French Palmier Cookies

4.95 from 57 votes
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Perfectly crisp, sweet, and crunchy palmier cookie recipe made with lots of love. With only 3 ingredients, this simple palmier cookie recipe can quickly bring back some nostalgic memories from your childhood.

French palmier cookie recipe.

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.

Rolling the palmier cookie dough out.

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.

Sprinkling sugar on the palmier cookie dough.

After rolling out the dough slightly to even out the surface, sprinkle about ¼ cup of the cinnamon-sugar mixture to evenly coat the surface of the dough.

Using rolling pin to smash sugar into 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.

Folding the puff pastry over sugar.

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.

Slicing the palmier dough into cookie slices.

Slice the cookies into ⅜ inch pieces. You can also make cinnamon and sugar straws by cutting them into ¾ inch pieces, then twisting them before baking them off.

Dunking the cookie slice into more sugar.

Dip each side of the cookie into the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture, shaking off the excess sugar.

Fold the top of the cookie dough into heart shapes.

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”.

Palmier cookies on sheet tray fresh out the oven.

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!

French palmier cookie.

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.

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!

Recipe Science

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. The 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!

Perfectly crisp, sweet and crunchy palmier cookie recipe made with only 3 ingredients.
4.95 from 57 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 24 servings
Course Dessert
Cuisine French

Ingredients  

  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 package puff pastry sheets, thaw according to package, 17.3 ounces, 2 sheets (Pepperidge Farm®)

Instructions 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Combine the sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  • Unfold 1 defrosted pastry sheet on a piece of parchment paper (the puff pastry should be refrigerator temperature, and completely defrosted). With a rolling pin, roll out the puff pastry sheet in both directions to create a slightly flatter and even surface.
  • Evenly cover the surface of the puff pastry with ¼ cup of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Using the rolling pin, roll over the sugar surface; this helps the mixture adhere to the puff pastry.
  • Carefully flip the pastry over (the excess sugar mixture will come off), and repeat the step on the other side, gently rolling the sugar into the surface of the dough. You want an even covering of the sugar mixture on both sides of the pastry. Roll the dough out to approximately a 13” by 13” square.
  • Fold the long sides of the puff pastry towards the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half to resemble a closed book; this will result in 6 layers.
  • Chill the dough for 15 minutes to allow the butter in the puff pastry to harden slightly before cutting and prevent melting into the dough. Repeat the process with the second sheet of puff pastry.
  • Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices. This should yield approximately 24 cookies per puff pastry sheet.
  • Dip each side of the sliced dough into the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Place the cookies cut-side up, 2-inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. For a more heart-shaped cookie, slightly separate the tops of the cookie dough to resemble bunny ears.
  • Bake the cookies for 12 minutes, then turn over with a spatula and bake another 4 minutes, or until lightly caramelized on the surface (this may require 5 to 7 minutes depending on your oven).
  • Make sure to check after each additional minute because caramelization will occur quickly. The cookies are done baking when both sides feel hard on the surface (they will continue to harden as they cool), you want the texture to be crunchy and crispy. Immediately transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

Notes

  • Store the cookies in an airtight container.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 24 servings
Calories 57kcal (3%)Carbohydrates 8g (3%)Protein 1g (2%)Fat 2g (3%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 0.003gMonounsaturated Fat 0.002gSodium 34mg (1%)Potassium 3mgFiber 1g (4%)Sugar 4g (4%)Vitamin C 0.2mgCalcium 10mg (1%)Iron 0.5mg (3%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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35 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Linda says

    Hi. Due to the horrific conditions in the bay AREA CA I want LARGE PALMIERS. Whole Foods are no longer in business due to laziness and is NOT a store and I stopped going there Jan-20.
    Do I role pastry at short end to get LRG palmiers? Do not want any small.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I think if you want large palmiers, you could fold in for the short side, but I would still do the same amount of folds, they will just be wider when baked. Give more space on the baking sheet for expansion. I haven’t tried making the larger size so I’d love to hear your feedback!

  2. Christine says

    Hi there from Australia. I remember these as a young teenager in the 1960’s however they had passion fruit icing and I don’t recall the cinnamon sugar. Do you think they would work without the cinnamon sugar? then iced when old

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I recommend at least adding the sugar so that the cookies caramelize. It will just taste like savory and crispy puff pastry without the sweetener. You can add the icing after it cools. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Lisa says

    This was my first time making these. Your detailed instructions, photos & tips led me to complete success! They are crispy and chewy and heavenly not to mention easy and quick. The ease & quickness of the recipe will help me so much in creating my annual treats. These will now be a proud part of my annual christmas cookie trays for family & friends. Thanks so much for this recipe and for sharing it with us all!

  4. Nicki says

    Hi Jessica – being stuck at home due to Covid-19 and needed something sweet. I came across your recipe and made them this morning and added pecans. So good! Only problem is that I live alone – how many calories do you think 48 have if I eat them all? LOL! Will give some to the neighbours to help keep the calories down. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Haha, great job Nicki! Did you add chopped pecans? I need to try that! You’re so sweet to share with others.

  5. Cara says

    I made these but my palmiers didn’t “grow” as much. 🙁 it looks tasty tho. Do you think it’s the puff pastry I used that’s the problem or I did something wrong?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      I would say it could be the brand or age of the dough. Or if when you cut it some of the layers stook together. I use Pepperidge farm puff pastry.

  6. LeeCopper says

    Hi Jessica, just one question. we don’t get puff pastries where i stay. can you please tell me how to do with plain flour. or from the scratch. Thank you so much

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Lee! It’s pretty challenging to make because it’s a lamination technique, a whole day process. Is there any way to order the puff pastry online?

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