Monday, December 19, 2016

Lemon Cardamom Palmiers

2016 has been a rough year for this little ol' blog.  With all of the moving, displacement and life happening, postings have been a bit sparse.  And the tone has been a bit darker than usual.  Posts that I worked on for weeks got set aside because I just wasn't happy with how the recipes or photos worked out.  I've even considered just taking a break altogether.  It just hasn't been clicking for me.

But I can't seem to stop myself from pulling out my recipe testing journal and my camera and plugging along.  I keep trying.  So I figure there must be something left here that I love.  I think it's using my voice in a way that I don't get to in my everyday life.  My goal is to recommit to posting and sharing my stories and my recipes.  Because I do miss it.  I do love it. Without coming here every once in a while I find myself drifting a bit.

I had planned on starting with a recipe for palmiers with a bit of a twist.  My book club had met at a French cafe the week before and at one point we discussed how easy the palmier a friend ordered is to make at home.  The idea stuck in my head but, ever the food blogger, my mind immediately started thinking of ways to shake the traditional recipe up a bit.  I settled on cocoa and orange zest- a classic pairing of flavors and not one I had been able to find in any recipe.  A challenge!

2 year old settled in bed for an afternoon nap, I set out to make my first batch of palmiers.  Notes made, camera at the ready.  Things were going swimmingly at first.  The smell of the cocoa and orange was wonderful, the light was perfect and photos tuning out just as I had imagined.  I made one batch to start as cocoa is a precious commodity here in Greece.  The second sheet of puff pastry from the package was set aside to make a plain batch of palmiers to nibble on.  Long story short, by the time I was finished I had inedible puddles of puff pastry and cocoa that hardened into the least appetizing cookies that I had ever made.  Total disaster. 

Gosh, aren't those before shots pretty?  Couldn't have asked for better.  But then there was this.

Once I got over the disappointment, I could only laugh.  It just seemed a fitting way to end this less than stellar blogging year.  These sad cookies were perfect in their imperfection.  Of course, there is no way that I can share the recipe for these palmiers (can I call them that?).  But the "before" pictures were so nice, I couldn't help myself.  And then there was that second sheet of puff pastry that didn't get the cocoa-orange treatment.  Honestly, the quick, thoughtless and unplanned way that I threw those palmiers together worked out perfectly.  So I do have a recipe, just not the one that I had intended.  It's quick, easy and no-stress.  Just the way I hope 2017 goes for me.

Lemon Cardamom Palmiers
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
For the printable recipe, click here

This is a simple recipe that can be a starting point for a host of flavors.  I really like the subtle lemon and spice but if you're not a fan of cardamom you could omit it or swap it out with ginger for an equally lovely cookie.  You could also use orange zest in place of the lemon and change the spice to cinnamon.  Or leave out the zest altogether.  It's one of those back pocket recipes that you can use in so many ways and still impress with a delicate and delicious cookie.

1 sheet of frozen puff pastry (preferably all butter), thawed
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp ground cardamon

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

Measure the sugar into a small bowl.  Stir in the lemon zest and then give the sugar and zest a bit of a massage with your fingertips, releasing the oils of the zest into the sugar.  Stir in the cardamom.

Spread 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture on a clean work surface.  Lay the puff pastry over the sugar and give it a bit of a roll with a rolling pin to adhere the sugar to the bottom of the pastry.  Sprinkle the rest of the sugar mixture over the surface of the puff pastry so that it covers evenly and completely.  Roll each of the long sides tightly towards the middle so that they meet in the center.  Slice the roll into 1/2 inch slices and lay the slices at least 1 inch apart on the baking sheet.

Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, then flip them over and continue to bake for another 4-5 minutes until the sugar has caramelized.  Remove from the oven and cool completely on the baking sheet on a wire rack.

The cookies will keep in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

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