Now, I am so done with sugary sweet snacks for a couple days (as I eat some peanut butter M&Ms out of a bag) after the holidays. However, before Christmas and the three hundred dollars worth of baked goods and candy that my grandmother bought, Andrew had asked me to make a dessert for his family’s Christmas gathering to make up for the fact that I was not going to be there. He told me they liked pie. PIE + HAYLEY = FAILURE. Plus, I personally am not a big fan of pie, so I wanted to do something else. I did not want to make cake. Instead, I found a recipe for palmiers in my bible: Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything. I don’t believe in a god, but I do believe in Mark Bittman’s simple approach to cooking.
These cookies took a long time to make, but they were absolutely amazing. They turned out adorable, crispy, buttery, and just sweet enough to be a cookie. They look great and apparently they were a big hit at the Christmas (though not as big of a hit as I would have been). I had never made palmiers and it had been years since I had made puff pastry so I was pretty damn proud of myself when they were done.
The following recipe is rather complicated and takes forever, so beware those who are faint of heart.
From How to Cook Everything
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsps. salt
- 1 pound (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter
- about 1/2 cup ice water
- 1. Put three cups (or in my case one cup across three batches because my food processor belongs in a Tokyo micro-kitchen next to a hot plate) of flour in a food processor with the salt. Cut about 1/2 stick of the butter into cubes and add into the flour. Pulse several times until the butter and flour are combined. Put the mixture in a bowl and add about 1/3 cup of the ice water; use a wooden spoon or a rubber spatula to gradually gather the mixture into a ball, adding more water if necessary. I had to add A LOT more water for some reason. This always happens to me. Maybe I have shitty mixing skills. Knead lightly for two minutes then wrap in plastic wrap and chill.
2. While it chills, use an electric mixer with a paddle or dough hook (I used a paddle) to cream the remaining butter with the remaining flour. When it is well combined, soft and smooth, shape into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for about thirty minutes.
The butter and flour disk.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, put it on a lightly floured surface, and roll out to a rectangle about 8 x 16 inches; it should be about 1/4 inch thick. Remove the butter from the refrigerator, put it on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a rectangle about 4 x 8 inches. Brush excess flour from the butter and put it in the center of the dough; fold over all 4 corners of the dough, in a hexagon shape, to completely enclose the butter and pat gently to form a thick rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with flour, wrap, and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes, possibly longer. You want the butter to be firm but not hard, the dough to be pliable.
4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, put it on a lightly floured surface, and gently roll it out again, to a rectangle about 8 x 16 inches. Be careful not to roll the edge thinner than the rest of the dough. Use flour as necessary and take your time. Brush off excess flour, then bring each of the short ends of the rectangle together in the middle; roll lightly, then fold in thirds- as if folding a letter. Dust with a little flour, then wrap and refrigerate for about thirty minutes.
5. Repeat step 4 at least two and preferably four more times; the more you do it, the lighter and finer your pastry. Chill for at least 1 hour before proceeding onto making your palmiers.
Note: You can also use puff pastry to make other things such as croissants or apple turnovers.
from How To Cook Everything
- 1 recipe puff pastry
- sugar as needed
1. Use sugar to coat a work surface. Cut the pastry in half and roll out each half, sprinkling with sugar as you work, until it is less than 1/4 thick. To make arcs, roll up the dough as you would a carpet. To make palmiers, fold each of the short ends 2 or 3 times inward to reach the middle. Then fold the dough in half along the center fold and press gently to seal. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about thirty minutes.
2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the rolls into 1/4 inch thick slices, sprinkle with a little more sugar, and put on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about thirty minutes, turning the cookies once after about twenty minutes.