Puff Pastry Palmier Cookies
How to make palmiers a.k.a. elephant ears at home with puff pastry and sugar—plus pumpkin spice (or cinnamon) for a fall flavor twist! Instead of making your own dough from scratch, these easy homemade palmier cookies start with a premade sheet of frozen puff pastry. The light-and-flaky goodness of classic French palmiers, in a 3-ingredient recipe easy enough for beginners!
Palmier cookies are one of my all-time favorite treats and I’ve loved them since I was a kid. The crisp, buttery layers and crunchy, satisfying sugar crystals—they’re so good! I have so many memories of eating elephant ears with my mom and my grandpa, and that flavor is still so comforting to me to this day. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to try making palmiers at home, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy they are to make!
What is a palmier & why is it called a palmier?
Palmiers (pronounced palm-EE-yays) are flaky puff pastry cookies with a unique heart shape. They get their name from the French word “palmier,” meaning “palm tree,” because of how the pastry’s shape resembles a palm leaf. But palmier cookies are also known by loads of other names like elephant ears, pig’s ears, palm hearts, or French hearts. Taste-wise, French palmiers are light, crisp, flaky, and salty-sweet—sort of like a mix between a croissant and a sugar cookie!
Reasons to Make Puff Pastry Palmiers at Home
- Surprisingly Simple & Gratifying. Unlike a traditional French palmier pastry made totally from scratch, this recipe uses frozen puff pastry dough to simplify the process. That means fewer ingredients and less prep work—to create the same flaky, sugared layers I crave! Of course, frozen puff pastry palmiers won’t taste exactly the same as fresh-baked from a bakery, but the final result is honestly so impressive.
- Easy Recipe to Use Leftover Puff Pastry. Since most packages of frozen puff pastry contain 2 sheets, I always seem to have 1 leftover sheet in the freezer during the holidays. If you don’t know what to do with a leftover sheet of frozen puff pastry, homemade elephant ears are the perfect simple treat to make use of it!
- Lots of Room for Different Flavors. The simplest, classic recipe for French palmier cookies uses just puff pastry and sugar. But you can also add ingredients to create new flavors—both sweet and savory! To make cinnamon sugar palmiers, just add cinnamon. Around Thanksgiving, I made festive holiday palmiers with pumpkin pie spice. Get creative with other ingredients like honey, chocolate, herbs, cheese, bacon—whatever you like!
Are palmiers healthy?
Whether it’s a savory palmier or sweet puff pastry cookies, I consider palmiers a treat. That means they’re not something I eat every day like a meal or a snack, but I really enjoy and appreciate them when I do eat them. Sometimes, I might want a health-ified pumpkin cookie as a snack. But when I made this elephant ear recipe, I wanted a comforting and nostalgic sweet treat—and a health-ified version just wouldn’t satisfy in the same way.
Years ago, I would’ve called palmiers ‘unhealthy’ because of the sugar, butter, and gluten. And I might’ve tried to create a health-ified recipe—which would’ve been way more complicated, and much less tasty. I used to think ‘healthy’ meant cutting down on calories and sugar. But what’s ‘healthy’ for me now is letting go of rules and stress around food, and giving myself permission to enjoy these homemade palmier cookies fully. I invite you to consider: what does ‘healthy’ look like for you?
Homemade Palmiers Ingredients
- Puff Pastry. Store-bought frozen puff pastry keeps this baked palmiers recipe super simple! I used Pepperidge Farm puff pastry dough, but you can use any brand—as long as it’s a sheet of dough that you can roll out. If preferred, you can also make this recipe with homemade puff pastry dough.
- Demerara Sugar. A minimally processed type of cane sugar with a golden-brown color, coarse texture, and caramel-like flavor! You don’t need to use demerara sugar—you could substitute with turbinado sugar or white sugar instead. But I ordered some demerara sugar online to use in this recipe, and it did honestly make my homemade palmiers so much more comforting and special.
- Granulated Sugar. I like to combine granulated white sugar with a coarser sugar like demerara, so my elephant ears have the crunchy sugar crystals that I love. But if you don’t have demerara, you can also make this recipe with white sugar alone.
- Salt. Add just a dash to highlight the salty-sweet flavors in your puff pastry cookies.
- Optional Seasoning. I added some homemade pumpkin pie spice mix for holiday-inspired flavor, but you can customize your palmiers with all sorts of different flavors. Honey, cocoa, berries, parmesan, pesto—have fun with it!
How do you thaw frozen puff pastry?
To make frozen puff pastry palmiers, you’ll first need to thaw out the frozen puff pastry sheet before working with it. You can keep the frozen puff pastry sheet in its packaging and transfer it to the fridge to thaw overnight, or let it thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes. I prefer to let it sit in the fridge overnight, so the sheet of dough has thawed enough for me to unfold without it cracking.
How to Make Palmiers with Frozen Puff Pastry
- Prep sugar mixture. After your puff pastry sheet has thawed, start by whisking together granulated sugar and demerara sugar—plus any optional seasonings.
- Coat pastry dough with sugar. Next, spread ⅓ of the palmier sugar mixture over a clean work surface. Place your sheet of puff pastry dough on top of the sugared surface, then add another ⅓ of the sugar mixture on top of the dough.
- Roll out the dough. Using a rolling pin, press the sugar into the puff pastry dough as you roll it out. Roll the dough into a square (13×13-inch) or rectangle shape, until it’s less than ¼-inch thick.
- Roll up dough into palmiers shape. Start by scoring a line to mark the middle of your puff pastry sheet, then roll up both sides of the dough “jelly-roll” style. Start by rolling up the shorter side of the pastry sheet, then repeat with the other side, until they meet in the middle. Chill your rolled dough log in the fridge for 30 minutes before slicing.
- Slice dough log into cookies. Once the dough has firmed up, slice the log to create your puff pastry cookies—around ½-inch thick or less. Transfer the cookies to a lined baking sheet, leaving space between them for them to spread out. Then sprinkle some additional sugar mixture on top.
- Bake palmiers 10-12 minutes at 425°F (no need to flip them), until they’re crisp and golden-brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then devour!
Watch my Pumpkin Spice Palmiers video to see how I used frozen puff pastry dough to make these palmier cookies!
Storage & Reheating
Store homemade palmier cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days, or you can freeze them for up to 3 months. With either method, let the cookies cool completely before storing them. Although they’re undeniably best enjoyed fresh, you can also reheat puff pastry palmiers in the oven at 325°F for 5-10 minutes to refresh them a bit.
Pumpkin Spice Palmier Cookies
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed, (8.65oz)
- ⅓ cup demerara sugar, (or turbinado, or additional granulated)
- ⅓ cup white sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice, (or cinnamon)
- Thaw frozen puff pastry overnight in the fridge, or on the counter for 30 minutes. (I keep my frozen puff pastry sheet in its packaging and transfer it to the fridge to thaw overnight.)
- In a bowl, whisk together sugars, salt, and optional pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.
- Spread ⅓ cup of the sugar mixture over a flat, clean work surface, then place the thawed puff pastry sheet on top.
- Add another ⅓ cup of the sugar mixture on top of the puff pastry sheet.
- Roll out the puff pastry dough into a square (around 13×13-inches) or a rectangle, until the dough is less than ¼-inch thick. As you roll it out, press the sugar into the dough with the rolling pin.
- Lightly score a line (crosswise) to mark the middle of the puff pastry. (I used a ruler to make it easy.)
- Starting with the shorter side of the pastry sheet, roll up the dough “jelly-roll” style, up to the middle line. Repeat on the other side, so the two rolls meet in the middle.
- Transfer rolled dough log to a baking sheet and freeze for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Once firm, cut dough log into slices around ½-inch thick or less. (I aim for ⅜-inch).
- Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between for them to puff up and spread in the oven. Sprinkle with remaining sugar mixture.
- Bake 10-12 minutes. (No need to flip.)
- Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. They will crisp more as they cool.
- Enjoy immediately, or store in an airtight container for a few days.
- Best enjoyed fresh on the same day, but you can store them in an airtight container for a few days.
- Yields 18 palmier cookies.