Saturday, November 10, 2012
If you need cookies that are snap to assemble, then you should bake these. Even if you have all the time and luxury in the world, you shouldn't pass up these cookies. Well, "cookies" as a term for these little snacks is debatable. After all, they are not more than just puff pastry showered with sugar. Maybe these should be reclassified under pastry. Or really, does it even matter?
I have never given palmiers or most of their puff pastry cookie cousins much thought before. Those puff pastry straws that seem so popular? Didn't entice me in any way. Perhaps it was because they seemed too simple. Just puff pastry and sugar surely cannot be that big a deal.
However, they say that sometimes, simple is best. Based on my experience in baking varied cakes, tarts, cookies and yadda yadda yadda over the past few years, I concur with that statement. Besides, I love puff pastry, and since I was bored, I decided to try out some palmiers.
As quick as these cookies are to put together, you have to make and freeze them in advance. That is to say, after coating the thawed puff pastry with sugar and rolling it up, you have to put them back in the freezer so that they can firm up. Only then can you slice and bake of the palmiers at your whim and fancy. But from that point on, the cookies can be baked and sent into your mouth in less than 20 minutes. It's that quick.
The recipe is so simple it's not really a recipe- On a work surface, cover an area as large as your sheet of thawed rolled out puff pastry with granulated sugar. Take the puff pastry and place it on top of the sugar, applying slight pressure on it so that the sugar will adhere. Press more sugar into the surface of the puff pastry. Start from on end of the puff pastry and roll it up like a swiss roll until you reach slightly before the halfway mark. Repeat, this time rolling from the opposite side of the puff pastry. Bring the two rolls together, pressing them together slightly, and freeze until firm.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425F. Slice the palmiers into 1/3 inch slices or thereabouts and place on a silicon mat-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the tops of the palmiers with coarse sugar and a pinch of salt. (I feel that salt brings out the butteriness of the palmiers.) Bake for about 12 minutes or until the palmiers are lightly browned. Take care not too let the cookies get too brown. Cool on the baking sheet for about 3 minutes and remove them from the baking sheet to a wire rack while the pools of caramel they sit in remain liquid so that the caramel won't set around the cookies when they cool completely. They cool really quickly so you have to work fast.