Palmiers Cookies (Elephant Ears)

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Palmiers cookies, also known as “elephant ear cookies,” are quick and easy to make. All you need are 2 basic ingredients: puff pastry sheets and sugar. You can assemble the puff pastry dough at home, or buy it at the market. Enjoy these cookies for snacks and dessert.

📌 Pin Palmiers Cookies

Palmiers Cookies on a baking tray with coarse sparkling sugar.

Elephant ear cookies are elegant desserts perfect any time of year, including Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and for graduation parties. For casual luncheons and formal dinner parties (like Thanksgiving) they make wonderful hostess gifts. During the holiday season, add them to your cookie boxes.

Serve elephant ear cookies with coffee, tea, or milk. For a tea party, they’re a fancy addition to a tiered serving tray. Enjoy them with your beverage of choice in the morning, as a mid-day snack, or a light after-dinner dessert.

For these sweet homemade treasures, we use a light flaky pastry dough to make crisp palmier cookies with a delicate crunch. I’ll show you how to make the dough at home, but feel free to use a box of ready-to-bake puff pastry sheets from the grocery store.

Elephant Ear Cookies arranged on a lined baking tray.

🛒 Ingredients

For the Pastry Dough

👩🏻‍🍳 Halfway homemade: Quickly make palmiers cookies with store-bought puff pastry sheets. Make sure the pastry is made entirely with butter, not with shortening or other oils. Look for a box of Dufour classic puff pastry.

Or make puff pastry dough from scratch with the ingredients below.

  • All-Purpose Flour: It’s the base of our puff pastry dough. All-purpose flour works best here. Make sure to measure it using the spoon-and-level method, as adding too much flour can result in dry pastry dough.
  • Granulated Sugar: Adds just a hint of sweetness to the dough. But we’re also using granulated sugar to roll the palmiers so they get that delicious crisp sugar coating.
  • Kosher Salt: Helps season the dough and balance out the sweetness of the cookies.
  • Salted Butter: It’s the key to puff pastry, and it must be very cold. Cold butter will result in a light flaky dough.
  • Ice-Cold Water: This chilled liquid helps bring the dough together. We’re using ice water to help keep the butter cold. Just make sure not to get any bits of ice in your dough.
Ingredients for the dough for palmiers cookies (AKA elephant ear cookies).

For the Palmiers Cookies

  • Granulated Sugar: Provides sweetness, texture and crunch. Be very generous with this ingredient when assembling elephant ear cookies.
  • Turbinado Sugar or Coarse Sparkling Sugar: These coarse sugars add more flavor and texture to the cookies. It gives them a nice crunch. Either type of sugar works well. If you have both types, feel free to combine them together.
Turbinado sugar and coarse sparkling sugar for sprinkling on Palmiers Cookies (AKA Elephant Ear Cookies).

📖 Recipe Steps

👩🏻‍🍳 Make the Pastry Dough

👉🏻 Halfway Homemade: If using a box of store-bought puff pastry, thaw it according to package directions. For flaky cookies, the dough must be pliable but still cool. You can skip the 8 steps below for making the dough. Just scroll down to the instructions for forming and baking the palmiers.

  1. Add flour, sugar, salt and half the butter to the bowl of the food processor. (Or make this recipe by hand without kitchen tools.*)
  2. Pulse just until the butter is incorporated – do not overmix.
  3. Add remaining butter and ice-cold water to the bowl. Pulse just until a rough dough forms that can be pressed together into a ball. Do not over-process the dough. This is very important. Small chunks of butter should be visible throughout the mixture.
  4. Briefly place your hands under cold running water to shed any heat before working with the dough. Dry them well with a kitchen towel. Transfer dough to a lightly-floured work surface. Quickly knead it a few times with the heels of your hands. Pat the dough into a 1/2-inch thick square. Wrap it in plastic and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour.

👩🏻‍🍳 *RECIPE TIP: You don’t need a food processor to make the dough for palmiers cookies. You can make it with your hands in a mixing bowl. For complete instructions, see this detailed post for 👉🏻 puff pastry dough.

How to make puff pastry dough step by step.
  1. Lightly flour a work surface. Roll the chilled square of dough into an 8″x10″ rectangle. Lightly dust both sides of dough with flour.
  2. Now we’ll begin the rolling and folding process. Starting from the shorter end, fold the rectangle into thirds, just like folding a business letter before putting it into an envelope.
  3. Rotate the dough a quarter turn. Repeat the process 3 more times: rolling, folding rotating.
  4. Slip the folded dough into a zip-top bag. Chill it in the fridge for 2 hours (or up to 2 days) before making the elephant ear cookies.
How to roll, fold and rotate the dough for palmiers cookies.

🧑🏼‍🍳 Form & Bake the Palmiers Cookies

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Put it aside. Generously sprinkle granulated sugar (about 2 tablespoons) over your work surface.

  1. Place the puff pastry on top of the sugar. Sprinkle more sugar generously over the top of the pastry. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll out 1 piece to a 1/8″ thick rectangle (about 10″x”15″). Transfer it to the prepared baking tray.
  2. Fold the puff pastry in half lengthwise and gently crease it – we’re just marking the center of the pastry so we know where the middle is. Open the dough back up (unroll it).
  3. Sprinkle 1/4 cup granulated sugar evenly over the dough. Roll both long sides of the dough inward, stopping at the crease in the middle. Gently squeeze the dough together to create a heart-shaped log (which also look like elephant ears).
  4. Slip the tray into freezer for 15 minutes, or until the dough is cold and firm. Don’t skip this step – it’ll help the Palmiers cookies keep their shape. Once the dough has chilled, slice the log into 1/3″ pieces with a very sharp knife.
How to make palmiers cookies, step by step.
  1. Dip the cut side of each piece into the remaining granulated sugar.
  2. Place the elephant ear cookies cut side up on the prepared baking tray. Make sure to leave at least 2 1/2 inches of space between each cookie. They’ll puff up and spread quite a bit during baking.
  3. Sprinkle the palmiers cookies with turbinado sugar (or coarse white sparkling sugar) and bake for 13 minutes or until the pastries are golden blonde. If the sugar on the bottom of the cookies starts to burn before baking is completed, immediately lower the temperature to 375ºF, and move the baking tray to a higher rack.
  4. Allow the palmier cookies to cool completely on the tray. As they shed heat they’ll become crisper. Serve and enjoy.

Expert Tip – Oven Temperature: The temperature displayed on the oven control panel is not necessarily the actual temperature inside your oven. For exact bake times and best results for your recipes, I highly recommend an oven thermometer to measure the exact internal temp.

Final steps for making elephant ear cookies (French palmiers cookies).

🥣 Recipe FAQ

These are the most commonly-asked questions when making Palmiers cookies, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

Which store-bought puff pastry sheets for palmiers?

For the best palmier cookies, select a brand that uses all-butter, not shortening or other oils. Dufour Pastry Kitchens makes a classic all-butter puff pastry (each 14-ounce box contains 1 9×15-inch sheet, 1/8-inch thick). During the holiday season, Trader Joe’s carries a very affordable all-butter puff pastry (each 18-ounce box contains 2 10-1/4 x12-inch sheets, 1/16-inch thick). Note: Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets are made with shortening and contain no butter.

What are palmiers?

They’re French cookies that are buttery, crisp and delicately flaky. Because of their shape, they’re also known as elephant ear cookies, palm tree cookies, and French heart cookies. If you’re wondering how to pronounce palmiers, here’s how: pal-mee-ei.

How to flavor sweet palmier cookies?

Add cinnamon and nutmeg to the granulated sugar. It’s a delicious and fragrant combination. Or spread jam over the dough before rolling it into a log. My favorite: drizzle the cooled palmiers with dark chocolate and sprinkle them with finely-chopped pistachios or almonds.

How to make savory palmiers?

Spread pesto or olive tapenade over the dough and sprinkle it with grated parmesan cheese. For more savory flavor, add minced sun-dried tomatoes. For more texture add a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Can I use phyllo dough for palmiers instead of puff pastry?

No, I would not recommend this. When it comes to palmiers cookies, phyllo dough and puff pastry are not interchangeable. Each is made with different ingredients and have different textures. Phyllo dough is not made with butter – butter is brushed between the sheets. Puff pastry has layers of butter laminated into the dough.

How long do elephant ear cookies last?

It’s best to enjoy palmiers within 24 hours – when the texture is at its prime. But when stored at room temperature in an airtight container, they can last up to 3 days. After that time the cookies will go soft and lose their delicate crunch.

Can you freeze homemade palmiers?

You can freeze the uncooked dough. After rolling the dough into a heart-shaped log, wrap it tightly in plastic. Slip it into a zip-top freezer bag and press out the air. Freeze for up to 1 month. When ready to enjoy Palmiers cookies, thaw the log in the fridge over night. Then proceed with slicing it into pieces, coating the pieces in sugar, and baking.

Elephant ear cookies cooling on a metal rack.

🍪 More Yummy Cookies

If you love elephant ear cookies, you’ll enjoy these delicious homemade cookies too. Add them to your recipe collection.

A close-up view of perfect palmier cookies cooling on a wire rack.

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Flavor testers rated these the BEST palmiers cookies. They loved the buttery flavor and light crisp texture enhanced by the coarse sugar crystals.

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Palmiers Cookies on a baking tray with coarse sparkling sugar.

Palmiers Cookies (Elephant Ears)


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Description

Palmiers cookies (elephant ear cookies) are crisp elegant treats that are super easy to make. All you need are puff pastry dough and sugar. They’ll look and taste like you bought them from a bakery. 


Ingredients

Units Scale

Palmiers Cookies

  • 1 box puff pastry dough*, thawed according to package directions (the dough should be pliable but still cold), or this homemade 👉🏻 puff pastry dough
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar, or coarse white sparkling sugar

Instructions

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Put it aside.

  1. Generously sprinkle granulated sugar (about 2 tablespoons) over your work surface. Place the puff pastry on top of the sugar. Generously sprinkle more sugar over the top of the pastry. Divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll out 1 piece to a 1/8″ thick rectangle (about 10″x”15″). Transfer it to the lined baking tray.
  2. Fold the puff pastry in half lengthwise and gently crease it – we’re marking the center of the pastry so we know where the middle is. Open the dough back up (unroll it). Sprinkle 1/4 cup granulated sugar evenly over the dough. Roll both long sides of the dough inward, stopping at the crease in the middle. Gently squeeze the dough together to create a heart-shaped log.
  3. Slip the tray into freezer for 15 minutes, or until the dough is cold and firm. Don’t skip this step. It’ll help the Palmiers cookies keep their shape – like elephant ears or French hearts.
  4. Once the dough has chilled, slice the log into 1/3″ pieces with a very sharp knife. Dip the cut side of each piece into the remaining granulated sugar. Place the elephant ear cookies cut side up on the prepared baking tray. Make sure to leave 2 1/2 inches of space between each cookie. Sprinkle the palmiers cookies with turbinado sugar (or coarse white sparkling sugar).
  5. Bake they cookies for 13 minutes, or until they’re golden blonde. If the sugar on the bottom of the cookies begins to burn before the treats are done baking, immediately lower the temperature to 375ºF, and move the baking tray to a higher rack. Allow the palmier cookies to cool completely on the tray. As they shed heat they’ll become crisper. Serve and enjoy.

Notes

*About store-bought puff pastry: For the best palmier cookies, select a brand that uses all-butter, not shortening or other oils. Dufour Pastry Kitchens makes a classic all-butter puff pastry (each 14-ounce box contains 1 9×15-inch sheet, 1/8-inch thick). During the holiday season, Trader Joe’s carries a very affordable all-butter puff pastry (each 18-ounce box contains 2 10-1/4 x12-inch sheets, 1/16-inch thick). Note: Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets are made with shortening and contain no butter. 

Recipe yield will vary: The number of cookies you can get from this recipe depends on the amount of dough you’re using. Some boxes of store-bought puff pastry contain 1 sheet while others have 2 sheets. If using this homemade puff pastry dough, you’ll get about 40 cookies.

  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: French
Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

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What do you think of this easy bakery-style recipe? Will you make palmier cookies with store-bought puff pastry or homemade dough? Share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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