Cinnamon & Spice Palmiers (with Rough Puff Pastry)

These buttery crisp cinnamon & spice palmiers come together with pastry dough, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and orange zest. Shaping them is surprisingly easy and I walk you through each step in today’s thorough tutorial. If you’re short on time, you can absolutely use store-bought puff pastry, but if you can spare a couple hours for the dough to chill in the refrigerator, I urge you to try a simple homemade variation using rough puff pastry.

cinnamon nutmeg cardamom spice palmier cookies

What Are Palmier Cookies?

Have you ever had palmiers before? They’re a delightful French pastry made from puff pastry dough and sugar. Variations can be made with cinnamon, spices, chocolate, or even savory herbs and other fillings. Palmier means palm tree in French and these fancy looking cookies can also be known as elephant ears, palm trees, shoe soles, palm hearts, or palm leaves. (Not to be confused with elephant ears made from fried dough– these are baked.) And it’s a treat with many names throughout different regions of the world!

Palmiers are typically enjoyed for breakfast, snack, or dessert. To make them at home, roll dough out with sugar or other toppings, and then roll or fold the two sides into the center to meet in the middle. Chill the shaped logs and then slice and bake. Flip over during bake time so the sugary coating can caramelize on both sides. You can make palmiers from scratch with real puff pastry or for a shortcut, you can reach for store-bought puff pastry. I like using this rough puff pastry because it’s not quite as laborious as authentic puff pastry, but it still has a homemade flavor and indulgence to it. It’s what I use when making homemade turnovers.

Rough puff makes a buttery and tasty base for cinnamon & spice palmiers!

cinnamon spice palmier cookies on blue plate

Tell Me About These Cinnamon & Spice Palmiers

  • Flavor: Enjoy sweet caramelized flavor on the exterior of each pastry cookie with a hint of spice from nutmeg and cardamom. I love adding orange zest this time of year because it’s a bright flavor that always pairs nicely with warm spices.
  • Texture: Certainly noteworthy! The edges are light and crisp while the centers are melt-in-your-mouth soft. Dozens of buttery layers shatter and flake with each bite, making scrumptious crumbs all over your fingers and plate. (Baked puff pastry is always a beautiful mess!) Flipping the pastries over about halfway through bake time is the secret to their caramelized crisp edges.
  • Ease: Homemade palmiers can be as easy as rolling and folding thawed store-bought puff pastry or, for a challenge, made with from-scratch butter laminated dough. But if you want to make the journey somewhere in the middle and still show off your baking skills, use rough puff pastry. It requires just over 2 hours of refrigeration and your hands are the best tool.

Using “Rough Puff” Pastry as the Dough

Rough puff pastry has become a popular method for making homemade dough because it produces bakery-style puff pastry with lots of flaky layers without the same time commitment that laminating dough (such as for croissants) requires. The trick is to work large pieces of cold butter into dry ingredients and then hydrate it all with ice cold water. Sometimes bakers grate butter into the mix or use a food processor. There’s many ways to make this dough.

I use a version of this dough to make homemade turnovers and created a separate page for it with a video tutorial just in case you want it for other recipes that call for puff pastry– like butternut squash and mushroom tart or today’s palmiers.

More About This Shortcut Pastry Dough

  • 5 Ingredients: Flour, Salt, Sugar, Butter, and Water
  • No Yeast, No Laminating: Unlike the breakfast pastries dough, this dough does not require any yeast and unlike croissants and traditional puff pastry, this dough does not require laminating with a separate layer of butter.
  • Flatten & Fold Dough: Flatten dough after it’s made and then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. After that 1st refrigeration, flatten and fold the dough like a business letter 6x. Chill in the refrigerator 1 more time for at least 15 minutes. After that, the dough is ready to use in these palmiers or other recipe.

This is the rough puff pastry dough:

homemade puff pastry dough displaying all the layers of folded dough and butter inside


Step-by-Step Photos: How to Make Cinnamon & Spice Palmiers

Let me show you how they come together so you have a better understanding before you begin. For this palmiers recipe, start with about 1 lb of pastry dough which is the full recipe of this rough puff pastry or 1 standard box (with 2 sheets) of store-bought puff pastry. Divide the rough puff pastry in half and roll out each half in a sugar and spice mixture.

Quick Success Tip: Yes, instead of flour, you’ll roll the dough out with sugar. That’s the secret to their caramelized edges– sugar worked directly in the exterior of the dough!

two halves of homemade rough puff pastry and one half being rolled out with cinnamon sugar

Working with 1 half at a time, roll dough out in the sugar & spice mixture into a 10-inch square:

square of dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar

Below, left: Mix more sugar & spices together and combine with orange zest. Below, right: Top with sugar/spice/zest mixture.

cinnamon spice sugar in bowl and patted on top square of dough

Roll each side inward towards the center. Some palmier cookie recipes fold the sides inward instead of rolling.

dough rolled into the center from both sides

Repeat with 2nd piece of dough. Below, left: Wrap each “log” up and chill for 30 minutes. Without time in the refrigerator, the logs will be impossible to slice and the cookies will lose shape in the oven. Below, right: After refrigerating, slice into 3/8 inch thick slices which is just under 1/2 inch size.

two rolled logs of dough and a photo showing the sliced cookies

Arrange on lined baking sheet:

cinnamon and spice palmiers or elephant ear cookies on baking sheet

Bake in a hot oven for 8 minutes, then flip over:

cinnamon sugar palmiers being flipped over halfway through baking

The remaining bake time depends on your oven and the dough of your cookies, but another 10-12 minutes is usually standard for this particular recipe using rough puff pastry. Good rule of thumb: simply bake until they’re golden brown.

cinnamon nutmeg cardamom spice palmier cookies

Do you have a favorite recipe for palmiers? I also love this chocolate and orange palmiers recipe from Clotilde.

Here Is The Recipe:

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
cinnamon spice palmier cookies on blue plate

Cinnamon Spice Palmiers

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 1 hour (add 3 hours for homemade dough)
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes (add 3 hours for homemade dough)
  • Yield: 36-40
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: French

Description

These light & crisp pastry cookies come together with puff pastry dough, sugar, spices, and a hint of orange zest. For a quick and easy variation, use store-bought puff pastry or try homemade rough puff pastry dough.


Ingredients

Dough

Sugar Spice Mixture for Rolling & Filling

  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest (optional)

Instructions

  1. Dough: Prepare homemade rough puff pastry dough through 2nd refrigeration. If using store-bought frozen puff pastry, make sure it’s thawed.
  2. Sugar Spice Mixture: Combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. Evenly divide mixture into 2 bowls. Stir orange zest into half. The 1st half without the orange zest will be used for rolling out the dough in the next step. The 2nd half with the orange zest will be used for filling the rolled out dough in step 4.
  3. Sprinkle a generous amount of the 1st sugar and spice mixture (the one without the orange) onto a large work surface. Coat rolling pin with mixture as best you can. Remove dough from the refrigerator and, if using homemade rough puff pastry, cut in half. If using thawed store-bought puff pastry, which is typically two 9-inch square sheets of dough, work with 1 sheet at a time and unfold the sheet you’ll work with first. Place 2nd half of dough back in the refrigerator. Always best to keep dough cold before working with it. Roll dough into a 10-inch square, sprinkling more sugar spice mixture onto the dough as much as necessary to prevent the rolling pin from sticking. Do your best to keep the edges straight and do your best to smooth out the creases if using store-bought dough. Use a bench scraper, sharp knife, or pizza cutter to cut uneven edges if necessary.
  4. Filling & shaping: Sprinkle half of the 2nd half of sugar spice mixture (the one with the orange zest) evenly on top. Run rolling pin over the sugar spice filling to press it down into the dough as best you can. Cut a tiny slit in the very center of the bottom edge of the square. This is a visual mark for you so you know where the center is. Slowly and tightly roll the left edge into the center. Slowly and tightly roll the right edge into the center. Carefully wrap “log” tightly in plastic wrap or parchment paper.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with 2nd half of dough. Save any excess sugar spice mixture left on your work surface to sprinkle on cookies before baking. Chill “logs” for 30 minutes or up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
  6. Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line 2-3 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  7. Remove logs from the refrigerator and unwrap. Slice off the rounded ends so each end is straight and even. Slice each log into 3/8 inch (just under 1/2 inch) thick slices. If the logs or cookies unravel as you shape the cookies, which is bound to happen, re-roll back together. You’ll have around 36-40 evenly sliced cookies. Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets and sprinkle any leftover excess sugar spice evenly mixture on top of each.
  8. Bake, rotate, finish baking: Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cookies will be beginning to puff up/expand in the oven. Remove from the oven and flip each over. If cookies have lost shape, use a fork or spoon to roll/tighten back together. Continue baking for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. (Note: If using store-bought puff pastry, the time may be closer to 8 extra minutes instead of 10-12. Just bake until golden brown.)
  9. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Or enjoy the cookies warm.
  10. Cover and store leftover pastry cookies for up to 1 week at room temperature.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: If using homemade dough, see the detailed dough recipe instructions for make-ahead and freezing details. You can essentially prep the dough 48 hours in advance or freeze up to 1 month. The shaped logs can be refrigerated for up to 2 days in the refrigerator. See end of step 5. You can also freeze the logs for up to 1 month. Thaw logs in the refrigerator before continuing with step 6. (Note: I find there aren’t quite as many flaky layers in the baked cookies after freezing/thawing the logs and the sugar coating may become wet as it thaws.)
  2. Plain Cinnamon Sugar: You can skip the nutmeg, cardamom, and orange zest for plain cinnamon sugar palmiers.

Keywords: cinnamon sugar palmiers

Sally's Cookie Palooza

This cinnamon & spice palmiers recipe is part of my annual Christmas cookie countdown called Sally’s Cookie Palooza. Every year since 2013, I publish 10 new cookie recipes in a row. It’s the biggest, most delicious event of the year! Browse dozens of recipes over on the Sally’s Cookie Palooza page including:

and here are 75+ Christmas cookies with all my best success guides & tips.

 

22 Comments

  1. The best part of your blogging has always been this time when you show us your beautiful cookies. I love this recipe and I can’t wait to try it. Hugs

    1. Thank you so much Iram! This is my favorite time of year for testing and baking new recipes. And I love photographing cookies too!

  2. How long will these keep nice (after cooking)?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laura, you can cover and store leftover pastry cookies for up to 1 week at room temperature.

  3. Hello Sally!
    I don’t have any fresh oranges around the house today, but i do have a bottle of the Fiori de Silica flavoring from KAF…..could i use that instead, and if so, would you recommend about an eighth of a teaspoon?

    1. Hi Kristy, you can absolutely try that. Toss it with the half of the topping mixture.

  4. Hi Sally, if I am using store brought puff pastry, I believe I should just sprinkle 1st sugar mix at bottom and spread pastry on it as it’s already a sheet and can’t roll ?

    1. Hi Tisha, you can still roll the thawed store-bought pastry sheets with a rolling pin. You’ll need to smooth out the creases and roll each out to a 10-inch square. They’re usually 9-inch squares. (With store-bought pastry, you just don’t do as much rolling since it’s already pretty flat.) I hope this clarifies things!

  5. Hi Sally!
    I am loving following along this years’ cookie palooza! These palmiers were delicious and I delivered them to a local shop owner, who also loved them! Thank you for always providing the best recipes!

  6. These are incredible. I used your rough puff recipe for them and…oh my. They look so professional and pretty and they taste amazing.

    I have one regret, which is not following your spacing on the baking sheet like I usually do. I didn’t realize how much they would puff up so they were a bit crammed. Thank you for the fantastic recipe!

  7. Absolutely making these again! I went the homemade rough puff route and, though a little more labor intensive, totally worth it! 10/10

  8. Kelly Stickney says:

    Followed recipe exactly and they turned out beautifully. So tasty!

  9. These were very good, but sadly they didn’t last long enough. I’ll have to make more! Everyone enjoyed them immensely. You did a wonderful job. Merry Christmas!

  10. These are AMAZING. My favorite Christmas pastry that I’ve ever baked! Didn’t have cardamom so put 1/4 teaspoon of allspice in instead.

  11. I am such a Sally fan! I made these using store bought puff pastry. They were easy and turned out perfectly! So delicious! Many of your recipes have become family traditions. The pretzels are a tradition especially with my grandsons. Thank you for the care you take with your recipes. I can always count on having a delicious end product!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Thank you so much for making and trusting our recipes, Linda – so glad you’re enjoying them 🙂

  12. I’d never heard of palmier cookies before, but these were amazing! Lots of compliments from everyone who had them, and they’re so simple to make, yet look fancy. Thank you Sally!

  13. Bonnie McDonald says:

    These were really easy to make and turned out perfect (even with constant distractions by my 2 year old, lol). They didn’t last long in our house!

  14. Hi! I see the note about making the shaped logs up to 2 days in advance and leaving in the fridge. Do you think I could pre cut the cookies a few hours in advance and leave them in the fridge prepped on cookie sheets to pop in the oven when I’m ready?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Yes, absolutely!

  15. I tried these but did not get the soft middle and crispy edges. They were crispy all the way through. I had fun rolling and folding the dough, and they tasted good, and was hoping for a softer cookie.

  16. I am addicted to a certain English baking show and they frequently use rough puff pastry. I wasn’t sure if I could do it but I carefully followed your directions and made wonderful Palmier cookies on my first try and apple turnovers on my second. The pastry was light and flaky with distinct layers.
    I found your website during the pandemic and have baked at least a dozen of your recipes. There are still many that I cannot wait to try. Your directions are always presented very clearly. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

With kitchen-tested quality recipes and step-by-step tutorials, my goal is to give you the confidence to bake and cook from scratch.

Sally's signature

Recipes You’ll Love

Archives

Categories

Join the community on the 1st of every month as we tackle a new challenge recipe. Review Sally's Baking Challenge FAQ page if you have any questions.

View More

Every December I publish 10 new cookie recipes in a row! Sign up via email below and we’ll send you my most popular recipes and all the new cookie recipes once the palooza begins.

View More

Pie Week happens in November and it's all about baking the BEST pies. Sign up via email below and we'll send you my most popular recipes and all the new pie recipes once Pie Week begins!

View More

My Cookbooks

Sally's Cookbooks

About Sally

Welcome to my Kitchen!

I’m Sally, a cookbook author, photographer, and blogger. My goal is to give you the confidence and knowledge to cook and bake from scratch while providing quality recipes and plenty of pictures. Grab a cookie, take a seat, and have fun exploring! more about Sally

×