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