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Twirls of Delight: Master the Art of Palmier Cookies

Palmier cookies, also known as elephant ear or palm leaves, are delightful, flaky pastries that offer a perfect balance of sweetness and crispiness. Their origins trace back to France, where they’re appreciated as a classic pastry enjoyed alongside coffee or as a sweet treat.

These are an incredibly fast dessert that is great to make for parties or potlucks, as well as to enjoy at home. Best of all, you can make them earlier in the day, so you don’t have to stress about last minute party prep.

Image shows a Hand holding a palmier over a rack of more.

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Why You’ll Love This Dish

Palmier cookies, with their French origins, are more than a treat. They’re both simple and elegant, so people think you worked much harder to make these than you truly did.

These simple cookies with basic ingredients transform into the easiest and flakiest pastries. Palmier cookies, often known as elephant ears due to their shape, are satisfying to make and eat, as you fold the delicate phyllo dough, generously sprinkled sugar, to achieve those beautiful caramelized layers.

Image shows a Closeup of palmier cookies on a cooling rack.

In addition to their delightful flavor, these cookies offer versatility. They fit perfectly as an afternoon snack, an accompaniment to a cup of tea, or as a delicious after-dinner treat.

The palmier’s ease of preparation and delightful taste make them a favorite for both bakers and those lucky enough to enjoy the results. They’re a great cookie for non-bakers to make.

Ingredients You Need

Palmier cookies require just two ingredients, as hard as it is to believe.

Phyllo dough is the primary ingredient for palmiers. You can find it in the freezer section of most grocery stores, and be sure to store it in the freezer.

It consists of thin sheets of dough, which should be handled with care due to their delicacy. When working with phyllo dough, you need to make sure it’s fully thawed, but work with it quickly once you remove it from the fridge.

If phyllo dough isn’t available, puff pastry is a suitable substitute, though the texture and flavor might differ slightly.

Granulated sugar, the second main ingredient, provides the characteristic sweetness and the signature caramelization of the palmier. It’s crucial to be generous when sprinkling the sugar, although know that not all the sugar will end up in the cookies once they bake.

Alternative sugars like superfine sugar or turbinado sugar can be used as a substitute, which creates slight variations in sweetness and texture. When working with different sugar types, ensure they have a similar consistency to granulated sugar for an equivalent caramelization effect.

How to Thaw Phyllo Dough

When working with frozen phyllo dough, proper thawing is crucial for successful baking.

If the dough isn’t fully thawed, it will break as you work with it. If it’s too warm, it will spread and not create the even cookies you want.

Thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator. Keep it in the unopened package so it doesn’t dry out.

If you’re in more of a hurry, you can remove it from the package and cover it with a lightly damp kitchen towel on the counter for two hours. Check it periodically, especially in warmer months, and be sure the kitchen towel is damp but not wet.

Unlike many ingredients, you cannot rush this by heating it. The dough simply won’t work well, unlike my favorite frozen croissants that I learned to proof in the oven.

The goal is to have the dough flexible enough to work with but not to the point of becoming warm and sticky, as that can lead to difficulties in handling its delicate layers.

How to Store Palmiers

If you have leftover palmiers, you can store them two weeks on your counter in a tightly sealed container. You can also freeze them if you want to save them logner.

After they have cooled to room temperature, place the palmiers in an airtight container or a zip top bag to prevent them from absorbing moisture, which can cause them to soften. If the cookies lose their crispness, they can be revived by placing them in the oven at a low temperature for a few minutes.

To freeze them, wrap them in parchment paper once they have fully cooled, then place them into a zip top bag. Remove as much air from the bag as possible.

You can store them in the freezer for two to three months. When you’re ready to enjoy them, remove them from the bag and let them thaw on your counter.

What to Serve With It

Palmier cookies make a delightful complement to various beverages such as coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, adding a touch of sweetness to these comforting drinks. They also pair wonderfully with ice cream or sorbet, creating a delightful dessert combination.

For a continental touch, serve them alongside a cheese platter for a sophisticated end to a meal. They are also a delicious dessert on their own.

The versatile nature of palmiers ensures they fit into various occasions, adding a sweet and elegant touch to any event. Best of all, no one needs to know how easy they were to make.

How to Make Palmier Cookies

Be sure you have your phyllo dough properly thawed. Generously sprinkle your clean workspace with sugar.

Image shows an Overhead of phyllo dough coated with sugar.

Unroll a sheet of phyllo dough, and sprinkle it with granulated sugar, as well. Gently use a rolling pin to press it out in each direction slightly.

Pro tip: Save your other sheet of phyllo dough to make savory palmiers or make a double batch.

Fold the long side of the dough from both sides towards the center a quarter of the way in. Fold a second time so that they meet in the center, giving you a long log.

Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30 to 60 minutes to ensure it firms up. You can skip this step if you’re in a hurry, but it makes for cookies that puff better and cut cleaner if you chill them.

You can also freeze this prepped dough wrapped in plastic for up to two months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight, then bake when you want to create them.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Slice it into three-quarter inch pieces, pressing each piece into sugar before placing it on a baking sheet. To get the most even cuts, slice the log in half, then half again, then cut that into five pieces.

Image shows an Overhead of partially sliced French palmier cookies.

Bake them at 425 for 12 to 15 minutes. When they are lightly brown, remove them from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

Image shows an Overhead of palmiers on a cooling rack.

Save This Recipe to Make Again

The magic of palmier cookies lies in their ability to transform simple ingredients into a delightful delicacy that marries a light, flaky texture with sweet caramelized layers. They’re a quick and easy treat to make that is a joy to eat.

Image shows a Closeup of palmier cookies on a cooling rack.

Palmier Cookies

These delightfully flaky cookies are incredibly easy to make. But no one ever needs to know!
4.99 from 68 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Diet: Low Lactose
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 47 minutes
Servings: 20 cookies
Calories: 33kcal
Author: Michelle

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet phyllo dough
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Fully thaw the phyllo dough.
    1 sheet phyllo dough
  • Sprinkle a clean work surface with half the sugar, then place the dough over it.
    3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Add the remaining sugar over the dough. Use a rolling pin to gently press it out in each direction.
  • Fold the long ends toward the center a quarter of the way in, then fold again so they touch but don't overlap.
  • Wrap the long dough log in plastic wrap and chill for 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  • Remove dough from plastic wrap and cut into 20 even pieces. Dip in remaining sugar, then place on a baking sheet.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on a rack.

Notes

  • If you cut the dough in half, then into thirds, and each of those pieces into thirds, it is easier to make even slices than just starting from one end.
  • Use a serrated knife to cut without squishing the dough.
  • For more tips and tricks, be sure to read the full article above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 33kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Sodium: 7mg | Sugar: 7g

This site uses an online source to provide nutrition estimates as a courtesy. If you need exact values, please calculate yourself.

I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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