I love this time of year. Putting up our Christmas lights, decorating our tree, drinking hot chocolate, listening to Christmas music.
This time of year is always busy for us, as it is for everyone. So, I'm always looking for ways to make things easier. Puff pastry is one of those things. You can use it to make a quick tart crust, top a pot pie, make cheesy bread sticks, bake a brie in it, and so much more.
My favorite way to use it is to make palmiers, those lovely French elephant ear cookies. Think of these as the easiest cookies ever. Just keep a box of puff pastry in your freezer and you'll be ready to go anytime you need to serve something. They're great after dinner with coffee or tea.
1 16 or 17 ounce box puff pastry, thawed
1½ cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Sprinkle about 1/4 of the cinnamon sugar mixture onto a clean work surface. Remove one sheet of puff pastry from the fridge and place on top of the sugar. Sprinkle another 1/4 of the sugar mixture on top of the puff pastry. Roll the puff pastry into a 12 x 12 inch square pressing the sugar into the dough as you go. Working with two sides, fold each halfway to the center of the dough. Then fold again until the edges touch in the center. Fold one side over the other. Place on a plate and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate. Repeat with remaining sugar and second piece of puff pastry. Chill both for 30-60 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.
Remove from fridge and slice into 3/8" thick slices. Place, cut side up, on baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes until golden on the bottom, rotating sheets halfway through. Flip each over and bake an additional 5-10 minutes until golden on the other side as well (you may need to rotate your sheets again halfway through the second side). Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
Makes approximately 40 cookies.
Notes: Thaw puff pastry overnight in the fridge. You still want it to be very cold when you begin to work with it. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.