If you are a fan of a palmier, your ship has come in! These palmiers bake up crispy and delicious, and if you squint, I guess they kind of look like elephant ears!

Whatever you call them, I’ll show you how to make them, how to change up the flavors, and how to bake them up into French pastry cookie perfection.

These are made with homemade puff pastry, but you can also use storebought. For more fun with puff, you may enjoy my spiced puff pastry apple turnovers.

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Elephant ear shaped palmier cookies embedded with sugar on a black grid cooling rack.

Watch my best palmier recipe web story here.

What’s a Palmier, Anyway?

A palmier is a puff pastry-based cookie made by rolling either homemade puff pastry or storebought puff in sugar on both sides.

Once the sugar is embedded in both sides of puff, it gets folded in such a way that, when baked, they puff out to look a bit like palm leaves or elephant ears.

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They aren’t hard to fold, I promise. I’ll show you how.

They bake up crispy and light with a ton of flaky layers plus caramelized sugar on the outsides.

What Makes These Palmiers Worth Making

Can you make palmiers with just white sugar?

Of course. I didn’t do that, though.

I used a combination of equal parts white sugar (for sweetness and caramelization), brown sugar for more complex flavor, and Sugar in the Raw (demerara) sugar for crunch.

I also added a judicious amount of Baking Spice, which I absolutely love.

Plus, if you’re not adding a little salt to your sugar mixture, you’re missing out on the best possible flavor.

Stick with me on this one, and I promise you’ll soon be eating the palmiers of your dreams.

Ingredients and Substitutions

Here’s what you’ll need to make these palmiers:

Images of all the ingredients needed to make palmiers, labeled and on a white background. The ingredients are: puff pastry, granulated sugar, brown sugar, coarse sugar, salt, and Baking Spice.
  • puff pastry: Use storebought (all-butter, if possible) or homemade. Even if you only have a little leftover puff, you can still make quite a few palmiers. I made 24 with a piece of puff about 10″ x 12″ rolled out to about 1/8″.
  • granulated sugar: The finer grains of granulated sugar melt readily, especially the parts that are touching the sheetpan. this provides a good amount of caramelized goodness as well as straightforward sweetness
  • brown sugar: when mixed with the butter in the puff, the brown sugar gives an almost butterscotchy edge to the palmiers. And you know how I love butterscotch. It also generally gives a bit more complex flavor
  • coarse sugar: I used Sugar in the Raw. Any coarse-grained sugar will work such as turbinado or demerara sugar. These less-refined sugars provide a more complex sweetness as well as lending crunch. The larger crystals, especially in the middle of the cookies, won’t melt as readily as plain granulated sugar, and so you get some extra crunchy sugar crystals to add even more textural interest
  • salt: While palmiers are all about the sweet, we do need a bit of salt to balance the sweetness and bring out all the nuance in the less-refined sugar. Don’t leave it out!
  • Baking Spice: This is my new favorite all-purpose baking blend for pies, turnovers, and more. You can substitute cinnamon or a mixture of your favorite baking spices. Or you can omit it entirely. Traditional palmiers don’t have any additional spicing.
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Procedure

Here’s how to shape palmiers.

Once you learn this general procedure, branch out and make savory palmiers using cheese in place of the sugar.

The sky is the limit!

A collage of 2 images. The first shows a white bowl full of sugar and spice with a bag of coarse sugar and a jar of baking spice in the background. The second shows the sugar and spice mixed evenly together.
  • Whisk all your sugar and flavorings together.
  • Spread sugar mixture evenly on your work surface.
  • Put the puff pastry on top of the bed o’ sugar.
  • Pour more sugar mixture evenly over the top of the puff.
  • Roll the puff out so the sugar is embedded into both sides. Flip the pastry once or twice to make sure you get even coverage.
  • Fold long sides halfway in towards the center.
  • Repeat so the two sides meet in the middle.
  • Fold one side over the other.
  • Slice and place on their sides, cut side up, 12 to a sheet
  • Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or put in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
  • Bake, cool, enjoy.
A collage of 4 images showing puff pastry rolled in sugar, the puff with edges folded in towards the center, folden in again, and then finally closed together like a book.

Jenni Says: You won’t use all the sugar mixture, so save it for making cinnamon toast, swirl it into streusel for coffee cake, or hold onto it for your next Palmier Day.

See How They Puff

You may look at your palmiers, pre-baking, and think: well, those look stupid. They’ll never end up looking like palm leaves, let alone elephant ears.

I mean, seriously?

An overhead shot of several folded palmiers on parchment before baking. They are thin, and there are lines of darker sugar between the folds of the lighter pastry. They are not at all puffed before baking.

But here’s the thing: they will puff. Because that’s what puff pastry does.

Usually, all the layers are stacked on top of each other, so the pastry puffs UP when baked.

But since these guys are set on edge, all the layers are vertical and not horizontal.

This means that they will all puff OUT when baked.

And here is the glory and magic of beautifully caramelized and puffed palmiers:

A close up shot of palmiers in the oven. They are puffed out to resemble ears, and there is coarse sugar embedded in the dough. They are golden brown and a little shiny.

Jenni Says: If you have a convection oven, your palmiers will bake up with maximum puff and crispiness. If you have a convection setting, turn it on to make these.

What If I Don’t Have a Convection Oven?

Worry not, your palmier guys will still puff prodigiously.

The slower bake allows for more crispy caramelization even though they won’t puff quite as much.

Here’s what they look like baked in a conventional oven, with no fan.

A close up of deep, golden-brown palmier cookies on a baking sheet.

Equipment You May Need

Other than a good rolling pin, you don’t need a lot of special equipment to make palmiers.

Bake on sturdy half-sheet pans that won’t warp in the oven, and cover each sheet with a sheet of parchment.

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  • No need to cut for different-sized rectangles. Just fold to fit.
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03/06/2024 07:47 pm GMT

Variations

A wooden bowl of mixed sugar and spice with a jar of baking spice behind it and a metal cooling rack of palmiers.

Here are a few ideas for additions and substitutions to change up your flavors:

  • Very finely chopped and toasted nuts
  • Cocoa powder for chocolate palmiers
  • Citrus zest
  • Finely minced crystallized ginger
  • Use all brown sugar or all demerara. Or all granulated. Your call
  • Drizzle with a little melted chocolate or glaze and then add some sparkling sugar to make them Holiday-Ready
  • Switch out sugar for grated cheese and the world of savory palmiers is your oyster (basically my puff pastry cheese straws but in palmier shape)

Pro Tip

For maximum puff, chill your elephant ears either in the freezer or fridge until firm.

Palmier Q & A

How long do these keep?

They will stay nice and crisp for 2-4 days in a tightly covered container. If they do start to lose their crispiness, refresh them in a 350F oven for 2-3 minutes, let cool completely, and then enjoy.

Can I bake these from frozen?

Yes, you can. Make a ton of these, freeze on sheet pans, and then transfer to heavy-duty piz-top freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months before baking. That way, you can bake off a tray whenever company is coming or when you just need a little something.

Serving Suggestions

Always welcome on a cookie tray at the holidays, share some with friends along with some angel slices and crispy chocolate cookies.

Palmiers are also delicious alongside a cup of coffee or tea. Or try them with a homemade version of a Starbucks pink drink.

The crispy texture also makes them perfect as an accompaniment to almost any ice cream. Try a couple with my easy lemon ice cream recipe.

Oooh, or my orange hot chocolate!

A Note About Measurements

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03/07/2024 05:03 pm GMT

Questions

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Elephant ear shaped palmier cookies embedded with sugar on a black grid cooling rack.

Palmier Recipe (Elephant Ear Pastries)

Jennifer Field
Palmiers or elephant ear pastries are made from either homemade or storebought all-butter puff pastry rolled in sugar and the folded so that they resemble palm leaves (or elephant ears) once baked. They are crispy and caramelized and are lovely with a cup of coffee or tea. Use my homemade puff pastry or all-butter storebought.
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Tried this recipe?Please give it a star rating!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Cookies and Bars
Cuisine French
Servings 24
Calories 68 kcal

Ingredients

  • 226 grams homemade puff pastry or 1 sheet storebought 8 oz or about 1/4 recipe
  • 70 grams granulated sugar 2.5 oz or about 1/3 cup
  • 70 grams dark brown sugar 2.5 oz or about 1/3 cup, lightly packed
  • 70 grams coarse sugar such as Sugar in the Raw 2.5 oz or about 1/3 cup
  • 1 Tablespoon baking spice or substitute pumpkin spice or cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon fine salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375F, convection if you have it. If not, 375F in a conventional oven will do nicely.
  • Set a rack in the center of your oven. These will do best if baking one pan at a time, especially with convection.
  • If using homemade puff, trim off any edges that are rounded to expose all the layers and allow for maximum puffing.
  • Whisk the three sugars together with the salt and spices until evenly combined.
  • Spread a relatively thick layer of sugar onto your work surface.
  • Place the sheet of puff pastry in the center of the sugared area.
  • Add more sugar to the top of the sheet and spread it out with your hand.
  • Roll the pastry, flipping it a couple of times, until it's about 1/8" thick and the sugar is embedded into both sides of the sheet. (You will have a lot of sugar leftover. That's okay. Better too much than not enough)
  • Take your sugared sheet of dough and fold the two longer edges in halfway towards each other. Then fold them in towards each other again so they meet. Fold one half over the other.
  • Slice into 3/8" slices, and place them, cut side up, on parchment-lined baking sheets, 12 to a sheet.
  • Freeze or refrigerate until firm.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, flipping the cookies once or twice to make sure everything is evenly caramelized.
  • Rotate the pan halfway through the baking time.
  • They are done when they are deep golden brown and puffed. They will puff a bit more and be a bit more crisp and less caramelized if using a convection oven. Convection or conventional, they will be delicious!
  • Remove to cooling racks to cool completely.
  • Store, tightly covered, at room temperature for 3-4 days. Recrisp for a couple of minutes in the oven if necessary.

Did You Make Any Changes?

Notes

Variations

Add or substitute:
  • Very finely chopped and toasted nuts
  • Cocoa powder for chocolate palmiers
  • Citrus zest
  • Finely minced crystallized ginger
  • Use all brown sugar or all demerara. Or all granulated. Your call
  • Drizzle with a little melted chocolate or glaze and then add some sparkling sugar to make them Holiday-Ready
  • Switch out sugar for grated cheese and the world of savory palmiers is your oyster

PALMIER Q & A

How long do these keep? They will stay nice and crisp for 2-4 days in a tightly covered container. If they do start to lose their crispiness, refresh them in a 350F oven for 2-3 minutes, let cool completely, and then enjoy.
Can I bake these from frozen? Yes, you can. Make a ton of these, freeze on sheet pans, and then transfer to heavy-duty piz-top freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months before baking. That way, you can bake off a tray whenever company is coming or when you just need a little something.
Nutritionals are calculated using the nutritional information for storebought puff pastry.

Nutrition

Serving: 2gCalories: 68kcalCarbohydrates: 11.7gProtein: 0.5gFat: 2.5gSaturated Fat: 1.5gCholesterol: 6mgSodium: 120mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 8.5g
Keyword dessert, puff pastry
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Thanks for spending some time with me today.

I think you’ll really enjoy the palmiers!

Take care, and have a lovely day.

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2 Comments

  1. How long is the baking time for baking from frozen? Do I need to thaw them first? Also, would this baking from frozen method work for a savory version with sundried tomatoes, pesto, and goat cheese?

    1. Hi, Nancy. Baking time might be increased by only a couple of minutes, and yes, you can absolutely make a savory version and bake from frozen as long as you’re not using “juicy” ingredients. Your sundried tomato, pesto, and goat cheese version sounds fabulous, honestly! Oh, and no need to thaw first. Enjoy!

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