Palmiers in a Pinch

Posted on 19 December 2016

Need a quick yet impressive holiday cookie? Roll puff pastry dough in sugar and cinnamon, fold, cut, and voilà! Palmiers (aka elephant ears).

I made a batch today from puff pastry dough I rescued from the dark recesses of my freezer. Last winter I mixed a lot of Joanne Chang’s easy Quick Puff Pastry from Flour for whatever might arise. Chang says you can freeze it for up to a month, but c’mon, you can even freeze fish for longer than that. Here it is almost a year later and the silky dough rolled out as smoothly as if it were fresh.

Today I lost track of my folds and they came out more like cauliflower ears than classic elephant ears. But no matter how you fold it, the buttery, flaky layers create a sweet, tender crunch.

Don’t expect these to be elephant sized. More like mouse ears, they are très petite, only a couple of inches across, and perfect with a cup of tea or a dessert bowl of Quick and Creamy Microwave Chocolate Pudding.


  • 1 sheet of puff pastry dough, homemade or store-bought, about one-half pound (if frozen, defrost overnight in the fridge)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional), or to taste
  1. Mix sugar and cinnamon, if using. Spread half the sugar mixture onto the work surface, place the sheet of dough on top, and distribute the other half evenly over the top of the dough. Press down on the dough with the rolling pin to flatten and spread it out uniformly. Then roll it to about a 10 inch square. You can cut off pieces, move and reattach as needed to make the square.
  2. Fold the sides of the dough toward the center so each reaches halfway. Then fold them again so that the sides meet in the middle. Finally, fold one half over the other as if to close a book. Press down lightly with the rolling pin to flatten. Don’t fret if there is a lot of sugar mixture left over. That can happen.
  3. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about a half hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  4. Cut dough into about 1/4–inch slices and place cut-side-up on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, about a dozen per sheet.
  5. Bake 6-10 minutes until the bottoms start to caramelize, then flip over and bake another 3-6 minutes until caramelized.
  6. Cool on rack and store in an airtight container.
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