I grew up eating packages of two-bite palmiers we bought at the supermarket*. Also, giant palmiers from the bakery that were the size of my face and which I devoured with bliss, savoring the textural differences between the crusty, caramelized rim, and the doughy, buttery folds in the center of each swirl.
Palmiers — litterally “palm trees”, a.k.a. elephant ears in English — are heart-shaped cookies made by rolling up puff pastry with a generous sprinkling of sugar, slicing that up, and baking until golden brown and caramelized.
When you’re ready to cash in your baker’s bonus, all you need to do is roll out the dough thinly, using sugar to prevent sticking as you normally would flour.
Although you can certainly set out to make palmiers from scratch, they are the most rewarding use for scraps of puff pastry, so they are typically a byproduct of some other baking venture.
It is unthinkable, under any circumstances, to throw out scraps of dough, but that sentiment is especially vivid when you’ve made the puff pastry yourself, however quick and easy the recipe is. The idea then is to stack up any bits and pieces you have to form a rough block, and plop that into the fridge to deal with later.
After a few days, when you’re ready to cash in your baker’s bonus, all you need to do is roll out the dough thinly, using sugar to prevent sticking as you normally would flour. This effectively embeds a coating of sugar into the (otherwise unsweetened) puff pastry, which will meld with the butter in the oven and spread the most tempting smells through your house.
As the palmiers bake, you’ll be able to see the butter and sugar bubbling to caramelization, which will make them impossibly crisp and buttery once cooled. And this is when you’ll truly understand the wisdom of baking these from scraps: it would just be too dangerous to have a full batch around.
Join the conversation!
Have you made palmiers before? What’s your favorite use for scraps of dough of any kind?
* Sadly, these turn out to be an excellent source of hydrogenated fat.
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- scraps of puff pastry, such as this quick and easy puff pastry
- unrefined blond cane sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Stack the scraps of puff pastry on top of one another, arranging them to form as neat a block as you can. Pat the top and sides to even them out.
- Sprinkle sugar on a clean work surface, and place the block of pastry on top.
- Sprinkle with more sugar and roll out the pastry as thinly as you're comfortable working with. Add a little more sugar as needed underneath and on top of the pastry if it starts to stick to the counter or rolling pin.
- Roll the pastry in from both sides until they meet in the center.
- Use a sharp knife to cut slices, about 1 cm (1/3 inch) thick, and place them sideways on the prepared baking sheet, giving them a little room to expand.
- Insert in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Let cool on a rack before serving.
No exact quantities are given because the recipe is meant to be adapted to the amount of scraps you have to use up. The amount of sugar is also eyeballed; use the minimum amount needed to roll out the dough.