I’ve always loved palmiers, the crispy cookies sometimes called “Elephant Ears.” When our Progressive Eats host announced that this month’s theme would be elegant cocktail party food, I immediately thought of a savory version of Elephant Ears. These Spicy Cheddar Herb Palmiers are my super simple, yet elegant contribution to the party.
My first plan was to honor the French name, palmiers, by filling them with typical French seasonings and cheese. But then I spied a small container of leftover taco seasonings on the counter.
At this point, I should issue an apology to Carolyn Ketchum. The seasoning is from the taco pie in her new low carb cookbook. As I began this blogpost, I sheepishly realized that this is a high carb recipe. Alas, she is a forgiving soul and I can only hope that she’ll forgive this transgression.
With taco seasoning in hand, I switched from “typically French” herbs to Tex-Mex. (I did retain the herb reference in the title. Although, chili powder predominates, the seasoning does contain herbs.) Of course, that meant the cheese should follow the detour. Forgoing Gruyère, I went for cheddar.
The ingredients for these Spicy Cheddar Herb Palmiers are so simple, I am almost embarrassed – just store-bought puff pastry dough, olive oil, taco seasoning, and cheese.
You can find many palmier recipes online. While I haven’t read every one, I spent hours reading and comparing a bunch of them. Here’s what I found.
Tips for Making Palmiers or Elephant Ears (Savory or Sweet)
- Keep the Dough Cool – The secret to making these is cool puff pastry. If the dough warms to room temperature, you won’t be able to roll or slice it. So plan on starting when the puff pastry is cool and refrigerating or freezing the dough after rolling and before slicing it.
- Don’t overfill – These pastries are delicate. Use filling that rolls or folds easily. Small amounts of finely chopped or grated ingredients are fine; heavy layers or larger pieces are too bulky.
- Don’t Make Yourself Crazy – When rolling out the dough, you may find the edges are uneven. As you roll or fold the dough into a log, the result may not be picture perfect. Take a deep breath. Once sliced and baked, they’ll look fine. What’s the worst case scenario? A slightly distorted palm leaf shape (palmier means palm in French)? Hardly a tragedy. The taste is unaffected by any lack of perfection in shape. Besides, if you look at the many photos online of the pastries and palm leaves, you’ll see that it’s a passing resemblance, if that.
- Which Store-Bought Puff Pastry to Use? – Traditional puff pasty is made with butter, not oil or shortening. A buttery puff pastry is crucial, or at least much better, for sweets or delicately flavored savory foods. The expensive all-butter brand I’ve found at Whole Foods and other high end stores is Dufour. It tastes wonderful, but it’s also pricey. Trader Joe’s all-butter puff pastry is roughly the same price as Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (made with oil, not butter) and I could not tell the difference between the Trader Joe’s and Dufour. (I’ve tasted both, but not side-by-side.) When using the puff pastry for a highly flavored savory recipe like this one, I don’t think all-butter matters; Pepperidge Farm works just fine. Serious Eats agrees with me on this last point, a nice vote of confidence from a reputable source.
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake is our host this month and the theme is An Elegant Cocktail Party.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, the host choses the theme for the month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out.
An Elegant Cocktail Party
- Beef Crostini with Blue Cheese Spread from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
- Pimento Cheese Stuffed Grits Arancini from Pastry Chef Online
- Spicy Cheddar Herb Palmiers from Mother Would Know (you’re here!)
- Chocolate Cake with Peppermint Buttercream Frosting from Creative Culinary
- Cranberry Panna Cotta from Spice Roots
Spicy cheddar Herb Palmiers
Perfect little morsels for your next party. They take only a few ingredients and bake in a matter of minutes. Make them hours or days ahead of time.
- 1 sheet store-bought puff pastry
- 1 - 1 & 1/2 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3-4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or grated
Defrost the puff pastry, preferably overnight in the refrigerator. (You can defrost on the countertop, according to the manufacturer's directions, but be careful not to let it get to room temperature.) It should be chilled but not so cold that it is still stiff when you unroll it.
On a silicone mat or piece of parchment, roll out the sheet of puff pastry to a rectangle between 9 x 15-inches and 10 x 16-inches.
Mix the taco seasoning and 2 - 2 & 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Evenly brush the mixture onto the puff pastry.
Spread the shredded or grated cheese evenly on top of the seasoning/oil-topped puff pastry.
Make a line down the middle of the long side of the rectangle (gently with a butter knife or similar, so as not to cut through the dough.) Fold or roll the two long sides of rectangle toward the middle, so you have a single, long log. Gently lift the log onto a cookie sheet and freeze for 20 minutes or refrigerate for 1-2 hours. While it is cooling, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Once the log is well-chilled, remove it from the freezer or refrigerator and cut it into 1/4-inch slices. Place the slices on silicone or parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 15-20 minutes.
After removing the palmiers from the oven, let them cool down on the cookie sheets. Store them in a tightly closed container.
I find the taco seasoning spicy with the larger amount of cayenne specified in the taco seasoning recipe, but some in my family said they would have liked more cayenne. Feel free to add more cayenne, keeping in mind that a little goes a logn way.