working the dough until you can shape it into a ball. Note that depending on the flour mix you use there may be a slight variance, so keep in mind that the consistency of the dough should not be sticky but should press together when pinched and not crack when you roll it into a ball — be sure to knead it really well first for some time, if it’s a little sticky, add a little more flour (try 1-2 tablespoon at a time); if it’s a little dry add a little more butter or maple syrup. Shape the dough into a ball and then flatten into a disk.
- Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment paper to ¼” thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out round cookies out of the dough. Carefully transfer to a prepared cookie sheet, spacing them ½” apart (they won’t spread as they bake). Gather up any dough scraps and repeat until all the dough is used up. Note that if the dough seems to get a bit dry as you try to gather it back into a dough ball, add a bit more butter or maple syrup and knead once again. Once all the cookies are cut out, use a fork to carefully pierce some holes in the each cookie (to prevent bubbling and excessive cracking) -- try to poke holes throughout the center, but without getting too close to the edges.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven for approximately 11-12 minutes, until the edges begin to become a little golden. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. Note: cookies will harden a little within minutes of cooling, so don’t over-bake. Allow the cookies to cool completely.
- CHOCOLATE TOPPING: While the cookies are baking, melt the chocolate chips and cacao butter using the double boiler method. Place your silicone chocolate mold onto a small metal tray (for stability). Spoon half of the melted chocolate mixture into the mold's cavities (don't over-fill). Once the molds are full, place the tray in the freezer for about 10 minutes for the chocolate to set. Once it feels firm to the touch, carefully un-mold the chocolate onto a parchment-lined tray or plate and set aside. Reheat the remaining chocolate mixture if need be, fill in the molds once again and allow the chocolate to set in the freezer once again. You should have a tiny bit of unused melted chocolate at the end of this process, and that's good -- you'll need it for the next step.
- Once the cookies are completely cooled, spoon a few drops of melted chocolate onto one of the cookies, then place one of the round chocolates you made on top in the center of the cookie. Press down lightly. Set aside and repeat with the remaining cookies. These chocolate "drops" act as the "glue" to hold the chocolate top in place. Enjoy!
*If you prefer, rather than making a chocolate topping you can just use cut pieces of your favorite chocolate. In which case, you can skip most of step 5. You can melt a tiny bit of the chocolate you're using to use it as the "glue" drops. You can also cut out your shortbread cookies into whatever shape suits the shape of your chocolates best.
**I used cacao butter for its lovely flavor here, and also to help thin out the chocolate a bit so it's easier to pour into the mould. If you prefer, you can use coconut oil instead, but keep in mind that cacao butter stays firmer at a higher temperature so the cookies will keep better at room temperature as well without the chocolate melting. For the cacao butter here I used about 8 cacao butter wafers. If you're using chunks of cacao butter, chop them up smaller so they melt faster into the chocolate.
P.S. If you're looking for other cookie recipes, check this collection of the best vegan & gluten-free cookies from the blog.