Recently I was helping a friend with a menu plan for an event she was heading. When we got to dessert, she wanted some cookies to go with tea and coffee. Immediately I suggested palmiers. Her reaction: “uch, women see puff pastry and they run in the other direction, it screams of calories”. Obviously, I am not a real woman! I find that thin crispy palmiers have an addictive quality. In fact, that’s how I excuse my polishing off the entire batch of the ones I just made. (of course, I also used the “they weren’t quite perfect” excuse).
Palmiers, for those of you unfamiliar or with a fear of puff pastry, are also known as palm leaves or elephant ears. They are made from puff pastry coated in sugar and rolled tightly. As they bake, the sugar caramelizes, leaving you with sweet, crispy goodness! You can play with the flavour of your cookie by adding various spices to the sugar. I’ve made these using a whole slew of my favourite spices. If you do not own some of them, simply omit. Your palmiers will still be delicious!
Yield: 3-4 Dozen
1 pkg. Store bought puff pastry *
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 2 frozen ginger cubes)
1/4 cup water
1. Combine 2/3 cup sugar with all the spices.
2. Sprinkle a sheet of baking paper with some of the sugar mixture.
3. Roll puff pastry as thin as you can on the baking paper coated with sugar.
4. Sprinkle dough liberally with sugar mixture and press into dough with rolling pin.
5. Cut dough into pieces 7” wide. Mark the dough half way through (at 3.5”) but do NOT cut through.
6. Working from one long side at a time, fold dough in half once till the marking and then again in half. Repeat on other side. Your dough should look like an open book. Now fold both sides together to form a log.
7. Roll dough in remaining sugar.
8. Wrap logs tightly in baking paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
9. While dough is refrigerating, bring brown sugar, maple syrup, ginger and water to a simmer in a pot. Whisk until sugar has dissolved and continues to simmer for 1-2 minutes.
10. Allow syrup to cool.
11. Preheat oven to 375 and arrange racks in the upper portion of the oven.
12. When dough is firm, slice into 1/3” slices and lay on pan 1 ½“ apart.
13. Brush cookies with syrup and bake for 20 minutes. Half way through the baking time, rotate your pans from top to bottom shelves and from front to back.
14. These cookies will burn quickly because of the sugar content, so watch for a nice golden color and adjust your baking time.
15. Let cool and store in an airtight baking container.
*My local bakery is quite accommodating and will sell me a sheet of puff pastry already rolled out. It saves lots of time, it’s rolled much thinner than I can get mine, and I find the taste of fresh dough far superior.