Bring the taste of France to your kitchen with these homemade elephant ear “palmier” pastries. Crisp, golden and caramelized with sugar, these classic pastries are a deliciously versatile, elegant and all-time favorite cookie treat. They are incredibly simple to make, and you can choose to fill and flavor them any way you desire.
It’s a simple task of thawing out a sheet of ready-made dough, filling it and rolling it into shape for a quick and delicious treat. Or, if you are feeling slightly more adventurous, you can easily make your own quick and labor-less puff pastry by following the instructions below. Either way is utterly delicious.
Things You'll Need
If you are using ready-made pastry dough, skip to Step 9.
Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients
Begin by measuring out all if your ingredients.
Step 2: Combine Dry Ingredients
In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt.
Step 3: Cut in the Butter
Add in the cubed butter, tossing with your hands or a rubber spatula to evenly coat the cubes with flour. After the butter is coated, begin to cut the butter into the flour using either a pastry blender of a spatula until the mixture is roughly chunked with pea-size pieces of butter.
Step 4: Add the Water
Drizzle the ice-cold water into the butter and flour, and mix to roughly form shaggy textured dough that just appears combined.
Step 5: Shape the Dough
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Using your hands, gather the dough and gently form it into a rough rectangle — approximately 6 x 18 inches / 15 x 45 centimeters. Then use a pastry scraper or spatula to clean up the edges.
Step 6: Begin the First Turn
With the pastry scraper, carefully lift the top third of the dough and fold it down to the middle of the rectangle. Then lift the bottom third of the dough and fold it up to meet the top third in the middle. This is called the first turn.
Step 7: Repeat the Folding Process
Rotate the folded dough 90 degrees. Repeat the folding process by rolling the dough into a rectangle and then folding the top and bottom thirds to meet in the middle.
Once more, rotate the dough 90 degrees, roll, and then repeat the folding process — for a total of three turns. Completely cover the dough in plastic wrap, and let it chill for 30 minutes to an hour or until the butter solids are set.
If at any stage of the folding process you notice the dough becoming warm and the butter beginning to soften, chill the dough for 15 minutes to reset the solids.
Step 8: Complete the Final Folds
Once the dough is chilled, continue the folding process by doing three more turns — rotating, rolling and then folding the top and bottom to meet in the middle. With each turn, you will notice the dough becoming smoother.
If you don’t plan on using the puff pastry now, you can cover it in foil and freeze it for up to 2 months.
Step 9: Shape the Palmiers
To shape the palmiers, divide the homemade puff pastry dough in half using a sharp knife. Roll one half of the dough out to 1/2-inch / 1.5-centimeters thick. Try to maintain the rectangular shape as you roll, and trim the edges to clean. Repeat with the remaining half if desired (one half of dough will make roughly 12 palmiers).
If you are using a store-bough ready-made dough, be sure it is completely thawed before you begin. (One sheet of puff pastry will make roughly20 palmiers.)
Heat the oven to 425 F / 220 C, and sprinkle the work surface lightly with a few tablespoons of raw sugar.
For plain palmiers, place the rectangle of dough on top the sugar, and then sprinkle it liberally with raw sugar. Roll each edge of the dough tightly up to meet in the middle – to look slightly like a heart shape or “elephant ear.” For Nutella palmiers, spread the Nutella evenly in a thin layer across the face of the dough, and then roll the edges toward the middle.
Step 10: Chill the Logs
Roll the logs in more raw sugar to coat, and then transfer them to a lined baking sheet and freeze for 15 minutes to ensure that the logs hold their shape when sliced.
Step 11: Slice the Palmiers
Once chilled, cut into individual slices 1/2-inch / 1.5-centimeters thick. Place the palmiers 2 inches / 5 centimeters apart on a baking tray.
Step 12: Bake
Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, or until both sides are golden brown and caramelized.
Step 13: Cool and Serve
Let the palmiers cool slightly to harden on the baking trays before turning out onto a wire rack to finish hardening and crisping before serving.