Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day: Palmiers

M's favorite cookies are buttery palmiers, also called elephant ears. I always wanted to make them for him, and decided that since they are heart shaped, Valentine's Day would be the perfect opportunity to do so.

I used Ina Garten's recipe for these, but I would not use quite as much sugar as she does. I found that most of it will not become absorbed into the pastry dough and you're left with so much extra on the mat that it's not really worth the waste. My only other tip is to defrost the puffed pastry for at least an hour. Otherwise, the folds will just rip and you really need a full sheet for each cookie.

2 c. granulated sugar (I used 1.5 c. and still had so much left over...)
1/8 t. salt
2 sheets puff pastry, defrosted (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine the sugar and kosher salt in a bowl. Pour 1 cup of the sugar/salt mixture on a flat surface such as wooden board, silicone baking mat, or marble. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar and pour another 1/2 cup of the sugar mixture on top, spreading it evenly on the puff pastry. This is not about sprinkling, it's about an even covering of sugar. With a rolling pin, roll the dough until it's 13 by 13-inches square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom. Fold the sides of the square 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 one half over the other half as though closing a book.

Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or a Silpat. Place the second sheet of pastry on the sugared board, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar mixture, and continue as above. (There will be quite a bit of sugar left over on the board.) Slice and arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment or a Silpat.

Bake the cookies for 6 minutes until caramelized and brown on the bottom, then turn with a spatula and bake another 3 to 5 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to a baking rack to cool (or devour them when they're warm and still doughy!).

Happy Valentine's Day!

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