Need a little something sweet and crunchy in the afternoon? How about the easiest biscuits you could ever dream of? Palmiers are delightful puff pastry cookies that crisp and caramelise to perfection. All you need is a few ingredients (puff pastry and sugar) to make these wonderful little treats!
Palmiers is French for palm trees and they are also called elephant ear pastries although to me, they look like hearts and I think that's why I like them so much too. This delightful crispy buttery cookie's origins may be disputed-some say they were invented in Vienna but there are also a version in Germany where they are called Schweineohren or there are Spanish Palmeritas.
I've had great palmiers and I've had not so great ones. The ones that I haven't liked have been dry and stale tasting. But I promise these fall into the delicious category. Like recipes with just a few ingredients, that means that the ingredients that you use have to be good. You absolutely need butter puff pastry. Most regular puff pastry contains margarine or vegetable fats and not butter but these really benefit from the butter flavour.
Most palmier recipes are ridiculously simple-roll puff pastry in sugar and bake. Mine is a bit different not because I was trying to be fancy but because I was being unfancy (I swing between the two). You see I hate wasting things and I was doing a spring clean. After I made a batch of halloumi donuts (have you made these yet? They're amazing!) I saved the cinnamon sugar. There was a bit of oil from the donuts in the sugar and I made a batch of this using the puff pastry scraps I had in the freezer during my spring clean (these cookies are also very economical). I also used some raw sugar to upp the crunch factor and these had the most beautiful caramelisation on them.
I really don't want to sound full of myself but these really do make the best palmiers I have tried. I think it's the combination of the crispy caramel and the raw sugar with a touch of cinnamon. I gave these as thank you gifts and one of the lovely people that received them told me that she had eaten the whole bag of them. I totally understood how it was hard to stop at one because I had eaten six in one go while wearing my activewear at the kitchen bench. As I say I swing between fancy and unfancy especially when it comes to eating.
So tell me Dear Reader, are you fancy or unfancy? Do you do a spring clean of your pantry and freezer every year? Do you like palmiers? And do you see hearts or ears?
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An Original Recipe by Lorraine Elliott
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Makes 20 palmiers
- 1 sheet butter puff pastry, thawed in fridge
- 1/2 cup white sugar (not caster or superfine)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon oil
- 1/4 cup raw sugar
Rolling the pastry in the sugar
Step 1 - Preheat oven to 210C/410F and line a baking tray with parchment. Mix the white sugar, cinnamon, salt and oil in a bowl (don't use the raw sugar yet). Take a baking tray and spread the sugar mixture out evenly on the tray around the same size as the puff pastry. Press down the puff pastry and use a rolling pin to press the sugar into the pastry. You want it completely covered in sugar. Carefully turn over the pastry and fill in the gaps with the raw sugar. Repeat for both sides so that they pastry is completely covered in sugar.
The cinnamon sugar covered pastry
Pastry folded over once
And then twice
Step 2 - Take the square of puff pastry and fold it to the centre. Fold towards the centre again and then roll the outside in any remaining sugar. Slice into 5mm/1/4 inch slices. Place these cut side down on the parchment and you can reshape these so that they look a bit more heart shaped. I also had a tiny bit of sugar left so I sprinkled it on top. Bake for 15 minutes. Increase heat to 220C/428F and bake for another 5 minutes until dark golden and caramelised.