This palmiers recipe evokes many memories of childhood breakfasts with my grandmother. Each morning I visited her, she’d turn the kettle on, brew strong tea, and take out a package of sweet, flaky heart-shaped palmiers wrapped in a beige plastic bag. We’d slowly eat our way through half the package, carefully dipping the cookies into the piping-hot milky tea. As we nibbled, bits of flaky pastry floated around in the tea, a delicious encouragement to drink it to the very dregs. Don’t forget the pinch of salt in the recipe. It makes a big difference in the taste—it helps to enhance the flavor of the palmiers so much that it’s the difference between good and great palmiers. And palmiers should always be great.–Kamran Siddiqi
LC Naming Conventions Note
Author Kamran Siddiqi notes, “You might know these cookies by the name of palmiers or even elephant ears.” Yep, we can vouch for that. However, he refers to these dainty, diminutive, addictive-as-heck little pastries as “butterfly cookies,” which he says has to do with “evoking sweet, resplendent daintiness.” It’s his God-given right to call this recipe whatever he pleases. Still, seeing as we’re quite smitten with all things French, to us this recipe for crisp, caramelized, flaky little lovelies will always mean one thing and one thing alone—palmiers.
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 50 M
- Makes about 24
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 1/2 recipe Quick Puff Pastry, or 8 ounces (225 grams) store-bought puff pastry sheet
- 1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Line an 18-by-13-inch (46-by-32 1/2-centimeter) rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- 2. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and salt.
- 3. Pour about 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar and salt mixture onto your work surface. Put the puff pastry on top of the sugar and salt and roll it out into a 10-by-13-inch (25-by-32 1/2-centimeter) rectangle about 1/2 inch (12 millimeters) thick. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top of the dough and gently run a rolling pin over the dough to press the sugar into it. Trim the edges of the dough with a sharp knife to create a neat rectangle.
- 4. Fold both long sides of the dough inward so they meet along the center of the dough. Then fold both long sides of the dough over once more so they meet in the middle again. Now fold 1 long side of the dough onto the other, making a long, narrow rectangle.
- 5. Transfer the pastry to the prepared baking sheet and stash it in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, just until the pastry has firmed.
- 6. Transfer the pastry back to your work surface (it’s okay if some sugar remains on the surface from earlier). Using a sharp paring knife, cut the pastry into slices 1/4 inch (6 millimeters) wide and arrange them, with 1 of the cut sides up, on the baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches (5 centimeters) apart.
- 7. Bake the palmiers for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove the sheet from the oven, flip the pastries with a thin metal spatula, and bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, until the sugar on the palmiers is caramelized on the second side. Trust us, you’re going to want to keep a super close watch on your palmiers, as they go from not quite perfection to pretty much scorched in what seems like seconds.
- 8. Transfer the sheet of parchment paper and the palmiers to a wire rack to cool completely, if you can resist.
- Sugar and Spice Palmiers
- Mix 1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon into the sugar and salt mixture in the recipe above.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Palmiers
- Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons store-bought or homemade pumpkin spice mix or 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg into the sugar and salt mixture in the recipe above.