Orange Palmiers

Monday, March 28, 2016

It took me a foolishly long time to realize how many foods you can make at home.  For example, it took me about 2 years to find out you can make homemade mayonnaise.  I still haven't, because I try not to think to much about all the raw eggs that are in there, but I know you can do it.  I am sure it is delicious, but I choose not to put the effort into making mayonnaise. I choose my battles, and making homemade yogurt wins every time.  

There are other, less accessible food items that I want to make, even if just for a special occasion, because I love being able to have a fresh macaron, or loaf of specialty bread that you can only find in France.  These are time intensive to make, but I figure you either have to fork over the money (which might involve a trip to France, depending on what the item is you are craving), or the time.  There aren't a lot of other options when it comes to specialty, high quality items.  

Take these palmiers, for example.  I haven't a clue where you would buy them in Austin (I bet someone makes them here, but I don't know about it). The only place I have ever seen them sold was a random bakery in NYC, where I tried one, and fell in love.  I was 14, and I have never forgotten the experience.  

Fast forward twelve years, and I still occasionally think back on that palmier from NYC, so when I stumbled upon this recipe in Flavorful, I instantly decided I would make them.  

They were fairly time consuming, like I mentioned earlier, but the hands on time in relatively minimal.  They just have to sit in the fridge for about 2 1/2 hours between steps, so you will want to make sure you are home for a good chunk of time if you decide to make these.  

Just so you know, these cookies are quite small, but it makes about 40 of them, so you should have plenty to snack on.  They end up about the size of a large potato chip, and are just as crisp and addicting.  Supposedly they last 5 days in an airtight container, but I can't tell you anything about that, because they definitely didn't last that long around here.  

Orange Palmiers:
adapted from Flavorful
makes about 40

1 1/2 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
16 Tbs (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup heavy cream

2/3 cups granulated sugar
zest from 1 orange

In a kitchen aid or electric mixer, combine the flour and salt.  Add the butter in three groups, mixing for a few seconds with each addition.  While mixing at a low speed, add the cream, and mix until the dough just begins to come together.  You should still see large pieces of butter.

Flour a large, clean surface, and scrape the dough onto the surface.  With a rolling pin, shape the dough into a large rectangle, approximately 8x16" (use your fingers as little as possible, because the heat from them will melt the butter).

Dust the dough with flour if it is sticking.  Rotate the dough so the short end of the rectangle is facing you. Brush any excess flour off with a clean towel or pastry brush.  Fold the top third of the dough over the center third and then fold the bottom third over the top of those.  The dough should be a small rectangle with three layers.  Now turn the dough again, so that the short side is facing you, and repeat the folding into thirds.

Place the dough in a tupperware, or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for half an hour.

Once your thirty minutes are up, remove the dough from the fridge, and place it so the short end is facing you again.  Repeat the rolling out and folding into thirds process twice.  It may seem tedious, but you are making all those gorgeous layers, so don't give up!

After the the second set of dough folding, wrap the dough in plastic, or put it back in the tupperware, and refrigerate for an hour.

While your dough is resting, combine your sugar and orange zest in a bowl.  With your fingers, rub the orange zest into the sugar for a minute or two, until the sugar is very fragrant.

Remove the dough from the fridge, and cut it in half, replacing one half in the plastic or tupperware and put it in the fridge while you work with the other half of the dough.

Sprinkle your work surface with a good bit of the orange sugar that you have made, and begin rolling out your dough.  Roll it out into a 9x15" rectangle.  With the 15" side facing you, fold the dough in half, lengthwise and then unfold it.  You just want a central line down the middle to use as a reference.  Now fold one of the long sides over so that the edge of the dough meets the center line.  Then fold the other long side so that it meets the center line.  This really confused me when I was doing it, so these photos from this post may help.  Now fold one of the folded sides over the other folded side to create a long, skinny, flat log.

Place the log on a baking sheet lined with a parchment paper or a silicone mat, cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Repeat with the remaining section of dough.

Preheat your oven to 375°F.

Using a sharp knife, cut off the ragged edge of each of the log's ends (I would bake these, because they still taste great, even if they are not as pretty).  Cut the log into 3/8 - 1/2" slices and dip each side of each slice into the orange sugar, to coat.  Place on a lined, rimmed baking sheet about 2" apart (they will spread out quite a bit).

Bake for 12 -15 minutes, flip them over, and let them cook for another 8-10 minutes.  Once they look crispy, caramelized and golden brown, pull them from the oven, let them cool for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to let them cool completely.

They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 5 days, if they last that long.  They last about 5 hours in our house.

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