Adapted from Ina Garten’s Palmiers
Is it possible to improve on an Ina Garten recipe? I didn’t think so, until I decided to try to make her palmiers. When my husband and I were on our honeymoon in Italy, we went to a bakery everyday to try cookies and sweets. We ended up eating quite a few butter cookies and palmiers. I thought it would be fun to make these to remind us of our trip. They were delicious, but I thought they needed something else to boost the flavor. I was thinking about my other trip to Italy and visiting Capri. There were citrus trees everywhere and even the air smelled like lemons. I decided to try to add lemon and orange zest to the palmiers, and this really took it over the top.
Notes and Suggestions:
These are very simple cookies to make if you use store bought puff pastry dough. I used Pepperidge Farms, but you can use whatever you have available. You will typically find this in the freezer section of your grocery store. You will need a rolling pin, a zester, and parchment paper. The caramelization from the sugar will stick like crazy to anything else, so I highly recommend using parchment paper. Ina suggested to fold the dough in, but I preferred rolling it as I think it turned out prettier. You may easily freeze these ahead of time after they are shaped and bake them as needed. These are very impressive when they come out of the oven, so they are a fun one to impress your friends when they come over for coffee. The citrus flavor makes them really wonderful in the spring and summer too as the cookies are also very light in texture.
First, take the puff pastry out of the freezer to defrost for 40 minutes. You can also defrost in the microwave, but you will often get hot spots in the microwave, and the dough will be harder to work with. If you plan ahead, you can defrost overnight in the refrigerator. It’s worth it to be a little patient here. While you’re waiting, zest the lemons and orange and mix them together.
When your pastry is defrosted sprinkle your board liberally with 1 cup of sugar. Yes, it’s a lot, and yes there will be a lot left. You will be rolling out the dough on top of and between the sugar so that you don’t need to flour your board or rolling pin. You are literally pushing the sugar into the pastry dough as you go.
Mix the citrus zest in with the other cup of sugar. Place your first slab of dough on top of the sugar on your board, and sprinkle one half of the citrus sugar mixture. Carefully roll out the dough to 13 inches by 13 inches pressing the sugar firmly into the dough as you go. This link goes to a video of Ina Garten making the traditional palmiers.
Roll one end of the dough into the middle and then the other side to meet it to create that traditional palmier shape.
Slice into 1/2 inch pieces and and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. When picking them up, I like to dip each end in the sugar before placing on the cookie sheet, just to give them as much sugar as possible. Keep them two inches apart as they will puff up quite a bit. Repeat the rolling out and slicing process with the remaining pastry and citrus sugar mixture. At this point, you can freeze them to bake later or bake now.
One note: be careful not to burn them. Keep a close eye as they caramelize. You may want to check them at 4 minutes and keep the light on as they start to brown. From frozen, 8 minutes seemed about right for the first side. After you flip them, 3-5 minutes for the second side. If you bake them right away, 6 minutes seemed about right, but your oven may vary.
Citrus Palmiers a la Capri
1 Package of Frozen Puff Pastry (includes two sheets of pastry)
2 cups of sugar
1/8 tsp salt
Zest of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 orange
- Defrost package of puff pastry on kitchen counter for 40 minutes. Alternately, you can defrost puff pastry overnight in refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Combine the sugar with the salt. Spread one cup of sugar mixture on board. Mix the citrus zest into remaining one cup of sugar. Unfold the puff pastry onto your board and sprinkle with one half of citrus zest and sugar mixture. Roll out the dough to 13 inches by 13 inches.
- Roll one end of dough into the middle. Repeat on other side to make traditional palmier shape.
- Slice into 1/2 inch thick slices and place cut side down onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure to space at least two inches apart.
- Unroll other sheet of puff pastry dough onto sugar on your board and sprinkle with remaining citrus zest and sugar mixture. Roll out and slice like the previous sheet. If freezing, place in freezer on cookie sheet. When frozen, store in tiptop plastic bag.
- Bake for 6 minutes, until caramelized and brown on bottom (8 minutes if you are baking from frozen). Be careful to watch as they can burn quickly. Turn and bake on the other side for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and caramelized on the other side. Cool on cookie sheets.
- You can freeze these ahead of time and bake them as needed.
- These will not keep well in a humid environment, so they are best eaten the same day.