The holiday season means time with family and friends, and of course indulging in your favorite treats! Jason and I make our annual Christmas visit to see my family in the San Francisco Bay Area which is always a delight. One evening my brother Blandon and I reminisced on some of our favorite sweets growing up, and he asked if I knew a palmier cookie recipe also called elephant ear cookies.
Luckily for him, I made palmier cookies from scratch during culinary school. Because of the Christmas holiday I didn’t have time to make the puff pastry from scratch. Here is my instant gratification palmier cookie recipe.
The key to working with puff pastry is to make sure that if frozen, the dough is completely defrosted (overnight in the refrigerator if possible). If the dough starts to get sticky or soft, pop the dough back in the fridge to allow the butter in the dough to chill so it’s easier to work with. If the butter is allowed to melt into the dough, you won’t get the proper “puffed” texture.
After rolling out the dough slightly to even out the surface, sprinkle about 1/4 cup of cinnamon sugar mixture to evenly coat the surface of the dough.
Gently roll the rolling pin over the cinnamon sugar mixture to adhere as much of the sugar into the dough as possible. Carefully flip the dough over and repeat the process on the other side. Roll out the dough to approximately a 13 inch by 13 inch square. Rolling out the dough will yield a crisper cookie.
The key to the palmier heart cookie shape is evenly folding over each edge to the center of the dough, two folds to the center from each side. Chill the dough for 15 minutes so the butter can solidify and make cutting easier.
Slice the cookies into 3/8 inch pieces. You can also make cinnamon and sugar straws by cutting them into 3/4 inch pieces, then twisting them before baking them off.
Dip each side of the cookie into the reserved cinnamon sugar mixture, shaking off the excess sugar.
Place the cookies on a parchment paper lined sheet pan, at least 2 inches apart to allow for the cookies to expand. To create a more defined heart shape, separate the tops of the cookies to make “bunny ears”.
After baking the cookies at 400°F for 12 minutes, quickly flip the cookies over. The cookies will not be completely hardened, but this will help continue to caramelize, and they will become crispier as it bakes for 4-7 additional minutes.
When I made these at my brother’s house, the electric oven required an extra 6-7 minutes after flipping, whereas my gas oven at home only needed 5-6 minutes. Keep a close eye on the cookies. The sugars will continue to caramelize very quickly once it starts to turn golden brown!
After removing from the oven, immediately place each cookie on a cooling rack to stop the cooking process.
With only three ingredients, this simple, delicious palmier cookie recipe quickly brought back some nostalgic memories from my childhood. I enjoy the cinnamon flavor in the palmier cookie because it reminds me of churros, however, feel free to omit the cinnamon if you enjoy a simple yet elegant cookie instead!
Perfectly crisp, sweet and crunchy palmier cookie recipe made with lots of love. A big thanks to my brother Blandon for inspiring this recipe for one of our favorite childhood cookies!
If you like working with Puff Pastry and are looking for something else to try, check out my Persimmon Honey Ginger Tart.
TIP #1 – Make sure the puff pastry is completely defrosted before you use it. Otherwise, the dough will still have ice crystals and the cookie will not be as crunchy. The extra moisture may also seep out from the cookie during baking, creating caramel “puddles” around your cookie.
TIP #2 – Sugar caramelizes at 320°F and burns at 375°F. Keep a close eye on the color of the surface of the cookies once you flip them over and take them out when they just turn golden brown. Be careful, the sugars can quickly go from caramelized to burned!
TIP #3 – Why is puff pastry baked at such high temperatures? Since puff pastry is not leavened with yeast or chemical leavening agents, the pastry relies on high temperatures to allow for the moisture in the butter and dough to turn into steam, enabling the pastry separate and rise into hundreds of delicate and beautiful layers of flaky pastry.