1 hr 5 mins
Makes:About 28 cookies
Made from thinly rolled puff pastry dough that’s been folded in finely ground sugar, palmiers rise into caramelized, crispy cookies. Store-bought puff pastry dough makes what is otherwise a time-consuming treat a cinch.
What to buy: Be sure to look for an all-butter puff pastry; the flavor is superior. You will find brands like Dufour in the freezer section of many specialty grocery stores, including Whole Foods. Avoid brands made with partially hydrogenated shortening.
We’ve written this recipe to accommodate puff pastry brands sold in both one and two sheets.
1 (14- to 16-ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed according to the package directions
Place sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and process until fine, about 1 minute. Remove 1/4 cup of the sugar from the food processor and set aside for dipping the cookies in just before baking. Add salt to the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and pulse about 3 times to combine.
Sprinkle about half of the sugar-salt mixture onto your work surface to match the size of the puff pastry. Place the puff pastry sheet(s) on the sugar mixture with one of the short ends closest to you and sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture evenly on top. If you’re using a single puff pastry sheet, roll the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick rectangle, sprinkling loose sugar from the work surface onto it as you roll. If you’re using two sheets, roll each to 1/8 inch thick (you will have two 9-inch squares), sprinkling loose sugar from the work surface onto the dough as you roll.
Fold the top third of the single sheet over the middle third, then fold the bottom third over the top and middle thirds, as if folding a business letter. If you’re using two 9-inch square sheets, fold each in half.
Rotate the dough piece(s) so one of the short ends is closest to you. Sprinkle more loose sugar from the work surface on the dough. Roll the dough piece(s) out from left to right only (not top to bottom) to about 3/8 inch thick (between 6 to 8 inches wide). (It does not matter how long the dough is at this point.)
Determine the center line of the dough piece(s) running from top to bottom. Fold the left and right sides to the center line, so the two folds just touch in the center. Fold one half lengthwise over the other (as if closing a book). You should now have one long piece (or two pieces) of dough about 2 inches wide. Gently run the rolling pin over the top of the dough piece(s) to press the layers together. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the upper third. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut half of the dough into 1/2-inch-thick slices crosswise (keep the remaining dough refrigerated). Dip the slices on both sides in the reserved ground sugar. Place the slices on one of the prepared baking sheets 1 1/2 inches apart; about 12 to 15 should fit. Bake until the sugar around the edges of the palmiers just starts to caramelize, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and flip each palmier over with a spatula. The palmiers will spread; use the spatula to push them back together, being careful not to touch the hot sugar with your fingers.
Rotate the baking sheet and continue baking until the cookies are a deep golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat cutting and baking with the remaining dough on the second baking sheet.