Palmier cookies are light, airy, crispy French cookies with layers of flaky goodness. My favorite part is the golden-brown, caramelized outer crust with its delightful crunch.
They look like they came straight from a fancy bakery, but it’s really just a few simple ingredients and puff pastry dough.
Palmier cookies, also called elephant ears, are flaky, buttery, and delicious.
But their texture is almost better than their taste. They’re indescribably light and airy, but also crisp and crunchy.
I love eating palmier cookies, and I literally mean the act of eating them.
It’s just plain fun biting into that crunchy, flaky delicacy. They’re sweet, cinnamon-flavored, and delightfully buttery.
You use just five ingredients and a little dab of water to hold them together. Then, once you’ve shaped them properly, they bake in no time!
If you only add one French food to your diet this year, be sure it’s palmier cookies.
To make palmier cookies, you only need five ingredients (plus water). These ingredients include:
- White sugar: You’ll use white sugar twice in this recipe. You’ll start by using 1/4 cup of it to dust your work surface. This makes it easier to flatten and roll up the puff pastry dough. You’ll also mix 1/3 cup of sugar with the cinnamon and cardamom for the cookies’ topping. *Note: Some people like coarse sugar for this step because of its crunch. You can use it if you prefer, though the cookies may be slightly less sweet.
- Puff pastry dough: You can make homemade dough for palmier cookies, but why waste all that time and effort? Puff pastry dough is delicious and super convenient.
- Butter: Butter serves a dual purpose in this recipe. Firstly, it helps hold the cookies’ cinnamon, sugar, and cardamom topping. Secondly, it gives them a rich, buttery flavor that’s undeniably good.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon adds a rich, warm flavor to the already sweet and delectable treats.
- Cardamom: Cardamom is another warm, smoky ingredient. It’ll help enhance each cookie’s flavor.
You also need a bit of water to help hold the cookies together after you roll them up. Just set it in a bowl to the side.
Then, use your fingers to dot it along the rolled-up seam.
Are you considering adding a little extra flavor? If so, try experimenting with the following ingredients:
- Orange zest
- Small bacon chunks
- Sea salt
- Brown sugar
- Lemon juice
You can also make homemade dough if you prefer.
(I wouldn’t, though. The puff pastry dough is perfect. It tastes great and requires very little work.)
Tips for the Best Palmiers
Palmier cookies aren’t hard to make. That’s a huge part of why I love them so much.
However, there are a few tips for making the best palmiers possible.
1. Allow the puff pastry dough to thaw completely before you use it.
However, you should also keep the dough cool while using it. (100% thawed, but cool.)
Dough that isn’t fully thawed is hard to work with.
Plus, if the dough is warm, the butter will melt and throw off the whole baking process.
The best way to meet both requirements is to let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
Then, work in small batches, keeping the dough refrigerated between each one.
2. Leave ample room between each cookie on the baking sheet. If you don’t, the cookies will bake into each other as they expand.
3. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the flavor. Are you baking these cookies in the fall? Try adding some pumpkin pie or apple pie spice.
Do you enjoy a bit of nuttiness in your sweets? Add crushed hazelnuts, walnuts, pistachios, or pecans.
Or just add icing or chocolate to make them even sweeter!
You can even make a savory version of palmiers. with herbs, cheese, garlic, and other similar ingredients.
Bacon and spinach are another great combo if you’re in the mood for savory cookies.
4. Swap out your parchment paper after each batch. Reusing parchment paper will more likely result in burned cookies and sticking.
It’s best to change it after each round of baking.
5. Make allowances for your particular type of puff pastry dough.
For example, the cookies may bake faster if you choose a buttery puff pastry dough.
6. Don’t forget to refrigerate the rolled dough. Once you roll your dough, stick it in the fridge before you cut it into cookies.
The recipe says 5 to 10 minutes. However, I typically leave mine longer.
The longer they stay in the fridge (up to about 30 minutes), the easier they cut.
You won’t want to flatten the dough as you slice the cookies. Refrigerating is the best way to ensure you don’t.
How to Store Palmiers
Suppose you make extra palmiers or have leftovers, which is unlikely!
Either way, you need to know how to store them. Fortunately, doing so is simple.
Place them in an air-tight container or Ziploc bag with as much air removed as possible.
Then, keep them at room temperature, not in the fridge.
The fridge might preserve them longer, but it ruins their texture.
It makes them soft and sticky. Keeping them at room temperature will ensure they remain crisp and crunchy.
They should last for approximately 3 to 4 days at room temperature.
(As long as your container truly is air-tight, that is.)
Can I Freeze the Cookies?
Some people claim you can freeze already-baked palmier cookies.
I’ve never had good luck with that, though. Whenever I try to thaw them, they completely lose their texture.
Therefore, I don’t recommend freezing them once you’ve baked them.*
However, the pre-cooked dough freezes wonderfully.
You can freeze the entire roll of dough or slice the cookies and freeze them.
When you want to bake them, you can do so from frozen. Simply slice them if they aren’t already sliced.
Then, cook them about 2 to 3 minutes longer than you would thawed dough.
*Note: If you want to freeze baked cookies, let them cool completely first. Then, put them in layers in a freezer-safe container. Be sure to add parchment paper between each layer.
Date them and stick them in the freezer. I’m unsure how long they’ll last, as I’ve never had good luck freezing them myself. I wouldn’t leave them longer than a month or two, though.
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