Growing up I knew these cookies as Elephant Ears. And the ones that I got from the bakery—once a week, only after ballet—felt about as large as the real thing. While this version is much more dainty (and thus in my mind more deserving of a pretty French name) they still remind me of childhood.
Palmiers are made from puff pastry, which makes them exceptionally tender and flaky. I love the thin sugar glaze and how each bite dissolves in your mouth, leaving a smooth vanilla aftertaste. But most of all they're so fun to look at and to eat, like little sugar butterflies flitting into my mouth.
Note: These cookies must be started at least one week before you are ready to eat them.
Adapted from Sarabeth's Bakery
- Yield:about 30 cookies
- Active time: 30 minutes
- Total time:one hour 15 minutes, plus 1 week to freeze dough
- 1 pound puff pastry dough, chilled but not frozen
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- Flour for rolling
On a large, lightly floured work surface, roll puff pastry into an approximately 17 by 13 inch rectangle, 1/8th of an inch thick. Transfer dough to a baking sheet.
Clean flour from work surface and sprinkle 1/3 cup of sugar over an area that equals the size of the puff pastry rectangle. Place pastry over sugar. Sprinkle another 1/3 cup of sugar over the puff pastry.
Use a rolling pin to gently press sugar into puff pastry. Trim pastry into a 16 by 12 inch rectangle, with long side at top.
Fold top edge of dough down 2 inches. Fold bottom edge of pastry up 2 inches. Repeat, alternating edges, until sides are 1/4 inch apart.
Fold pastry in half at the gap, creating one long strip. Lightly press down on strip to compress layers.
Use a rolling pin to gently roll out length of pastry to 24 inches. Cut dough in half forming two 12 inch long strips.
Cover each strip of dough with plastic wrap and freeze for at least one week and up to one month.
The night before you want to bake cookies, take dough out of freezer and let defrost in refrigerator overnight.
When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Place 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Unwrap dough and use a sharp knife to cut each dough strip into 1/2 inch wide pieces. Dip each piece in sugar to coat.
Place cookies cut side up on the baking sheets and bake until golden, about 30 minutes.