Palmiers cookies, also known as “elephant ear cookies” or “palm leaves,” are a type of French pastry that features a distinctive palm leaf or heart shape. These cookies are made from puff pastry that’s rolled in layers of sugar, creating a caramelized, crispy, and flaky texture. Palmiers are loved for their simple yet elegant appearance and their sweet, buttery flavor.
The city of Paris is always especially beautiful on Christmas Eve. I remember this one night in particular; after finishing my deliveries, I decided to take a stroll through the streets and soak in the festive atmosphere. As I walked, the scent of freshly baked pastries wafted toward me, beckoning me to explore.
I followed my nose to a charming bakery and peered inside. The bakers were hard at work, rolling and folding delicate layers of pastry with precision and skill. I hesitated for a moment, unsure if I should interrupt their work. But before I knew it, one of the bakers noticed me and warmly invited me inside.
As I entered the door, the bakers greeted me with smiles and a plate of Palmier cookies. I had never tasted one before, but the sweet aroma and delicate layers of pastry were irresistible. I savored each bite, relishing the moment of unexpected joy in the heart of Paris.
What Are Palmier Cookies?
Palmier cookies, also known as palm leaves or elephant ears, are a sweet, crisp French pastry. While not a classic cookie, they can be eaten similarly – with a cup of cocoa or coffee.
Palmiers are made by rolling out pastry with a rolling pin and layering and folding them with sugar before baking them.
Granulated Sugar: used to sprinkle on the pastry sheet to give it sweetness and caramelization. If you prefer a less sweet option, you can substitute brown sugar or honey.
Ground Cinnamon: Gives the palmiers a warm, comforting flavor. You can substitute it with other spices such as nutmeg or cardamom for a different flavor profile.
Egg: The beaten egg is used to brush on the pastry to help seal it together and give it a shiny finish. If you are allergic to eggs, you can use non-dairy milk like almond or soy milk instead. Alternatively, you can skip this step altogether, but the palmiers may not have as crisp and shiny a finish
Homemade Or Store-Bought Puff Pastry For Palmiers?
You can use either homemade or store-bought puff pastry.
Homemade puff pastry requires significant time and effort to prepare, as it involves multiple layers of butter and dough that need to be rolled and folded repeatedly.
On the other hand, store-bought puff pastry is a convenient and time-saving option readily available in most grocery stores.
The choice between homemade or store-bought puff pastry ultimately comes down to personal preference and the amount of time and effort you are willing to invest in the recipe.
What Is The Best Sugar To Use For Making Palmiers?
When making palmiers, granulated sugar is the most commonly used sugar. This is because it dissolves easily and provides a crisp caramelization to the pastry when baked.
However, you can experiment with different types of sugar to achieve different flavors and textures. Brown sugar or turbinado sugar can be used as a substitute for granulated sugar to add a deeper flavor to the palmiers.
Powdered sugar can also be used as a substitute, but it will produce a different texture than granulated sugar, resulting in a softer and more delicate cookie.
1 sheet of store-bought rough puff pastry
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mix the granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.
Roll out the sheet of rough puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12×16 inches.
Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the pastry sheet.
Starting from the long edge closest to you, roll up the pastry tightly into a log. Chill the log for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Brush the beaten egg over the outside of the log to seal it and help it stick together.
Cut the log into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
Place the slices cut-side down onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, leaving about 2 inches between each one.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the palmiers are golden brown and puffed up.
Allow the palmiers to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Tips For Homemade Palmiers
Use cold ingredients: Ensure that your butter and water are cold before making your puff pastry. This will help create flaky layers.
Roll out the dough evenly: When rolling out the dough, make sure it is of an even thickness throughout. The uneven dough can lead to uneven baking and unattractive-looking palmiers.
Chill the dough properly: After folding it into layers, chill it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This will help firm up the butter and prevent the pastry from spreading too much during baking.
Experiment with different flavors: While traditional palmiers are made with sugar and cinnamon, you can experiment with flavors like chocolate, orange zest, nuts, or fruit. Try using different spices or fillings to create your unique twist on this classic pastry.
Use a sharp knife: When slicing the dough, use a sharp knife to ensure clean cuts. Dull knives can compress the layers and make the pastry less flaky.
How To Store Classic French Palmiers
Allow them to cool completely on a wire rack after baking. Once cooled, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
If you prefer to keep them fresh for longer, you can store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. To freeze, wrap the palmiers individually in plastic wrap and place them in a resealable freezer bag.
When ready to serve, thaw them at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before enjoying them. Avoid storing palmiers in the refrigerator, as this can cause them to become soggy.
Can You Freeze Homemade Palmiers?
Yes, you can freeze homemade palmiers. To freeze, allow the baked palmiers to cool completely, then place them in an airtight container or resealable freezer bag.
You can also wrap each palmier in plastic before placing them in the container or bag. Label the container with the date and freeze it for up to 2-3 months.
What are palmiers made of?
Palmiers are made of puff pastry dough rolled out into a rectangle and sprinkled with sugar. The pastry is then folded into layers, sliced into individual cookies, and baked until golden brown and crispy.
How do you fold a palmier?
Sprinkle more sugar on top of the folded dough, then fold the dough in half along the center gap, pressing down lightly to seal.
Repeat the process by folding the dough in half again, then wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator before slicing it into individual cookies.
Are palmiers made from puff pastry?
Yes, palmiers are typically made from puff pastry or rough puff pastry. You can use both frozen puff pastry dough and frozen rough puff pastry.Try this recipe if you want to make puff pastry dough from scratch.
- 1 sheet store-bought rough puff pastry
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 egg beaten
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix the granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl.¼ cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt
- Roll out the sheet of rough puff pastry onto a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 12×16 inches.1 sheet store-bought rough puff pastry
- Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the pastry sheet.
- Starting from the long edge closest to you, roll up the pastry tightly into a log. Chill the log for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Brush the beaten egg over the outside of the log to seal it and help it stick together.1 egg
- Cut the log into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
- Place the slices cut-side down onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, leaving about 2 inches between each one.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the palmiers are golden brown and puffed up.
- Allow the palmiers to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.