Palmiers

Servings : 18 cookies

In this post: Everything you need for Palmiers

For many years I have had an intense passion for baking. I spend countless hours in the kitchen experimenting - excited to try new recipes, techniques, and flavors. Often I bake “just because”, and family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers have always been pleased to taste test my latest creations. Baking is such a central part of my life, that even when planning a dinner party or holiday feast (I do actually enjoy cooking savory dishes as well), I always start with the dessert and then work the rest of the menu around this final course. It is no surprise that I am often asked to bring dessert to a gathering or celebration. And, of course, when people visit they are expecting a freshly baked goodie to appear from my kitchen. Truth be told, there are many instances where I simply don’t have the time or energy to create an amazing sweet treat. To solve these moments when expectations and reality are not in sync, my secret weapon is to always have a box of frozen puff pastry tucked into my freezer. Puff pastry enables me to quickly and easily whip up a countless array of fresh pastries. Using ingredients that are readily available in my pantry and refrigerator, I can create amazing desserts that rival a French patisserie.

One of my favorite puff pastry creations is a classic French cookie - palmiers. Palmiers (pronounced “pal-mee-ei”) get their name from their signature shape that resembles a palm leaf. They are an elegant treat with an irresistible sugary crunch and layers of buttery goodness that melt in your mouth. Despite their stunning appearance, these cookies only require two ingredients - puff pastry and sugar. You can, of course, make your own puff pastry. However, I find that high quality frozen puff pastry works incredibly well. These impressive cookies look and taste like you spent hours making them, but are in fact a cinch to make.
Palmiers are equally unique in their simplicity and their elegance. They are also quite versatile. You can easily adjust the recipe to create variations on the classic. Try adding cinnamon, chopped nuts, or chopped dried fruits to the sugar filling. Alternatively, turn into a savory hor d'oeuvres by omitting the sugar and filling with pesto, olive tapenade, or parmesan cheese (a perfect addition to a charcuterie board). Elevate the presentation of the traditional palmiers by dipping half of each cookie in melted chocolate and sprinkling with chopped nuts or toasted coconut. Better yet, make an elegant dessert by sandwiching a layer of delicate raspberry chantilly cream between two palmiers and dusting the top with powdered sugar.

The classic method to shaping palmiers is to fold the dough multiple times to create their signature palm tree pattern. In this version, I roll both sides of the dough toward the middle to create a spiral effect. Either presentation is equally impressive - it really comes down to personal preference. Try both methods to see which works best for you.

There are a few key techniques to ensure the success of your palmiers’ bake. First, thaw the frozen puff pastry for only 30 minutes. The dough needs to be pliable enough to work with; however, you want the butter to remain cold. Next, use high quality, coarse sugar and be generous with it! My personal favorites for my palmiers’ filling are demerara and turbinado sugar. Both provide the necessary crunchy texture that creates a nice bite to the cookies and add a depth of flavor beyond granulated white sugar. Finally, bake cookies cold and at a high temperature. To create that crispy texture and perfect puff, you want to blast your cold cookies with high heat. If while cutting the cookies your dough becomes too warm, place the shaped cookies back in the refrigerator prior to baking.

These prepared cookies can be frozen and baked at a later date. Simply line cut cookies on a baking sheet and freeze. Store frozen cookies in an airtight container or freezer bag. Bake frozen cookies at 425 F for 14 minutes (or until golden brown), flipping the cookies halfway through the baking time.

Although best eaten the day they are baked, palmiers can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to two days.

Palmiers are the perfect go to bake for just about any occasion - especially the last minute unexpected guest or request to bring a dessert to a gathering. Their simplicity and versatility can alleviate the pressure of baking something from scratch during the busy holiday season. Their universal appeal makes them an easy option to serve to a crowd. Their elegance gives them the appearance of effort despite their easy execution. Purchase a box of puff pastry, grab some sugar, and create an impressive freshly baked cookie in just a few minutes!

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup demerara, turbinado, or granulated sugar

Instructions:

  1. Thaw puff pastry until pliable but still cool - about 30 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle a clean work surface generously with sugar. Place puff pastry on top of sugar and roll into a 10” by 12” rectangle with an ⅛ to ¼ inch thickness.
  3. Generously sprinkle more sugar in an even layer on the surface of the dough. Use a rolling pin to gently press the sugar into the dough.
  4. Roll one shorter side of the pastry dough towards the middle, keeping the roll as tight as possible. Roll the other shorter side of the pastry dough towards the middle, keeping the roll as tight as possible. The two rolled sides should touch in the center of the dough. Press the two sides gently together.
  5. Place the tube of pastry dough on a parchment lined baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  7. Remove the rolled dough from the refrigerator and slice into ½ inch thick cookies. Place cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet 2 inches apart. These cookies will spread when baking so be sure to leave some space in between them. Gently press each cookie down slightly so that they hold together while baking. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with more sugar.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes (or until golden brown). Turn cookies over half way through the baking process. If your cookies start to brown too quickly, reduce heat to 375 F and continue baking until cooked through.
  9. Remove from the oven and place cookies on a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Enjoy!

Paula

Crumble Crate is the culmination of years of experimenting with cooking and baking in my home kitchen. Since I was a small child, I found a simple pleasure in creating fresh delicious treats and sharing them with my family and friends. As life became more complicated, the basic task of baking in my kitchen became an even more critical and comforting sanctuary.

I want to share this joy of baking with you so that you too can experience the bliss you feel when you create and share fresh baked goodies with your loved ones. My goal is for us to explore baking together and take the stress out of the process so that you can decompress and learn to find refuge in your kitchen. I can’t wait to begin this baking journey with each of you!