The Beloved French Pastry You (Yes, You!) Can Make at Home With One Ingredient from the Freezer Aisle

French bakery case

Palmiers, the classic, bow-shaped French cookies, are one the most beloved pastries throughout France (and many other parts of the world). The crispy, buttery cookies are as ubiquitous to the French as chocolate chip cookies are to Americans.

The elegant rolled cookies are fun to buy at a bakery, but they're also very fun—and extremely easy—to make at home. And a recent video on The New York Times Cooking's Instagram page reminded us of this fact. In the video, chef and recipe developer Ham El-Waylly walked us through the recipe, if you could even call it that.

Ham, who was wrapped in a blanket at the start of the video, assures viewers that this is the laziest homemade dessert, and we're pretty sure he's right. All you need is a box of store-bought puff pastry dough, sugar and melted butter.

Palmiers require laminated dough, and if you’ve ever faced the race against time and temperature involved in making laminated dough, you’ll know exactly why many people welcome the opportunity not to make it from scratch. With Ham’s store-bought puff pastry hack, you can make Paris cafe-worthy pastries with minimal effort.

Related: Wait, What's The Difference Between Phyllo Dough and Puff Pastry?

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What Ingredients Do I Need For Palmiers?

To replicate the classic cookies, all you need is store-bought puff pastry, melted butter and sugar. In the video, Ham encourages cooks to seek out all-butter puff pastry. Pepperidge Farm’s frozen puff pastry dough is widely available, but it doesn't contain any butter, which means your palmiers will be much less flavorful. All-butter puff pastry (often the Dufour brand) is becoming more and more available in grocery stores across the country, so definitely look for it when you're shopping.

Related: What the Costco Bakery Section Looks Like in France



How To Make Palmiers at Home

Ham wasn’t lying when he said that these are the easiest palmiers ever. You’ll start by rolling out the store-bought dough, brushing it with melted butter and then generously sprinkling with sugar. Next, you roll the long sides of the dough toward the center, meeting in the middle. Chill the dough for at least 20 minutes to help the cookies hold their shape and make the dough easier to cut into clean, even slices.

Slice the chilled dough and arrange the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush thecookies with a little more melted butter and sprinkle more sugar on top. This final sprinkling of sugar will get browned and caramelized in the oven, which helps give the cookie its signature shiny, golden look and its satisfying snap. Pop the cookies into a 450° oven, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through to help them bake evenly.

In Ham’s video, he makes two versions of palmiers. One is the classic version described here, and the second uses turbinado sugar in place of granulated sugar with a little bit of flaky, Maldon salt sprinkled on as well. The sugar is definitely the classic version, but feel free to make this recipe your own. You can add a little spice to the sugar (cinnamon, cardamom or ginger would be great), spread some jam inside the pastries or go in a savory direction with pesto, tapenade or grated Parmesan cheese.

Also keep in mind that you can adjust the shape a bit. If you push the coiled tops up a bit and pinch the bottom you'll end up with heart-shaped palmiers that make a great Valentine's Day treat.

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