Palmiers with orange zest (and a little dark chocolate)

It must be the thought of upcoming Valentine's Day that had me thinking about and making a batch of palmiers recently.  I haven't made them in years but there was already puff pastry in the freezer so I went with it.  I always called these "butterfly cookies" when I was younger but whether you more likely know them as palmiers or elephant ears, I love these cookies for their signature heart-shape.  I'm a sucker for all the frilly pink and red heart-shaped things we're seeing right now.
Supposing, like me, you don't feel the compulsion to make puff pastry from scratch and simply head to the freezer section of the supermarket, palmiers are truly easy to make.  At its barest, it only takes two ingredients: puff pastry and sugar.  That got me thinking about adding a little twist, layering on a different flavor for a change...

My mind naturally went to chocolate and I considered using a combination of cocoa powder with sugar to roll the puff pastry in but I wasn't sure how the cookies would look after baking.  I switched gears and got to thinking about fresh flavors and something to maybe offset or brighten up all the sweetness and richness of these cookies.  I went with orange zest (it seems to be the answer to lots of things).  I simply zested an orange right into the sugar and rubbed the two together to release the flavors and essential oils from the zest before using the mixture to roll the puff pastry and shape them into these palmiers.
I ended up with palmiers infused with a gentle but clear presence of orange flavor.  Of course, I couldn't completely shake my need for chocolate.  You know orange goes so well with chocolate.  So I did the natural thing and drizzled a few of my orange palmiers with bittersweet chocolate.  The light drizzle of chocolate seems to bring out the orange flavor even more.

Somehow, palmiers seem to simultaneously call for a cup of hot tea or a cold bowl of ice cream to go along with it.  I'm game with whichever option you choose to go with.

I've made palmiers a few times before though I've never posted them on the blog.  I've always used Ina Garten's technique for folding palmiers, which I picked up from Barefoot in Paris.  I think typically, you see many recipes where the puff pastry is rolled up at each end, meeting in the center.  Ina's method involves a few simple folds and I think it creates more of an even heart-shape rather than an ear shape.  I really like that.

So I start with Ina's recipe but make a few changes.  Mainly, I use half the amount of sugar she does.  Admittedly, a lot of that sugar stays on the counter-top but a cup of sugar to one sheet of puff pastry is a bit much in my mind and I use half a cup of sugar and the zest of 1 large orange  for this recipe (I always assume it goes without saying but obviously use an unsprayed/organic orange for zesting).  If you use more sugar, you'll want to consider using more zest to make sure you have a good ratio and the flavor of the orange comes through.
I lay half, or 1/4 cup, of the sugar-orange zest mixture down onto a work surface.  Then, I place the puff pastry sheet over it and scatter the rest of the mixture over the top.  
Use a rolling pin to roll the sheet into a 13-inch square, pressing the sugar into the pastry.
To fold, start by folding each side into the center so they meet in the middle.
Then, do it again.
One more time and you end up with this:
You'll essentially have 6 layers.  Slice the log into about 3/8-inch thick slices (I just think of it as slightly thinner than 1/2 inch; the main thing is to try to be consistent in terms of each cookie's thickness so they bake evenly together) and place, cut side up, onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
I bake these in a 425 degree oven.  Ina's recipe calls for a 450 degree oven but I wanted to play it safe and have a bit more wiggle room to keep an eye on them because I've over-caramelized some of my palmiers in the past.  

In a 425 degree oven, first bake them for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies are caramelized and brown on the bottom.  Be careful - the caramelized sugar is very hot!  Carefully flip the cookies with a spatula at that point and bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until the other side is caramelized. 
Given my issue of over-caramelizing these in the past, I played it safe and probably took the cookies out of the oven a minute or so earlier than I could have.  It depends on how far you want to push it and how dark you want them.  More caramelization equals more flavor but burnt cookies equal a sad baker!  So keep a close eye on them in general and particularly near the end of baking.
If you like to add chocolate, let the palmiers cool completely.  Then, melt a little bit of bittersweet chocolate, place it into a disposable sandwich bag, and snip a small opening to drizzle the chocolate randomly over the cookies.  I think dipping them might have been too heavy-handed so I went with the drizzle.  The chocolate-orange combination is always so good!

It was really fun making something I hadn't in a long time.  I'm totally in a Valentine's Day mood and looking forward to seeing all the wonderful Valentine's Day recipes that are sure to pop up!


Recipe:

Palmiers with Orange Zest
Adapted (mainly, the folding technique) from Ina Garten

- Approximately 2 dozen cookies - 

1/2 cup granulated sugar
Zest from one large orange, organic/unsprayed
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Place oven racks in the upper and lower third of the oven.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine sugar and zest together (I zest directly into bowl with sugar) by rubbing the zest into the sugar until mixture feels moist.

Spread half the mixture, or 1/4 cup, onto a work surface.  Unfold and lay the sheet of puff pastry on top.  Pour the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar-zest mixture on top of the puff pastry, spreading evenly.  Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough into a 13-inch square, pressing the sugar mixture into the pastry.

Fold each side of the square into the center so that they meet halfway in the middle.  Fold each side again so the dough meets again in the middle.  Repeat one last time as though closing a book.  You will have 6 layers.  Slice the dough with a sharp knife into 3/8-inch slices and place, cut side up, on the lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  

Bake cookies for about 10 minutes, or until the bottom has browned and caramelized.  Carefully flip the cookies over using a spatula (be careful because the caramelized sugar is very hot!).  Rotate the pans and bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until the other side is caramelized as well.  Keep a close eye on them to avoid burning.  Transfer cookies to a cooling rack.

If desired, you could drizzle the cooled cookies with melted bittersweet chocolate.  I simply used a disposable sandwich bag, snipping a small opening at the corner, to drizzle.  Allow chocolate to set before serving.  

These cookies are best the day they are baked but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two.




72 comments:

  1. Palmiers are one of my favorite cookies to eat! Though I've never made them. Your citrus twist sounds awesome...a nice way to wake up the flavor from just sugar sugar sugar.

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    1. Thanks, Joanne! I hadn't had them in so long...

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  2. Orange and chocolate are the perfect match together and how perfect would these be for valentines day. Take Care, BAM

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    1. Thank you! I definitely have Valentine's Day in my head with these...

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  3. Life is so much easier using ready made puff pastry.
    These palmiers look very delicious, Monica.

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    1. Yes...and since you're not likely to eat many of these, using a store-bought makes sense to me.

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  4. Orange & chocolate is one of the best combinations ever! I would've never thought of putting those into palmiers though... I've never been creative enough to imagine different flavours in palmiers apparently :P And these look perfect (and so easy)! I don't see any over-caramelised palmiers ;)

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    1. I absolutely agree with you - orange & chocolate is an amazing combo! I took my cookies out earlier rather than later to avoid any over-baking since that's happened in the past. : )

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  5. Loove those! Nice to put some zest there...together with that chocolate drizzle :) ela

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  6. I love the addition of orange to these palmiers! We recently made the "mistake" of introducing our two year old to palmiers and I think we've created a little addict :) I may have to make these for him!

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    1. haha - I hear you. There's no going back sometimes. Your little one just has good taste - what can you do? ; )

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  7. These look so adorable! Thanks for the step by step pictures! :)

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    1. Thanks, Jessica. I used to do a lot of step by step but stopped since it was a lot of work and the quality of the pictures is obviously not too hot...but sometimes it makes sense to show a few steps.

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  8. I love palmiers! These are so cute, Monica! Love the addition of orange zest and the chocolate drizzle.

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    1. Thanks - I like making something "pretty" once in a while. : )

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  9. I've always been afraid to attempt something like this, you make it seem so easy, love this flavor combination!

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    1. Aww...you're too kind. I'm not joking when I say 'if I can do it, you sure can!' : )

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  10. I love them! Thank you for sharing step by step!

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  11. I love palmiers! I sometimes add a thin layer of Nutella to the dough before rolling them -- yum! Yours look beautiful

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  12. These palmiers look so good Monica - I love butterfly cookies! The orange zest sounds like a wonderful addition and pairs so well with the pretty chocolate drizzle. I'm always afraid of working with puff pastry but you make it look so effortless and easy - I love how perfectly formed the shapes turned out - they look gorgeous :)

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    1. Appreciate it, Kelly! You call them butterfly cookies, too, then! I suppose the sides look like the wings of a butterfly...for some reason, I always want to get them heart-shape when none of the names indicate that it *should* be a heart shape. Oh well! I do like Ina's folding method and the shape it usually creates. Have a great Sunday!

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  13. wow, this is one of my favourite childhood sweet bites!!!
    This is a signature of a favourite ancient bakery store in my hometown, unfortunately the bakery store closed because all the member of the family were a victim when the store got fire.....

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    1. I see these in bakeries all the time too. A little crunchy sweet bite goes down easy. So sorry about your hometown bakery...that is really sad...

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  14. Oh yum! These look amazing! I love the orange zest - it made my mouth water! LOL! What a great recipe - thanks for sharing!!!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kristi! It's really simple. : )

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  15. I'm loving these, Monica. I've never seen a flavoured palmier other than sugar and cinnamon. I'll bookmark these for another day.

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    1. Thank you - I appreciate that. I had the orange zest in mind and when I went to google it, I of course discovered that others had thought of it before me. : ) I've seen the cinnamon versions but I am not a huge fan of it and prefer cinnamon in moderation..but I can see how it works for these rich palmiers.

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  16. I love rubbing together sugar and zest - the aroma is so good! These sound delicious - and so simple. Plus, with the dark chocolate / orange combo - I could eat quite a few of these easily in one sitting! haha

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    1. Same here...I love doing that. It's crazy how much flavor there is in zest. Thanks, Ashley!

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  17. I don't think I ever used the word palmier in this sense, but now it's all I can think about. Wishing I could reach through the screen...

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    1. haha - there are worse things to think about...I'm always thinking about cookies in general!

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  18. Adorable! They really look divine with orange zest! I add a layer of nutella for my daughter.

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    1. You're the second person to tell me about using Nutella. How divine and delicious!

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  19. I've never had a palmier, but now I want to try making them. Orange zest sounds like a lovely addition!

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    1. They're so crisp and sweet and buttery, as you can imagine. : ) Have a great week, Natasha.

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  20. Orange palmiers with a chocolate drizzle is a great idea! And I'm all about using frozen puff pastry, too :)

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  21. How pretty are these and orange and chocolate! Such a marvelous idea!

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  22. Have you ever made a savory version?
    Oh heavens! So good

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    1. Puff pastry is kind of magical, isn't it? I haven't made savory ones but I've eaten them...I'm thinking pesto, cheese...oh boy...

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  23. These look adore especially during valentine month. Why would I go through the trouble when there's perfect puff pastry available. They are perfect Monica, the orange zest sure would be so fresh in the recipe.

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    1. Making puff pastry is not on my want-to-do-list for whatever reason. Too dangerous! : )

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  24. these look so cute! love the orange zest idea!

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  25. Hi Monica: Thanks for your lovely comment. :) I am taking a break from blogging. I hope you are doing well too. Love these adorable Palmiers. I love the drizzle of dark chocolate on top. Makes it "my" kind of palmiers! And the addition of orange makes this even better. Love the combo! Take care my sweet friend! xo

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    1. Oh, I'm so glad to know that, Anne!! Enjoy your much-deserved break! Good for you. I'm doing great, except for all these snow storms and snow days!! Ugh - I hate to complain but sometimes a girl's gotta! ; ) You take care and talk to you soon! xo

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  26. LOVE Palmiers! And orange and chocolate has got to be one of the best dessert combos ever. Lovely post!

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  27. I love these Monica! I love the heart shape, the chocolate drizzle, everything about them. Lovely recipe with a big impact!

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    1. I'm a sucker for anything heart-shape, Tricia. Thank you!

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  28. Perfect Monica!! I love the light, buttery, pastry with the crunchy sugar coating - delicious!

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    1. Yes, that crunchy sugar coating totally hits the spot! : ) Thanks, Jo!

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  29. I love palmier, but never made it at home...like the idea o orange set and thanks for sharing Ina's way to fold...they sure look cute and perfect for the Valentine's Day...oh...like the chocolate drizzle too.
    Have a great week Monica :D

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    1. There's definitely a good reason Ina is a rock star. : ) I like how she sometimes takes store-bought ingredients and dolls them up. Always looks so elegant. : )

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  30. Palmier are my favorite. I love the addition of the orange zest. I should try it next time I make palmier

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    1. Yes, I like the hit of orange...it's not too strong but it adds a nice brightness. There are lots of possibilities but a plain palmier sure is good too!

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  31. These are so pretty! And totally screams 'Valentine's day'. Chocolate and Orange are a rocking combo. Your step by step tutorial is so helpful...I am making this soon!

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    1. Thanks so much! I know yours would come out beautiful! : )

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  32. What, we can make these with puff pastry? OMG! I buy these because I love flaky crunchy crispy texture (love pie crust in general). I can make these at home?! I need to grab a new puff pastry today. Love the orange and chocolate addition here. Seriously I can't wait to make these!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (too excited)

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    1. Nami, I am amazed that I might have shared something with you that you didn't know before! Yes, they are this easy to make at home. I hope you make some soon! Just keep an eye on them so they don't burn but it should be fine at this temperature...easy peasy! : )

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  33. Your photos gave me an intense craving for elephant ear cookies! I like the idea of infusing orange zest into the crunchy sugar coating! I must be living under a rock ,but it never occurred to me that it would be so wonderfully easy to make palmiers with packaged puff pastry! Not everything in life has to be difficult! Thanks for the method photos too, Monica. They help make the directions perfectly clear. :)

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    1. I'm glad they appeal to you, Wendy! It really is that easy. I'm grateful I've never felt the pull of making my own puff pastry. I am sure it's amazing and I do like a "project" once in a while but it hasn't been something I've wanted to do...Thanks for checking in!

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  34. How cute for Valentine's Day! Nothing like sweet buttery puff pastry. I like the touch of orange zest too. Yum!

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  35. You're so adventurous in the kitchen, Monica! I'm totally jealous of all the cool things you make. Palmiers are definitely on my cooking bucket list. Yours look totally professional :) I always thought these were so much harder to make...but now I'm not scared anymore ;) Love the addition of orange zest!

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    1. I am amazed at anyone calling me 'adventurous' so I seriously thank you, Amy! : ) These are so easy with the store-bought puff pastry. I really like the zest too...basically on anything! : ) Thanks for checking in and for all your encouraging comments!

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