Palmier Cookies for Max

On Friday it was “Crazy Hair Day” at the sweet, little annex school that Max attends. The school is six blocks from our house and has about 120 kids from kindergarten to grade 5. It is a wonderful school with caring teachers, a great group of kids and very involved parents from our neighbourhood.
It is the type of school that if I happen to be running late, caught in traffic or at the bank, I have more than a handful of other parents I can call, to collect Max with their child, or stay and hang out while the kids run around the playground, shrieking and laughing until I arrive. A true community school that I feel lucky to be a part of.
On Thursday night Max asked if I could make some cookies for the Crazy Hair Day celebration and specifically asked for these “elephant ears” as he calls them. He reasoned they would be a good choice as they are nut free which is always a consideration when sending treats to school. What a sweet, smart, thoughtful kid.

And not only are these nut free but a snap to make at the last minute. I took a quick look in the freezer to ensure that I had some frozen puff pastry that could be placed in the fridge to thaw overnight.

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The next morning I got up at 7 am, made coffee and preheated the oven. I put some sugar on my counter, pulled out a couple of Silpat lined baking sheets, grabbed the rolling pin and the pastry from the fridge and 20 minutes later I had the first tray of cookies cooling on the rack.

By 7:50 am all the cookies were baked and cooled and waiting to be packaged up to leave for school at 8:30 am. For Max’s crazy hair he and Glen used some intense hair gel to create an impressive faux-hawk which was a happy compromise from Max’s initial request to dye his hair green…

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As I was making the cookies in the lovely quiet of the morning light I began to think about how easy it is to do something to show Max how much I love him, and the little school he goes to. Looking at the heart shape of these cookies and thinking about how Max always proudly volunteers me for any of the cooking/baking opportunities at his school. It made me think of a post by another woman named Julie Marr who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and who writes a delightful blog called Very Truly Julie.

Now, I have never met this other Julie Marr, who shares my name, but came across her blog a few months ago and read her post entitled:  a million ways.  Her words were simple but so true, the idea of seizing every opportunity to tell and show the people you love, how much you love them. Especially your kids.

Happy Mother’s Day…

Palmiers or Elephant Ears or Butterfly Wing Cookies

1 pre- rolled sheet of puff pastry, thawed if frozen
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of fine grain sea salt

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Combine the sugar with the salt and spread 1/4 cup of the sugar mixture on a work surface. Unfold the pastry and place on the sugar mixture on your work surface.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar evenly on top of the sheet of puff pastry.  Using a rolling pin roll the pastry out on the work surface, pressing the sugar into the pastry and until it measure 14 inches square.

Fold the sides of the square toward the centre so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold one half over the other half as if you were closing a book. There will be six layers of pastry folded on top on one another.

Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices. This seems rather thin but trust me it is the right thickness. Place the slices, cut side up on a baking sheet lined with either a Silpat or parchment paper. I fit 10 cookies on each baking sheet.

Anytime you are working with puff pastry you want to ensure that the pastry is still very cool or cold when you go to put it in the oven. So, if need be, feel free to chill the cookies for 10 or 15 minutes before you bake them.

Bake in the preheated oven for 6 or 7 minutes, until caramelized and brown on the bottom and then turn them over with a spatula and bake for an additional 4 to 6 minutes.  Two things here:

1. Be very careful when flipping the cookies as caramelized sugar is extremely hot, sticks to your skin and causes nasty burns!

2. If the cookies are starting to unfurl a bit this is your chance to carefully push them back together so that they hold their shape. This is done by using some utensils other than your fingers (see note above) and gently pressing them so that they come back together and then holding for 10 seconds or so. Here is an example of two cookies, one baked “free form” and the other gently “re-furled” upon flipping it.

Both taste good but the one on the right just looks a bit more “together” and pretty. Does this make sense? Ensuring that the dough is cold upon going into the oven also helps with this shape issue.

Remove from the baking tray to a cooking rack. Once baked these keep well stored in an airtight container.

Makes 20 cookies.

Adapted from Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten.
Printable recipe

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8 Responses to Palmier Cookies for Max

  1. Sarolta says:

    My mom LOVES elephant ears! I should make these for her this afternoon for Mother's Day!

  2. El says:

    Looks delicious. I love palmiers!

  3. emcee2 says:

    Maybe we need to take baking lessons too…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Julie, I think these look better than the ones that Juan makes in Melaque!
    I'm not saying that Juan's aren't as good cause when I'm buying them I've usually had a couple of wobbly-pops so who knows if they are as tasty.

  5. naomi says:

    hey! i want to see max's crazy hair too!
    think of you all the time
    hope you are well and happy
    you are a great mom

  6. LM says:

    What's wrong with green hair?

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