Well, here we are. It's Christmas Day, which means it's also the very last day of 12 Days of Christmas Cookies.
For those of you who have been following since Day 1, thanks for joining me on this little adventure. I've gone through more butter, sugar and flour than I care to share, but I have zero regrets. (I also have zero butter left in my stash, but that's easily solved next time I go to the supermarket.)
To close things off on Day 12, I've got a last-minute cookie recipe that's perfect for throwing together while the rest of your Christmas dinner is in progress. All you need is a sheet of puff pastry and some nuts, butter and honey.
This year, I want to help you get into the holiday spirit with a little something I'm calling the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies.
From December 14 to 25, I'm posting a new holiday cookie recipe each day. Did you miss one? You can catch up on my Christmas Cookies page.
All the Goodness of Baklava, Only Easier
Everyone loves baklava, but let's be honest, it's kind of a beast to make from scratch. You have to arrange multiple layers of delicate phyllo dough, each one brushed with butter, plus a nut filling and a honey syrup to pour overtop.
Palmier cookies, on the other hand, are stupidly easy to make if you start with store-bought puff pastry, which is exactly what I do here.
All you have to do is roll out the puff pastry, spread with a filling of your choice, roll back up into the signature palmier shape, and finally slice and bake.
This recipe is my attempt to develop a mash-up of baklava and palmiers. You get the nutty sweetness of the former and the immediate gratification of the latter, all in one perfect two-bite cookie.
It's literally the best of both worlds. From beginning to end, you're looking at just a little over 30 minutes, so long as you remembered to defrost your puff pastry ahead of time. And in the end, you will be rewarded with deliciously flaky, buttery, nutty morsels that will disappear in a fraction of the time it took to make them.
Feel free to play around with the combination of nuts - so long as you've got ¾ cup of ground or finely chopped nuts, you're good to go. Just make sure to use an all-butter puff pastry to get the best possible results.
A Brief History of the Palmier
Also known as elephant ears or little glasses, these simple cookies are usually made with just two ingredients - puff pastry, and a generous sprinkling of sugar - though some get a little fancy by adding a dash of cinnamon.
They get their French name ("feuilles de palmier") because of their resemblance to palm leaves.
Their exact origin isn't clear - some say they were invented by French bakers who borrowed inspiration from the cuisines of their North African colonies, while others say they originated in Vienna when resourceful bakers came up with a way to use up leftover puff pastry.
More Creative Palmier Recipes
The beauty of the palmier is that the basic recipe can be adapted a million and one ways, ranging from sweet to savoury and occasionally somewhere in between. Here are a few recipes that put a new twist (pun intended) on this old favourite.
- Raspberry-Cranberry-Walnut Palmiers from Eat Live Travel Write
- Chocolate-Pecan Palmiers from Living Lou
- Sweet and Spicy Bacon Palmiers from Bite Sized Kitchen
- Blue Cheese Fig and Caramelized Onion Palmiers from A Kitchen Hoor's Adventures
These buttery, flaky cookies deliver all the goodness of baklava with a fraction of the effort. The orange blossom water is optional, but I highly recommend - it's the secret ingredient that gives the filling that signature baklava flavour.
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- ½ cup ground walnuts
- ¼ cup finely chopped pistachios
- 2 tsp orange zest
- ½ tsp orange blossom water (optional)
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 sheet butter puff pastry (half of a 450g package)
- Preheat oven to 400F, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the honey and melted butter until combined. Stir in the walnuts, pistachios, orange zest, orange blossom water, cinnamon and salt.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry to a 12x12” rectangle. Spread with the nut mixture. (Note: The mixture will be quite sticky, so this works best if you place small amounts all over the pastry and then spread to cover, rather than dropping one big blob in the middle.)
- Starting from one of the sides, roll jelly-roll style until you get to the middle. Repeat with the opposite side to make the palmier shape. Brush a bit of water down the middle seam and press to seal the two rolls together. Wrap tightly in parchment and freeze for 15-20 minutes. (This helps the pastry firm up slightly so that it slices more easily.)
- Cut pastry into ¼-inch slices. Arrange slices on prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart.
- Bake in preheated oven until golden and crisp, about 12 minutes, flipping over midway through. Let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Category: Cookies
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: French