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So, I said, “I love you all.” To prove it to you, I have made you heart-shaped cookies. Pronounced (paul-mee-ehh), these cookies are one of the quickest and easiest cookies in the world. You only need three ingredients: granulated sugar, salt, and frozen puff pastry, aka layers of butter fat and flour(that’s what puff pastry is, in case you were wondering). The sugar provides the caramelistic shell, and the salt balances the sweetness in the cookie by providing a round flavor. Try making this without the salt and trust me — you’ll quickly notice the difference.
Palmiers are crisp, crunchy, and sensationally sweet, and they’re the perfect snack with your afternoon coffee or tea. These are also freezable, so you can pop them in the oven when you have a study party (yes, I firmly believe that study parties with sweet little French cookies exist).
Please make sure you defrost your frozen puff pastry properly. Just place the package in the refrigerator overnight to defrost it slowly. Don’t put it on the countertop to defrost! The dough won’t be chilled by the time it’s finally thawed at room temperature. The butter in the puff pastry needs to be cold before it hits the oven so that the layers of puff pastry can beautifully bloom. If you’re making your own puff pastry, good lord, I salute you. If your dough feels too warm/soft before you place them in the oven, you will want to place them in the freezer for maybe 10-15 minutes just to chill the butter in the dough.
Another quick tip: After flipping the cookies over mid-way through baking and you notice your cookies have unraveled and lost their heart shapes, please use two spoons to pinch the cookies back into shape. If you don’t, please continue reading this post to see why it is a very important step.
Here’s what you need:
Two puff pastry sheets that have been properly defrosted, sugar, and salt.
Mix the sugar and salt together in a bowl, please.
Now cover a smooth surface evenly with 1/4 cup of that sugar/salt mixture.
Unfold the puff pastry sheet over the sugared surface.
Now evenly sprinkle another 1/4 cup of sugar over the top of the puff pastry sheet. Looks like a lot of sugar, huh? Surprisingly, these cookies aren’t TOO sweet!
Using a rolling pin (or a wine bottle; your choice), roll the sugar into the dough. You want to roll the dough into a 13 inch by 13 inch square. Make sure it is an even thickness all around.
Use that trusty old ruler from elementary school. C’est parfait! C’est 13 inch by 13 inch!
So now we gotta make the log to cut the cookies from. Grab two edges that are opposite each other and fold them until they meet in the center. Just like this.
Fold the same two edges again so they meet in the center.
Then fold one side over to the other, like how you would close a book (have you been using your Kindle too much that you have forgotten how to close a book?!). You should get something that looks like about 6 layers.
Now cut 1/2 inch slices. You can get anywhere between 20-24 cookies, approximately.
Remember all that sugah you still got in the bowl? Well, dunk the cookie slices in the sugar bowl, coat the cookies, and shake off the excess. Repeat all the above steps with the other sheet of puff pastry.
***So, if you’re making these to freeze for another time, go ahead and place the cookies on a baking sheet, making sure they don’t touch.***
***Place the tray in the freezer and let them harden up individually for about 20 minutes.***
After a 20-minute rest in the freezer, the cookies should each feel hard and they can be piled into a ziplock bag for whenever you want to bake them!
But I understand if you want to make these cookies immediately. After you have shaken off the excess sugar on each cookie, lay them on a lined baking sheet 2 inches apart from each other. You can use parchment paper to line the baking sheet, or use a silicone baking mat. This is very important. Don’t try to bake these cookies on just a greased baking sheet; they are messy! Also, if your cookies feel too soft or warm, you may want to pop the whole tray in the freezer so the butter can chill up again before you bake them. That can take about 10 minutes in the freezer.
Now pop the cookies in a hot oven at 400 degrees F. This is what they look like after 10-12 minutes; the time depends on how good of an oven you have. Basically, keep an eye on the cookies. After they look golden just like this, take them out of the oven immediately.
I need you to flip each cookie over immediately. They’re very, very, very hot. This is caramel, we are talking about here. Hot sugar will burn like a *%*$&#!@(^$ so please use two spoons, a spatula, a fork… whatever you have to use so that you don’t touch the cookies with your fingers.
Aren’t you glad you used a lined baking sheet? Look at that hot mess. Imagine cleaning an unlined baking sheet after this is all over. Okay, so say your cookies have unraveled and they look like brutally hideous claws. Use a spoon or whatever to push the cookies back into their heart shapes. This is the very important step I mentioned in the beginning. Do this carefully, but quickly because your cookies are really wanting to harden up. After all the cookies are flipped over and reshaped (if necessary), pop them back in the oven for anywhere between 3-6 minutes.
This is what they should look like. Perfectly golden, yellow, puffed, and beautiful. If you don’t keep an eye on your cookies, they can look a lot darker and caramel-y than this. Basically, you can burn your cookies if you don’t pay attention. So, PAY ATTENTION! Pay attention during the first 10 minutes of baking, and then the last 3 minutes of baking. I promise, they’re totally worth it.
After you take them out of the oven, lay them on a cooling rack and them them cool for about 10 minutes. You don’t want to burn yourself by eating these cookies too early. Hot sugar is insanely hot. If you don’t have a cooling rack, you can just cool them on the baking sheet. The sugar will harden, and the cookies will achieve their caramelistic, snappy exterior. You HAVE to try these cookies. They’re my favorite (besides Madeleines, but that’s another post ;D)
So as I said, please reshape your cookies so they look like hearts. Otherwise, your cookies will look foolish. But then again, you could totally make these for your next Home Improvement marathon party. Bon appétit!
Palmiers, aka Elephant Ear Cookies
Total time: 35 minutes
Prep: 20 min
Cook: 15 min
Yield: about 40 cookies
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon table salt
1 package (2 sheets total) puff pastry sheets, defrosted (recommended brand: Pepperidge Farm)
Adjust the rack of your oven to the middle level. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine sugar and salt in a bowl until mixed. Pour ¼ cup of sugar mixture on a flat surface, like a cutting board or smooth countertop. Start by unfolding one sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar that has been evenly spread out on the countertop. Sprinkle ¼ cup of sugar mixture evenly on top of the puff pastry. With a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 13 inch by 13 inch square so that the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on both sides of the dough. Fold two sides of the square towards the center so that the two edges meet in the exact middle of the square. Fold the same two sides again so that the two edges meet exactly in the middle of the dough. Finish by folding 1 half of the dough over other half, as you would close a book. The folded dough will create a log of 6 layers.
Slice the dough into 1/2-inch slices, making about 20-24 slices. Dip each side of the cookie slices in the bowl with the sugar mixture, shaking off excess sugar. Place the sliced cookies, cut side up, 2 inches apart from each other on the lined baking sheets. ***If freezing cookies for future use, please see note below.
Continue by evenly spreading additional ¼ cup of sugar on same surface as before. Unfold the second sheet of puff pastry and place it on the sugared surface, sprinkling the last remaining ¼ cup of sugar mixture, rolling it out with a rolling pin, and repeating the steps above. Slice the cookies and dip each slice in sugar, and continue to arrange on lined baking sheets. Discard remaining sugar on surface top.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, just until cookies have become lightly golden and sugar is beginning to caramelize to a light amber yellow color. Then quickly remove baking sheets from oven, and using a spatula or spoon, flip the cookies over on the other side, being careful not to touch cookies to prevent any burn injury. Reshape cookies with two spoons to make sure two “ears” of cookies are not unraveling. Place baking sheet back in oven and continue baking cookie for additional 3-6 minutes, or just until cookies are evenly golden, puffed, and lightly caramelized (an even, light amber brown color) on surface. Remove from oven and immediately transfer to a wire rack where they will continue to harden. Cool cookies for at least 10 minutes before serving at room temperature. Store cookies in an airtight container.
***To freeze cookies for future use, place entire tray of sliced arranged cookies in freezer until each cookie has been frozen. Place the frozen cookies into a zip-lock bag. To bake frozen cookies, arrange frozen cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies in an oven heated to 400 degree F, and follow baking directions above.