Elephant Ears (Palmier Cookies)

For those that don’t know, these are Elephant Ear cookies, or French Palmier cookies as they are more formally known. But these crispy, buttery, elegant cookies are a childhood favorite and ones I love to make during the holidays. Made with puff pasty (also known as pâte feuilletée), these rich cookies dusted lightly with sugar and cinnamon are worthy of your time in the kitchen.

The main baking technique to master here is the pastry, but don’t be intimidated, it’s not as complicated as you think. When making puff pasty from scratch, the butter is placed inside the dough which gets repeatedly folded and rolled out before baking. This is the “labor intensive” part of the pastry people are fearful of, but honestly, it’s just folding and rolling. The gaps that form between the layers left by the butter melting are pushed (or leavened) by the water turning into steam during the baking process. Puff pastry is one of my favorite doughs and one I use for sweet and savory recipes, such as my sausage Boxing Day Rolls.

Elephant Ears

When time allows, I prefer (and enjoy) to make my own puff pastry from scratch, so I have included a simple fool-proof recipe below.  This fantastic recipe is not mine, it’s from fellow blogger Christina Lane whose blog is called “Dessert For Two“. The best part about this recipe, it only takes 15 minutes to make! I have used this recipe several times and love it. But, if you need a shortcut, something we all need during the holidays, I get it. Thankfully, there are great commercial puff pastries available for you to use.

My favorite go-to commercial brand of puff pastry is Dufour and it’s readily available in the freezer section of grocery stores such as Whole Foods or Safeway. If you can’t locate it or don’t like the price tag for this specialty dough, Pepperidge Farm also makes puff pasty sheets that would be just fine in this recipe as well.
Elephant Ears

I used to get Elephant Ears as a kid at a small bakery in The West Village, on Bleeker Street, right around the corner from where I lived. Made fresh each day, Elephant Ears were always prominently displayed in the storefront window. They were typically next to the stunning croquembouche (another favorite of mine) and they called to me whenever I passed by. A simple, not-so-sweet cookie sprinkled with a cinnamon-sugar coating never disappointed. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Elephant Ears

Despite the simplicity of these cookies, I never actually made these classic cookies from scratch until culinary school. What’s important to remember about these tasty cookies is they are best had freshly made. Chances are, if you’ve had them before, that’s not how you’ve had them. Trust me, it’s a real game-changer.

Process-wise, these lovely cookies could not be easier to make. The cookie recipe itself is uncomplicated and straightforward with just a few basic ingredients. I tried to provide clear instructions on how to fold up the dough to get these cookies to look like elephant ears, but if it’s not so clear or you want a visual, be sure to check out her short video on how to make the perfect elephant ears within minutes.

While I love a great frosted holiday cookie during the holidays, I like to mix in other simpler non-frosted cookies as well for variety and balance on my cookie platters.

About the Author

Andrea Potischman

I am a professionally trained NYC chef turned CA mom and food blogger. I post about real food, with doable ingredient lists that are family friendly.

2 thoughts on "Elephant Ears (Palmier Cookies)"

  1. Avatar photo Neal Potischman says:

    Nice looking and I can attest that they are particularly good fresh from the oven!

    1. Well thank you my love, I’ll take the compliment.

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