Bella Cooks : French Navette Cookies

Navette is a well loved, sweet cookie that originated in Marseilles, France. It is shaped like a boat, and celebrates “the arrival of Saint Lazurus and the 2 “Marys,” Saint Mary Magdalene and Saint Martha, who arrived in Provence at Saint-Maries-del-la-Mer, on February 2nd, about 2000 years ago.” -Provence & Beyond

Several days ago, Bella asked if we could make some of these delicious, symbolic, French cookies. A dear friend of ours from Marseilles taught us how to make them about a year ago. It has taken us until now to work up the nerve to try and make them on our own.

I watched 3 or 4 video tutorials to refresh my memory about how to make Navettes before diving elbow deep into the mixing bowl! We braved the first batch a few days ago. They turned out so well that we made another batch today. Here is the recipe we devised after the lesson we had with our friend, and the video tutorials I watched. I’ve posted a video of Bella and I whipping up today’s batch. You can see it below the recipe!

Bella’s Navette Cookie Recipe

3 & 3/4 cups organic white flour

1 & 1/3 cups organic cane sugar

2 organic eggs

6 Tbsp. organic olive oil

3 & 1/4 Tbsp. organic orange blossom water

Zest of one organic orange

Pinch of salt (organic)

Organic Whole Milk (..used as a glaze to brush on the cookies right before baking them)


Note: You can use either a wire whisk, standing mixer, or hand mixer. All good. After you add the flour (which is the last ingredient to go into the mixture), you’ll need to use a wooden spoon, or your hands (..even better!).

Mix or whisk sugar and eggs until the mixture lightens in color and becomes a bit fluffy. Then add salt. Give it a mix again. Next, add the orange blossom water. Mix or whisk to combine. Add the zest of one orange. Mix / whisk again. Then add olive oil. Mix / whisk all together. Slowly add the flour, a half cup at a time, mixing with a wooden spoon to combine before adding more flour. Once the mixture starts to clean from the sides of the bowl when you stir, you can add a bit more flour (..put a little flour on your hands too) and start using your hands to bring the dough into a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough to make sure all the flour has been worked through. Gather the dough into a ball, and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

When you are ready to shape the navette cookies, prepare a baking tray by lining it with parchment paper. Then, take the dough out of the fridge, and preheat your oven to approx. 350 degrees ºF. Turn the cold dough out onto a very lightly floured surface. It should be in a round shape, and flattened a little so that it resembles a round disc of cheese. Cut the disc into equal parts (..approx. 1 heaping tablespoon per cookie — we showed this in our video). Start rolling the navette dough into a ball between your hands, and from there, into about a 4 inch long, horizontal cylinder (either between your hands, or on the counter top). Pinch the ends to make the boat effect. You can flatten slightly or just leave the top round. With a knife, make a cut from one end of the navette to the other, making sure to only cut through the very top of the dough. Run your knife under the navette and transfer to your baking sheet covered with parchment baking paper.

Dip a pastry brush in milk and gently brush the milk onto each navette before baking. Bake in the over for 10-20 minutes (..depending on your oven). The navette should be golden around the sides when done. I use a toothpick to check the navettes. If you put the toothpick in and it comes out clean, the cookies are ready. Take the cookies out of the oven, and allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a different container. Enjoy cookies warm, or store in a container. They will keep for up to a week after baking.

Special Note: Navette cookies are delicious as a simple, 8 ingredient cookie, but I have heard tale of people making them with candied orange pieces, or other such goodies. Bella wants to add chocolate chips to the next batch we make. I think she’s onto something with that idea! 😉

We hope you will try your hand at these wonderful little boat cookies! Let us know how it goes!

Bon appetit! x


Food for Thought

Hello again! We are redesigning many aspects of our lives right now, and it is taking priority over a lot of other things, like this blog for instance. Still, we love sharing, and will do our best to continue posting weekly.

Bella has started new reading units, one of which is Fables. I remember really loving fables as a child, and that love is being reawakened as I listen to Bella read. She currently has an issue to say certain words, but we break out the thesaurus and use substitute words when she gets stuck. What an adventure!

Our current entertainment, aside from going to the cinema, is to watch cooking shows. One of our favorites here in France is Chefclub. Very well done! They have plenty of naughty recipes, but also some delicious, lighter, more healthy fare. Their Facebook pages are a great place to enjoy a video or two. Bella is begging me to order their cookbooks. She especially loves the sucre themed book, of course.

One of the ways we are redoing our lives is our eating. We are raising the bar as high as we can regarding quality, and where we buy. We were already doing pretty well with the foods we eat, but after doing a bit more research, I see where we can do even better. Every little bit helps! I buy fresh organic veg, meat and bread as much as I can from the farmer’s market which cuts down substantially on the less sustainable foods of the big chain markets. That’s a blog for another day. From what I see, it is a real global challenge.

I feel good about my efforts to make foods from scratch that are usually boxed, packaged and full of additives. Especially the sweets that Bella wants to have. For example, we just learned how to make homemade marshmallows. It took us a few tries before we nailed it, but the 3rd time was the charm! Here is a picture of our successful batch (..raspberry and vanilla).

What’s cool about the marshmallow thing is that you can use honey instead of refined sugar, and even sneak in some probiotic powder during the process. You just have to eat them within 3 days if you do use probiotic powder. Marshmallows tend to disappear around here very quickly, so it isn’t even an issue. Here are the links I found for making homemade marshmallows. We sort of combined the ideas of all of them and made our own delicious batch!

Bella and I also had a bit of fun making some chocolate mousse trifles. Check ’em out below!

They were good and had just the right amount of sweet from the cookie. We used organic dark chocolate, organic cream and organic chocolate cookies in ours! Yum!

Here’s the link for the 3 Ingredient Chocolate Mousse Trifle:

Hope this blog post has given you some food for thought, and thought for food.

See you next week! x