Have you ever had a palmier? This little French pastry, otherwise known as an elephant ear, is made with puff pastry, but without yeast. Consumers commonly order the crispy and buttery cookies in bakeries and breakfast shops, but feel too intimidated to make them on their own. But have no fear, because palmiers are surprisingly simple to make, and there are a number of tutorials on the web that teach you specifically how to perfect them. We’re highlighting 6 recipes that we find especially helpful, and ones that accommodate bakers at all skill levels. While some of these recipes will yield palmiers that are completely homemade, others enlist help from shortcuts. Whatever the method, we can promise they make perfectly sweet palmiers.
1. Palmiers With Store-bought Pastry Puff
First up is an especially simple palmier formula from Anne Burrell, highlighted on Food Network. Anne enlists the help of frozen puff pastry, helping her ingredients list total only 4 ingredients: sugar, cinnamon, orange zest, and puff pastry. We think you can manage that. Preheat your oven and get ready to pull out your rolling pin. This recipe yields about 36 cookies that bake for less than 20 minutes.
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Zest of 1 orange
- ½ package frozen puff pastry, thawed
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest in a bowl. Sprinkle ½ the sugar mix on a clean work surface. Lay the puff pastry on top of the sugar and sprinkle the remaining sugar mix on top of the pastry.
Using a rolling pin, roll the sugar into the dough, and roll the dough into an even rectangle, about ⅛-inch thick. Working from the short ends of the rectangle, roll up each end of the dough to meet in the middle. Lay the rolls on top of each other and gently press to secure. Wrap the dough in plastic and let sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Cut the dough into slices that are ¼-inch thick. Lay the slices on 2 parchment paper or silpat-lined sheet trays and bake in the preheated oven for 12 minutes. Turn the slices over and bake for another 6 to 7 minutes. When done, the cookies should be golden brown.
2. Petite Palmiers
You also have the option of making your palmiers sweet and petite. Follow these instructions from The Kitchn and see how. This recipe also calls for one sheet of thawed puff pastry, but it deviates from the aforementioned recipe when it also enlists butter and sugar, leaving out cinnamon and orange zest. Try The Kitchn’s spin on the palmier and see which crispy cookie recipe you like best.
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- roughly ¼ cup granulated or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
Directions: Unwrap the puff pastry and lay it on a clean work surface. Cover to prevent the dough from drying out and let it thaw until completely pliable but still cool. Sprinkle the sugar over the dough in a single thick coating. Run a rolling pin over the pastry to press the sugar into the dough and help it adhere. Tightly roll both sides of the pastry inward so they meet in the middle. Wrap the rolled log in plastic wrap and refrigerate 20 to 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a rack in the middle position. Use a serrated knife to slice the roll into cookies roughly ⅓ to ½ inch thick. Arrange the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, allowing 2 inches of expansion room between each one. Flatten each cookie slightly using the bottom of a cup. Brush each cookie with melted butter and sprinkle a little more sugar over the tops.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool 10 minutes on the cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.
3. Palmiers with Homemade Puff Pastry
And if you’re feeling especially ambitious, try this palmier recipe from Baking Bites that has you making your own puff pastry. Everything tastes better homemade, and these cookies are no exception. Set aside some time in your kitchen and master the method of homemade palmiers.
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ⅔ cup cake flour
- 10 ounces butter, divided
- 1¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ to 1 cup cold water
- 1 recipe for puff pastry
- lots of sugar
Directions: Take 8 ounces of butter and shape into a block roughly ¼ inch thick. Press butter together well and refrigerate.
Combine flours and salt in food processor. Pulse lightly to combine. Add remaining 2 ounces of butter and cut in until dough looks like sand. With the motor running, add ¾ cup water. If dough has not come together, add remaining water slowly. Flatten dough into a smooth disk, wrap and chill for 1 hour.
On a well floured surface, roll dough out into a large circle. Set butter block in the center and fold up the extra dough as though you were folding an envelope: fold over the sides, the fold the top down and the bottom up. Turn the seam side down and roll until envelope has quadrupled in size. Use short strokes, keeping the pressure as even as possible, and lots of flour. Fold the dough in thirds as though you were folding a business letter. Wrap and refrigerate dough for at least one hour and up to two days. To make turns 2, 3 and 4, place chilled dough seam side down on a well-floured surface and roll out again into a large rectangle. Try to keep the dough as evenly rectangular as possible. Fold as you would a business letter. Wrap and chill.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out your puff pastry on a floured surface until it is as thin as you can get it. Cover generously with sugar. Starting at the right side, roll the pastry until it reaches the center. Repeat with the left side. Cut roll into ½ inch segments. Spread more sugar onto your work surface. Fold each segment into a V shape and press it down into the sugar, flattening it with the palm of your hand. Use lots of sugar. Place each palmier on baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.
4. Chocolate Palmiers
Next up: Chocolate Palmiers from Just a Pinch. Don’t worry, we’re back to using store-bought puff pastry, and this time, we’re also enlisting chocolate. Calling for cocoa powder, semisweet chocolate, butter, and sugar, it’s easy to tell this palmier recipe is a good one, and luckily, you don’t have to wait more than 30 minutes of baking and prep time to prove your point.
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 ounces semisweet dark chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 5 ounces frozen puff pastry, thawed
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Directions: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt the butter in a small pan over low heat. Add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool. Dust a work surface with powdered sugar and place the pastry on top. Roll out into a 12 by 10-inch rectangle. Trim the pastry so that the edges are straight.
Fold the pastry in half lengthwise to mark the center and unfold again, leaving a mark down the middle. When the chocolate mixture is thick and cool, pour it onto the pastry, working quickly so that it doesn’t set. Use a spatula to spread the chocolate evenly over the pastry. Sift the cocoa over the top.
Begin to roll the sides of the pastry rectangle to the middle, where the mark is. Repeat for the other end, until it meets the already rolled half. Roll carefully in the remaining powdered sugar and transfer to a plate. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. When firm, cut across the rolls in ¼ inch thick slices. Place on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them 1 inch apart. Bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Place on wire racks and let cool completely.
5. Prosciutto Palmiers
Moving over to the savory side of things, we’re highlighting these Prosciutto Palmiers from Chow. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the puff pastry performs well with salty prosciutto, too. With this recipe, the thawed pastry sheets gets a thick layer of tomato paste before getting loaded up with prosciutto and Gruyère cheese. Bake the tasty treats until they get flaky in the oven and try to transport yourself to French pastry heaven.
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon water
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- 1 frozen puff pastry, thawed according to the package directions
- 3 ounces very thinly sliced prosciutto
- ½ cup shredded Gruyère cheese
Directions: Combine the tomato paste and water in a small bowl; set aside. Generously dust a work surface with flour. Place the thawed pastry on the prepared work surface, dust the pastry lightly with flour, and, using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, trim it into a 10-by-13-inch rectangle.
Using a pastry brush, coat the surface of the pastry evenly with the tomato-water mixture, using all of it. Arrange the prosciutto slices in a single layer over the tomato paste, overlapping slightly. Fold each of the long sides of the pastry in toward the center until they meet. Fold again along the center seam, as if closing a book. Wrap the roll in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. When the pastry roll is ready, remove it from the refrigerator and discard the plastic wrap. Using a serrated knife, trim about ½ inch off each end. Cut the roll crosswise into ½-inch slices.
Arrange the slices on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch apart. You should have about 12 palmiers on each sheet. Bake until the palmiers are lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven and flip the palmiers over with a flat spatula. Return to the oven and bake until deep golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Remove the palmiers to a wire rack to cool completely.
6. Palmiers with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Homemade Pesto
Here’s one last recipe from Ina Garten that demonstrates the versatility of palmiers made with puff pastry. These palmiers with sun-dried tomatoes and pesto spell out savory perfection, and are the perfect appetizers to serve at any occasion. The salty and savory treats can easily be prepared ahead of time, and then popped in the oven minutes before your guests arrive. Hand them out when the palmiers are hot out of the oven and prepare for your eaters to be impressed at your level of pesto palmier sophistication.
- 1 package frozen Pepperidge Farm puff pastry, defrosted
- ¼ cup prepared pesto, store bought or homemade (recipe follows)
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese, such as Montrachet
- ¼ cup finely chopped sundried tomatoes in oil, drained
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- Kosher salt
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup pignolis
- 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
- 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1½ cups good olive oil
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Directions: Lightly flour a board and carefully unfold one sheet of puff pastry. Roll the pastry lightly with a rolling pin until it’s 9½ by 11½-inches. Spread the sheet of puff pastry with half the pesto, then sprinkle with half the goat cheese, half the sundried tomatoes, and half the pine nuts. Sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt.
Working from the short ends, fold each end halfway to the center. Then fold each side again towards the center until the folded edges almost touch. Fold one side over the other and press lightly. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat the entire instructions for the second sheet of puff pastry using the remaining ingredients. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the prepared rolls of puff pastry in ¼ inch thick slices and place them face up 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 14 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.
Homemade Pesto: Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.