Palmiers (Elephant Ears) Recipe

I grew up eating packages of two-bite palmiers we bought at the supermarket*. Also, giant palmiers from the bakery that were the size of my face and which I devoured with bliss, savoring the textural differences between the crusty, caramelized rim, and the doughy, buttery folds in the center of each swirl.

Palmiers — litterally “palm trees”, a.k.a. elephant ears in English — are heart-shaped cookies made by rolling up puff pastry with a generous sprinkling of sugar, slicing that up, and baking until golden brown and caramelized.

When you’re ready to cash in your baker’s bonus, all you need to do is roll out the dough thinly, using sugar to prevent sticking as you normally would flour.

Although you can certainly set out to make palmiers from scratch, they are the most rewarding use for scraps of puff pastry, so they are typically a byproduct of some other baking venture.

Indeed, the batch that is pictured above was prepared with the quick and easy puff pastry leftover from baking the amazing caramelized apple tarte fine I told you about a couple of weeks ago.

It is unthinkable, under any circumstances, to throw out scraps of dough, but that sentiment is especially vivid when you’ve made the puff pastry yourself, however quick and easy the recipe is. The idea then is to stack up any bits and pieces you have to form a rough block, and plop that into the fridge to deal with later.

After a few days, when you’re ready to cash in your baker’s bonus, all you need to do is roll out the dough thinly, using sugar to prevent sticking as you normally would flour. This effectively embeds a coating of sugar into the (otherwise unsweetened) puff pastry, which will meld with the butter in the oven and spread the most tempting smells through your house.

As the palmiers bake, you’ll be able to see the butter and sugar bubbling to caramelization, which will make them impossibly crisp and buttery once cooled. And this is when you’ll truly understand the wisdom of baking these from scraps: it would just be too dangerous to have a full batch around.

Join the conversation!

Have you made palmiers before? What’s your favorite use for scraps of dough of any kind?

* Sadly, these turn out to be an excellent source of hydrogenated fat.

Palmiers (Elephant Ears) Recipe

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

The yield depends on the amount of scraps used.

Palmiers (Elephant Ears) Recipe

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Stack the scraps of puff pastry on top of one another, arranging them to form as neat a block as you can. Pat the top and sides to even them out.
  3. Sprinkle sugar on a clean work surface, and place the block of pastry on top.
  4. Palmiers
  5. Sprinkle with more sugar and roll out the pastry as thinly as you're comfortable working with. Add a little more sugar as needed underneath and on top of the pastry if it starts to stick to the counter or rolling pin.
  6. Palmiers
  7. Roll the pastry in from both sides until they meet in the center.
  8. Palmiers
  9. Use a sharp knife to cut slices, about 1 cm (1/3 inch) thick, and place them sideways on the prepared baking sheet, giving them a little room to expand.
  10. Palmiers
  11. Insert in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until golden. Let cool on a rack before serving.

Notes

No exact quantities are given because the recipe is meant to be adapted to the amount of scraps you have to use up. The amount of sugar is also eyeballed; use the minimum amount needed to roll out the dough.

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  • Michelle McMillen

    I have to provide treats for our homeschool cooperative tomorrow; I’m thinking I should make a full batch of these to take!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Good thinking — enroll others to help with the eating. :) I hope everyone enjoys them!

  • http://www.thesweetbeekeeper.etsy.com christiana

    I have made savoury palmier with parmesan and grainy mustard before, delish! I love the sweet ones too!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      The pairing sounds excellent, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

  • LaCoccinelle

    Those elephants ears look great, I’ve never hear them called that before, although I have eaten the enormous ones. I have made small savoury ones for aperitifs spread with Marmite; pesto or tapenade.

  • Angela Brown

    I am so thrilled for this recipe! I haven’t made these in ages! I love their shape — it reminds me of these delicious butter cookies I used to eat when I was a kid. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Please let me know if you try it!

  • MaryM

    If I use the frozen puff pastry, do you think I need to brush with butter?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      If you use all-butter frozen puff pastry, it should have about the same amount of butter as homemade puff pastry, so I would try without first.

  • Tama Trotti

    Sadly I didn’t have much leftover for the palmiers when I made this for tarte. Really easy and delicious though.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      You can just make a smaller tart next time. :)

  • rachelsloan79

    I’ve made palmiers before with frozen puff pastry, mostly successfully apart from the time I carbonised the bottoms of one batch! (I saved them by sanding them down with a cheese grater – laborious but worth it in the end.) Although now that I’ve got your recipe for puff pastry, I’ve no excuse for not making them with homemade pastry…

    My favourite use for leftover scraps of pâte brisée is to either make a mini, freestyle version of whatever tart I’m making (providing there’s a bit of filling leftover) or – a trick my mom taught me when I was just old enough to help her in the kitchen – a little apple turnover.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Love the mini-version idea! It seems a very fun thing to do when baking with kids.

  • http://www.sarahmia.co.uk/ff sarah mia

    I remember eating these from the tins of danish butter cookies we used to get at Christmas time, would never have occurred to me that it would be so easy to make my own version! :)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Fun! I remember those tins of Danish cookies — yum!

  • JaimeLobo

    I’ve made a “fruity” variation, by smearing some raspberry or apricot preserves on the top side before rolling and cutting. You definitely need to put them on baking paper, as they get a little messy when baking.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      That sounds lovely, Jaime, and the preserves must caramelize beautifully, too.

      • JaimeLobo

        Yes, especially after they cool, the preserves get a nice chewy texture.
        They do tend to open up more, so I found putting the rolled-up dough back the refrigerator for an hour or two before slicing/baking, helps them hold their shape.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          Good tip, thank you!

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