Elephants are my favorite. They really are. This love began in the 2nd grade when we each had to pick an animal and do an entire report on them. And then present our reports! In front of our parents! With posters! It was intense for the 2nd grade.
But it was then that I fell in love with elephants. I learned many things about them – elephants have a great memory! Elephants are vegetarian like me! And the way you tell apart Asian and African elephants is by the shape of their ears! (Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I’m sure that there are many things that are distinct about them, but this is what my 2nd grade self found. And what my adult-self remembered).
Yes, that’s right. African elephants have ears that are shaped like the continent of Africa! So smart, those elephants. What does all this have to do with a pastry, you may ask? Well, cinnamon palmiers (pronounced “pahl-mee-ays”), are also called elephants ears! (Which results in me pronouncing them “pahl-mee-ears”).
Make these sugary, caramelized, buttery treats and look at the shape to see where they are from! They’re from France, actually. You should just eat them and read about elephants instead.
Cinnamon Palmiers (recipe from Food Network)
1 cup sugar, divided
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 sheet puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and salt and pour it over a clean, flat surface. Unfold the sheet of puff pastry onto the sugar mixture.
Combine 1/2 cup of the sugar and the cinnamon and spread it evenly on the puff pastry. It should be a thick even coating of sugar. With a rolling pin, lightly roll the dough until it’s a 13-inch square and the sugar is pressed into the puff pastry on top and bottom. Fold the sides of the square toward the center so they go halfway to the middle. Fold them again so the two folds meet exactly at the middle of the dough. Then fold one half over the other half as though closing a book. You will have 6 layers. Slice the dough into 3/8-inch slices and place the slices, cut side up, on baking sheets.
Bake the cookies for 6 minutes, or until caramelized and brown on the bottom, then turn with a spatula (they will be hot!) and bake for another 3 to 4 minutes, until caramelized on the other side. Transfer to a baking rack to cool.