A last-minute need to fill out a holiday cookie tray found Kay Lieberherr of St. Paul, Minnesota, turning to the palmiers at Surdyk’s in Minneapolis. “It turned out that everyone asked for the recipe for the palmiers, and not for the cookies that I had baked,” she said with a laugh. That response sent her on a mission to develop her own palmier recipe. Using commercially prepared puff pastry makes this recipe a snap to prepare. “I love it when you don’t spend a lot of time on something, yet people think, ‘Wow, that must have taken days,’” said Lieberherr.
Note: This dough must be prepared in advance. Palmiers (pronounced pahlm-YAYs) go by many other names, including elephant ears, palm leaves, and French hearts. Widely available Pepperidge Farm puff pastry works perfectly well with this cookie, but we loved the results we got using Dufour Pastry Kitchens puff pastry, which is more expensive. It’s worth seeking out, because the all-butter product makes a gloriously light, golden, and flaky palmier.
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for garnish, optional
1 (7-ounce) tube almond paste, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 (17.3-ounce) package puff pastry sheets (containing 2 sheets), refrigerated
In a bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the powdered sugar and almond paste. Beat until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the egg and almond extract, and beat until thoroughly combined.
Sprinkle a surface with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Carefully unfold 1 puff pastry sheet over the granulated sugar and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Using a rolling pin, roll the puff pastry sheet into a 12-inch square. Divide the almond paste mixture in half, and carefully spread half the mixture evenly over the top of the puff pastry sheet. Carefully roll up opposite sides of the puff pastry sheet, from the outer edge to the middle, with the rolls meeting in the center. Firmly press together, wrap the dough logs in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Repeat with the second puff pastry sheet.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F and line the baking sheets with parchment paper. Unwrap the puff pastry logs and, using a sharp knife, trim off the uneven ends. Cut the dough into 1/4-inch slices and place (flat side down) 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool for 2 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired, and serve.
Reprinted with permission from The Great Minnesota Cookie Book: Award-Winning Recipes from the Star Tribune’s Holiday Cooking Contest by Lee Svitak Dean and Rick Nelson, photography by Tom Wallace, and published by the University of Minnesota Press, 2018. Copyright 2018 by Lee Svitak Dean and Rick Nelson. Photographs copyright 2018 by Tom Wallace.
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