Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers

I made these cinnamon sugar palmiers a few weeks ago to go with creme brulee. My only experience with this type of cookie was making them with frozen puff pastry from the grocery store. They were perfectly delicious with this route, but I wanted to try puff pastry from scratch. The method I used is not technically puff pastry, but rather a shortcrust, because I didn’t repeatedly fold the dough. However, I still thought the dough puffed and was delightfully flaky after baking. Nonetheless, I need to clarify the terms of “puff pastry” (thanks for educating me, Dirk)!

The trickiest part of these palmiers is ensuring the dough is chilled enough to work with. If you encounter this, just pop the dough in the fridge or freezer and let it chill for a few minutes. Other than that, this recipe is very straight forward. The result is a crispy and delicious treat that would be a wonderful addition to ice cream, creme brulee, or a cup of coffee.

Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers


For the Shortcrust

  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cup (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 9 Tbsp ice water
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice (I left this out because I didn’t have any lemons on hand and it still tasted great)

For the Palmiers

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

1. Place the flour, sugar, and salt in a mixer and mix to combine with the whisk attachment. Add a quarter of the butter and and mix until the butter is in dime-size pieces. Add the remaining butter and mix to coat the cubes with flour.

2. Combine the ice water and lemon in a small bowl (or just the ice water if you don’t have a lemon). Add half the liquid to the flour mixture and mix until just combined. Keep adding the liquid, 1 Tbsp at a time until the dough starts to clump together. The dough will be dry and shaggy at this point.

3. Turn the dough onto a clean, lightly-floured surface and mash the dough against the surface with the heel of your hand to better incorporate the butter into the mixture.

4. Gather the dough together and press the dough in to a 8 by 4 inch rectangle. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

5. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Lightly flour a large piece of parchment paper. Place the dough on the parchment and roll it into a 16 by 14 inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.

6. Brush with the beaten egg.

7. Sprinkle the dough liberally with the cinnamon sugar, gently smoothing the sugar and patting it onto the dough.

8. With the long side of the dough closest to you, fold 3 inches of the outer edges toward the center, leaving a 2 inch strip in the middle.

9. Fold the outer edges in again so that both sides of the rectangles are folded in (on top of themselves).

10. Fold the dough in half, forming a rectangular log.Ā  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 1 hour).

11. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the chilled roll into 1/2 inch thick slices and position 1 inch apart on a baking sheet. Bake until the palmiers are golden brown, about 20-24 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack.

Source: Baking Illustrated

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Heather says:

    This looks incredible! I love anything with cinnamon in it. I thought about trying my hand once at puff pastry, but then decided to just take a nap on the couch until the notion was gone. šŸ™‚

  2. Dirk Flinthart says:

    That’s not puff pastry. That’s a rich butter shortcrust. Puff pastry calls for layers, which you achieve by buttering your basic dough, folding it, rolling it, buttering it again, folding it again, rolling it again… go through the butter/fold/roll routine at least three times, then fold and roll at least twice more. Roll the whole thing out thin, and leave it to refrigerate overnight.

    What you have now is multiple very thin layers of dough with butter in between. When you bake it, the butter prevents the layers of dough from merging, and the moisture in the dough enters the butter-lined spaces and ‘puffs up’ the pastry.

    It’s a complicated, annoying process, which is why I buy the stuff rather than make my own. But what you’ve got here is absolutely not puff pastry, and anybody who bakes this stuff expecting lovely, flaky, puffy layers of crispy pastry is going to be surprised. (Not necessarily disappointed, mind you: a nice, sweet, butter shortcrust is a very fine thing.)

    1. Lolly says:

      Hi Dirk. You’re right- I completely see what you are saying. I did not go through the folding process. I did fraisage the dough twice, which I think still allowed this dough to still puff and obtain a nice flakiness with baking. However, I will edit the blog post right away! Thank you for educating me on this. I now want to go back and make it again. šŸ™‚

      1. Dirk Flinthart says:

        Heck, you’re better at this than me by a good margin. I’ve never heard of ‘fraisage’, and I was actually thinking that a nice, light shortcrust might work better than the classic puff-pastry in this recipe. I’m a bit ambivalent about palmiers at the best of times, and I think a melting, fluffy shortcrust would work far better with the rich, buttery/sugary cinnamon sweetness than would the rather crunchy flake of classic puff-pastry.

        I’m totally stealing this recipe as it stands!

  3. mrsdevonk says:

    Wow! I’m impressed! The cookies look heavenly.

  4. Jamie says:

    PS – I still think upon completion of your Doctorate in Physical Therapy you need to promptly begin plans on a little bakery…. in Berlin! ;o)

  5. Jamie says:

    Laurel – I am loving your blog!! I love that you are sharing these yummy sounding – tried and true – recipes šŸ™‚ THANK YOU , your writing is also superb and enjoyable to read… Thanks again for the many wonderful recipes you’ve shared already! šŸ™‚

    1. Lolly says:

      Jamie- thank you so much for your nice words. It really means a lot to me coming from such a “tried and true” friend. Love you lots.

  6. Nicole, RD says:

    Puff pastry from scratch – you are a saint! I am super, super impressed!

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