French pastries are infamously difficult to make. Only a select few can whip up macarons with ease, and nary a novice home-cook has had much success baking croissants (at least the first time around). You even need a fancy pan to make madeleines, and that’s one of the more basic treats. Simply put, French baked goods are fancy and fabulous, yet totally challenging — except when it comes to palmiers.
If you aren’t already familiar with the crunchy, delicate, heart-shaped cookie, you’re about to get to know it very well. Because the thing is, they come together with just two simple ingredients: puff pastry and sugar. Puff pastry may not sound simple, but you can almost always find pre-made options in the freezer section at your local supermarket. After you defrost it, the rest is incredibly straightforward. Coat the dough in sugar, roll it up, cut it into even slices, toss it in the oven, and in a measly 10 minutes, you’ll have patisserie-quality heart-shaped cookies that’ll impress.
Since the recipe is so basic, you can add spices or flavorings to the sugar without accidentally altering the cookie’s integrity. Start experimenting with this cinnamon bun spin on the classic. Baked in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with a healthy dose of cream cheese frosting, these palmiers taste (and even look) like the breakfast favorite, but are actually way, way easier to make. And, of course, très Français.
(Makes 64 palmiers)
- 1 Tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup and 5 Tablespoons sugar, divided
- 4 sheets puff pastry, defrosted
- 1 Tablespoon cream cheese
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine cinnamon and sugar until well incorporated. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar mixture over a clean work space and cover with a single sheet of puff pastry. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup of sugar mixture over pastry sheet. Using a rolling pin (a wine bottle also works), roll out into an 8-inch square. Fold the sides of the square toward the center so they meet halfway at the middle. Fold the sides again so the 2 folds meet again in the middle of the dough. Then fold 1 half over the other half (the same movement as closing a book). You will have 6 layers (see picture above). Slice the dough into 1/2-inch slices. Repeat process with remaining puff pastry.
- Transfer cookies to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar mixture. Bake until bottom side is golden brown, about 6 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and flip cookies, then return to oven and let cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 4 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until it reaches your desired consistency. For a thinner frosting, you may need another tablespoon of milk.
- Remove palmiers from oven, transfer to a rack, and let cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Drizzle with cream cheese-frosting and enjoy.
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(Recipe and photos via Audrey Bruno / Brit + Co)