Palmiers are one of the easiest things that you can make with puff pastry because you only need two ingredients: sugar and puff pastry. I like the butteriness and sugary crunch of a plain palmier, especially with a cup of tea or coffee. I’ve made them with homemade puff pastry, but store-bought is an easy substitute and can save you a lot of time if you’re looking for a quick treat.
This batch is dressed up with some finely chopped toffee bits, which give them a little bit more depth and richness than your average palmier. Use a sharp knife to chop up some toffee. The pieces should be no more than half the size of a chocolate chip. The toffee will sort of melt into the palmiers as they bake, not adding crunch (the cookies are crunchy enough on their own), but lots of flavor. If you’re using a toffee with almonds or other nuts, you’ll get a bit of extra crunch and texture from bits of nut.
As you read the recipe, you’ll notice that it sounds like there is a lot of sugar in this recipe – and there is. This is because sugar is pretty much the most important ingredient in a palmier. It is what provides the crunchy sweetness that makes the cookies so addictive. The trick to a really crispy palmier is to make sure that the pastry gets enough sugar. I achieve this by coating my work surface with sugar as I work with the pastry dough, so I call for a lot of sugar in the instructions even though not all of it makes it into the finished product. I also tried to be as detailed as possible in the instructions for folding the dough so even first-timers will finish with perfect-looking palmiers.
1 1/2 cups sugar
1-lb puff pastry (16-oz, or closest package size)
1/2 cup finely chopped toffee or toffee bits
Preheat oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cover a cutting board or counter top with a layer of sugar, using abut 3/4 cup for 1-lb of puff pastry. Note that not all sugar will be incorporated into the finished product. Place room-temperature puff pastry onto sugary surface and press down lightly.
Sprinkle puff pastry evenly with toffee bits and press them down into the pastry. Evenly sprinkle all remaining sugar over the puff pastry and gently pat down.
Take a small knife and make a small notch in the edge of the pastry halfway down the short side. Again making small notches, mark each of the halves into thirds, essentially marking off the dough into six even pieces (if you can eyeball this part, feel free not to measure!). Do not cut anything more than a small notch into the pastry.
Working with the long sides, fold over 1/6th of the pastry each long edge (one notch). Fold the same piece over again (from the second to the center notch), then fold the pastry together (folding along the center line). Press gently to ensure pastry sticks together well.
Use a sharp knife and divide pastry into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place each piece cut-side-up on the sugared work surface and press down with the palm of your hand to flatten into the sugar. Transfer to baking sheet and repeat with all remaining slices of dough.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool completely before storing.
Makes about 20.