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One French word: coeur, a French recipe: biscuits apéritif coeur

Cœur, masculine noun (un cœur, le cœur, des cœurs) = heart (pronounce cur, like a mongrel dog in English).

Lots of expressions use the word cœur, of course, we are in France after all, le pays de l’amour, des amoureux.

Le cœur brisé = broken hearted; en avoir le cœur net = to be clear in one’s mind about something; le cœur dur = hard hearted; and also avoir mal au cœur = to feel sick, in the sense of vomiting; but ça me fait mal au cœur = it makes me sick, in the sense disgusted; parler à cœur ouvert = to speak openly, to open one’s heart;  avoir un cœur de pierre = to have a heart of stone… I could go on and on.

And while we are analyzing French words, why is a biscuit called a biscuit? Because it is cooked twice (bis = a second time, cuit= cooked). To make it very crisp.

Un petit tas de biscuits

Valentine’s day is just around the corner, so hearts are the order of the day. My recipe comes from my Mother, and is for petits cœurs au fromage, cheesy apéritif biscuits, which I have done heart shaped for the circumstance, but which you can make round or square. They are quite filling and totally irresistible, so make them smallish, or your guest(s) will not be hungry for the festivities that follow.

Les biscuits en train de refroidir

This recipe is a very good way of using up left-overs on a cheeseboard. The cheese must still be good of course, but it does not need to be presentable. Blue cheese should not be used either, it does not make an attractive biscuit, but hard cheeses, goat’s cheese, a little soft cheese, whatever you have to hand. It should be quite strong in flavour so that your biscuits have bite.

For about 25 small biscuits you will need:

  • 100gr strong cheese cut into cubes or grated
  • 100gr soft butter (not melted, just not hard out of the fridge)
  • 100gr plain flour
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 4,5 dl milk

Le découpage des biscuits coeur

Cut out hearts before cooking


  1. Pre-heat the oven at 160°C.
  2. Put all the ingredients except the milk into a mixer and blend well to break up the cheese.
  3. Add the milk gradually until the mixture becomes a pastry ball.
  4. Flour a working surface and roll out to about half a centimetre thick (a scant quarter inch).
  5. With a heart shaped cookie cutter, or a small glass or round cookie cutter, or even free hand to get a nice small biscuit, cut shapes and place on a baking tray.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden but do keep an eye on them, if they cook for too long, the cheese burns and becomes bitter.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool on a cake rack so that they do not go soft.

Biscuits dorés au fromage

These biscuits may be made in advance, and keep very well in an airtight tin for a week or so. They are buttery and a little crumbly and delicious.

Un verre de vin blanc et des biscuits coeur au fromage

And they smell so fantastic when they come out of the oven.

Bon appétit.


About OneFrenchWord

I was a professional linguist and have been a life-long foodie. I am now lucky enough to be retired and free to roam the beaches around my home at the tip of the Finistère (Brittany, France). Writing is occupying a larger place in my life, with this blog and a children's book in preparation. I shall feel much happier calling myself a writer when I have published a book. And so posts on OneFrenchWord will be published first as an e-book, my ambition being to see a glossy volume on French language and cuisine in print some day. So keep reading, and snap up the book when it appears!

17 responses »

  1. Oh, these look so good!!

  2. These look delicious: I really have to try them. Our French friends always come up with such wonderful amuse-bouches and I am desperate to outdo them. These might just do the trick. Particularly good for Valentine’s Day, of course, but can be done in any shape I suppose.

    • I don’t know just how wonderful their amuse-bouche are, but try stoned prunes wrapped in streaky bacon (you can freeze them at this stage) just quickly fried, or puff pastry cut into strips around mini cocktail sausages (freeze cooked), slices of smoked salmon spread with fresh goat’s cheese mashed with chopped watercress, rolled up and cut into 2cm pieces, or duck breast (aiguillettes de canard) cut into small pieces and put on skewers with tiny pieces of orange (with rind) and spring onions, then fried… just some ideas. Which I shall be publishing sooner or later!

      • Thanks for these ideas. I love prunes wrapped in bacon – devils on horseback, we used to call them – but I like the others, too, especially the duck skewers. Among one group of French people we socialise with, one man doesn’t like cheese, while another doesn’t like fish – so that rules out the smoked salmon! Yet a third doesn’t like sweet things, especially chocolate. It makes devising a dinner party menu a challenge.

        • What complicated neighbours! The good thing about the first two ideas is that you can make loads and freeze them, and just get out the right number when people are coming round. Sausage rolls are not well known in France and so make more of an impression than in England.

  3. originalapplejunkie

    Another recipe I will definitely have to try! :)

  4. Thank you! Yes, any shape will do,but make them small. I use a liqueur glass upturned as a cookie cutter, it’s about 3cm across. As I told Carol, above, after making the ones you see in the photo this afternoon, I proceeded to eat my way through half of them, they were particularly good, so that I didn’t need any supper when the time came!

  5. I’m going to make these shortly. I’m not going to tell DH, though, or he will eat them the minute they come out of the oven. I’ll make them, secrete some, and THEN tell him. I’ll post a picture tomorrow somewhere or other. Thanks for taking the time to create these wonderful posts.

  6. How can I possibly resist. You make them look and sound so delicious :)

  7. (Are you open to requests? Please, no sweetbreads….. ;) )

    • Well I’d prefer positive requests to negative ones, I love sweetbreads, but they are a pain to prepare, so I only do them once a year. But I don’t think I’ll put a recipe here as they are difficult to find, difficult to prepare and a lot of people don’t like them. Saved!
      But if there is any recipe, or any particular food you’d like to see more of, let me know, I’ll gladly oblige (sooner or later!).
      Winter is not really my favourite month for cooking, although I cook all the time of course. But I do like the season of tomatoes, figs, apricots, scallops, iced desserts, colour. It’ll be interesting to see the evolution of my blog over the year.
      And while i have your ear, I think the whole point of my blog is evolving, so that I don’t need to kill myself to do it every day. I shall be going to England in 10 days time for a week, and I think I may just not blog during that week, more especially because I shan’t easily have internet.

      • Figs! I ADORE FIGS. I think I blogged that last year. I agree with you, though, it shouldn’t take over a life. Last year I scheduled, so I did post every day. I found it easy, and allowed myself just a few minutes a day to blog. This year I have more going on, so it won’t be every day for me. Sadly, I’ve had less time to comment so far this year, but this new WordPress thingy certainly helps!

        • If it took me just a few minutes it would not be a problem. But it takes me exactly half my day. Shopping, cooking, photographing, writing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m taking it very seriously, but I want it to be more than just a challenge, just something i’m not allowed to drop out of. I want it to turn into something. I want to create something lasting; pretentious probably.

          • No, not pretentious at all. You are developing a RESOURCE! Who knows the final result? I began doing it last year just to get to know WordPress, having moved from Blogger, but as time went on Chittle Chattle was almost like a ‘coming out’ for my personality. I don’t need to do that every day this year. Keep up the good word.

  8. Love French cooking…so glad you liked my link….will follow this blog gladly.
    Please consider following mine…I only post weekly so as not to be overwhelming….but love French cooking, cooking, eating and painting….now to peruse!


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