It’s a Snap, Martha!- Gingersnap Palmiers! -176 eggs, 135 cups of sugar, 126 3/4 sticks of Butter, and 162 3/4 cups of flour used so far- 80 recipes to go!

January 3, 2011

Martha's Gingersnap Palmiers

André's Gingersnap Palmiers

Here’s a holiday recipe I had to bake twice. The first attempt emerged from the oven as a gooey mess and was promptly thrown in the trash. After carefully reviewing the steps outlined in Martha’s book I came to the decision that some of the steps were either unnecessary or in the wrong order thus contributing to my disastrous first attempt.

Let me back up a bit and explain what a palmier is. Many Americans will refer to these as elephant ears. I don’t find that a very appetizing thought. Palmier is the the French name given to these confections. It’s in reference to their shape which somewhat resembles a palm leaf. Palmier (PALM-YAY) actually means Palm Tree in French.

Most palmiers are simply puff pastry which have been coated in sugar and cinnamon, rolled and sliced into their signature shape, then baked until golden, crispy and delicious.

Martha’s recipe puts a spicy holiday spin on this classic treat. Frozen puff pastry sheets are set aside to thaw until pliable. I have to hand it to Martha. I’ve made puff pastry from scratch… once. It’s not easy and can easily take a couple of days of diligence to make it properly. Buying the frozen is just a better use of time. Thanks for that small mercy, Martha.

In a separate bowl I combined sugar and spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice and black pepper. In a saucepan over medium heat, I combined dark unsulphured molasses, finely grated ginger, and butter. These ingredients were heated until slightly thickened and then set aside to cool.

Once all the ingredients were prepared and the pastry thawed, I rolled out one sheet of pastry into an elastic rectangle and brushed it generously with the molasses mixture. I then sprinkled the sugar mixture over the sticky molasses and rolled each of the long edges of the pastry towards the center. I then placed the tube in the freezer to firm up for slicing. I repeated these steps for the second sheet of pastry.

Once both doughy tubes were firm, I removed them from the freezer and sliced them into thin, but not too thin (this was one of the mistakes I made in my first attempt) palmiers. Each one is dipped in the remaining sugar mixture and placed on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Once two cookie sheets were filled, I pressed them down with my palm so they laid flat. I baked them for ten minutes at 425 degrees on one side, pulled them from the oven, lowered the temperature to 400, flipped them over, coated them with more of the molasses mixture, returned them to the oven, and baked them for another ten minutes.

This was a labor-intensive cookie but well worth it. The taste was incredible! Spicy with a bit of a burn from the freshly grated ginger and black pepper and yet smoky and sweet from the molasses. Buttery and lightly crisp from the delicate pastry, it was an amazing treat to share with family around the table Christmas morning.

This recipe concludes the holiday cookies.

Martha, you are a seasonal sadist.

That said, I must be a holiday masochist.

I’ll be retuning to my regular cookies and usual stories with my next post. Thanks for letting me take a break during this most hectic time of  year.

Happy New Year!

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