Puff Pastry, Palmiers, and Me


I consider myself to be somewhat adept with desserts and pastries. I’ve pretty much always have been able to make a great pie crust. I made a sachertorte when I was 13. I’m very good with scones and biscuits and shortbread. But the one thing I’ve never made is puff pastry. I’ve seen others make it, and damn, it’s a lot of work, folding the butter in time and time again. So I cheat and buy frozen puff pastry sheets. Yes, I’m finally coming clean and letting the world (and my professional baking friends) that I’m a puff pastry fraud. I’m the Milli Vanilli of puff pastry.

And I don’t care one tiny bit. I love the frozen stuff — the convenience, the simplicity. I pull a box out of the freezer, let in thaw, and then go to town. Sometimes I make cheese puffs, but my “go-to” puff pastry dish is the humble palmier. The palmier (French for “palm”) is nothing but puff pastry, butter, sugar and cinnamon. It’s incredibly easy to make, especially when using the frozen puff pastry. I don’t claim to make a classic palmier, the type you find in bakeries and patisseries across the world — I’d probably need to make my own damn puff pastry for that, and you already know that’s out of the question. But I make a tasty, caramelized, crispy and flaky delight that my kids adore. And frankly, I like them, too.

So grab yourself some puff pastry from your grocer’s freezer and make a batch of palmiers. You’ll be happy, and your loved ones will think you’re a god. Just one who knows how to take shortcuts now and then.


  • 1 box frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 cups light brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp. cinnamon
  • flour for dusting

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Lightly dust surface with flour and roll out a sheet of puff pastry until it’s about 18″ by 14″.

Spread half the stick of butter evenly across the pastry. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon and evenly spoon half of this mixture across the buttered pastry. With your palms, gently press the sugar into the puff pastry to help it “stick” to the butter.

Beginning at left edge, roll the dough, jelly roll style, to the center line. Repeat with the right edge. This will result in the dough having almost an eyeglasses shape.

With a sharp knife, cut 1/2 inch slices of dough, and place the eyeglass-shaped slices on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. This will be somewhat messy.

Repeat with other sheet of puff pastry.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes or until light brown. Cool completely on wire racks.

Makes about 4 dozen palmiers.


5 Responses to Puff Pastry, Palmiers, and Me

  1. --Lisa S. says:

    What a great low-calorie treat…. 🙂

  2. Maura says:

    I don’t know anyone who makes their own puff pastry. The frozen works fine for me.

    Palmiers are fabulous, savory or sweet. Easy and fast to make, and everyone thinks you’re a genius.

  3. pheebs55 says:

    You know, puff is not the beast everyone makes it out to be. A couple of hours, not much more. Do I attempt it in July? Of course not, but this time of year it really isn’t any trouble. Plus you can make a bunch and freeze it! I think anyone would notice a difference between frozen and what you craft from your own hands. I dunno…maybe it’s just me; I love to make it, probably more than I love eating it.

  4. Varmint says:

    See, I knew I’d catch some grief from my pastry chef friends!

  5. VaNC says:

    Well, she lost me with the “couple hours, not much more”. I am with you, Varmint, frozen puff pastry is great stuff.

    It is funny, but I also made palmiers this Christmas, but for the first time. Mattie and I pulled out our sticky tattered copy of M.Stewart’s “Holiday Cookies’ magazine from a couple years ago (the most complete holiday cookie digest I have ever found and have not found a bad recipe yet….as much as MS annoys me otherwise) , flipped through, picking what to make one afternoon and decided on palmiers based on the facts that 1)we both loved them, and 2) we had all three ingredients on hand. They were great. However, I am thrilled to see your recipe, as it is much easier. MS’s recipe only had you spread the sugar on the dough before rolling and also on the tops….no butter. However, there was this very involved process of dough chilling, spraying baking pans with water, placing cut palmiers on sprayed pan, freezing for 15 minutes, then baking. If I don’t have to do all that, I would make them lots more often….and put on another 10 pounds.

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