Monday, March 5, 2012

Chocolate Palmiers

Palmiers are sweet, caramelized cookies made from buttery puff pastry that are both flaky & crunchy.  It's the perfect cookie to make when you want something simple and satisfying to go with a cup of strong tea or some dark, rich coffee.  Add a bit of chopped, best-quality chocolate to the mix and you get a different cookie that's both chic & delicious at the same time.  Using store bought puff pastry helps speed things along in the kitchen, so I highly recommend using an all-butter variety from a reliable source; you can certainly make your own pastry if you're so inclined.  The chocolate itself should be of the semisweet variety that you enjoy eating and be finely chopped by hand.  There are many highly delicious imported brands of chocolate available to the home baker (Valrhona & Callebaut are wonderful), but there are also several domestic chocolates that are among my favorites (I love Ghirardelli & Scharffen Berger) which give excellent baking results.  Let your tastes buds guide you.


Chocolate Palmiers

The Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb. puff pastry, thawed
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate (1 cup), finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Confectioner's sugar (10x) for dusting
Yield: approximately 3 dozen palmiers.

Buying a large pound block of chocolate is a good investment if you bake a lot.  It can be cut, weighed & chopped easily with a serrated knife.

Beginning at the end of the chocolate bar, break up the chocolate into shards with your serrated knife.  The pieces will break off easily.  If you have a steady hand, the chocolate can be chopped very finely straight off the block.  If you have a hard time, simply break it off into chunks & finely chop it.

This is what your chocolate should look like.  Go ahead and steal a bite.  After all, you have to make sure it's positively delicious.

Transfer the chocolate to a bowl & keep it ready.  The remaining chocolate can be kept in a cool, dry place wrapped tightly for up to 1 year.  It's a Good Thing to have for emergencies! 

Sprinkle & spread 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar over a silpat or piece of parchment paper. 

Add the remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar evenly over the pastry & quickly roll out the dough along the length of the silpat to 1/8" thickness.  It's important to roll out puff pastry in one direction with an even amount of pressure. 


You want to have a rectangle measuring approximately 14" x 11".  Trim any excess pastry with a sharp metal bench scraper or pastry wheel cutter.  I don't advocate cutting the dough with a knife or you may end up marring your silpat. 

Sprinkle the chopped chocolate over the dough in an even layer.

Begin rolling the longest side facing you toward the middle of the rectangle.  Stop when  you get halfway.  Roll the other side in the same fashion.

 This is what you want to end up with.  Promptly put the baking sheet in the freezer & chill the log for 1 hour.


Position the racks in the lower part of the oven.

Preheat the oven to 375° F

Remove the palmier log from the freezer & carefully slice cookies 1/4" in thickness.  Transfer the cookies with great care to parchment-lined or silpat-lined baking sheets (I scoop each slice with the knife, while using my other hand to hold it together).  This process can be a bit messy, but be patient.  If any chocolate falls out, you can simply tuck it into the folds when you position the cookies on the baking sheet.  Any misshapen palmiers can be corrected by tightly rolling the coils inward.  The cookies aren't meant to be cookie cutter perfect, so don't worry.  Space them evenly with about 2" in between each cookie.  You want about one dozen per cookie sheet.

Liberally sprinkle each cookie with confectioner's sugar and immediately place the baking sheet on the lowest rack in your preheated oven.  The other cookie sheets should be kept in the refrigerator while waiting for a sheet to be done.

Bake until golden around the edges & crispy through and through. 

 12-15 minutes total baking time.


Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks.  Once cooled completely, the cookies can be kept in an airtight cookie jar for about 2 days. 


Crunchy & sweet, chocolaty & flaky are just some of the ways to describe this cookie.  Having puff pastry in the freezer is a must for anyone who loves to bake, cook & entertain on a regular basis; a myriad of desserts & savory dishes can be made with this versatile pastry.  Stocking good quality chocolate & sugar in the pantry should be a priority for everyone!  With only a handful of ingredients and creating a minimum of fuss, anyone can make these Chocolate Palmiers.  On my list of things to share with loved ones, this particular sweet is definitely a part of it.  Enjoy baking them!

2 comments:

  1. I have always wanted to try this recipe. Thanks for getting me moving!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oooo! You certainly need to give them a try, but remember, share them. Otherwise, you may want to eat them all!

    ~David

    ReplyDelete

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