Chocolate Palmiers, Palmeras or Elephant Ears

39 Comments
palmiers

Light, flaky puff pastry layered with crunchy sugar & cocoa

Three years ago Carnivorous Boyfriend and I moved into a proper, grown up flat. Not halls of residence or a dodgy dive in an ‘up and coming’ part of the city; no enormous numbers of people, fighting over fridge space or arguing about whether a cleaning rota should be created; just our very own oasis in the heart of all the madness that is London.

While I’d lived away from home since finishing university, it never felt properly permanent. A few essential items would always travel with me – clothes, cookbooks, my favourite photos and the small selection of items purchased at Ikea that I imagine haunt every university graduate until they can afford to invest in something a little more exciting.

palmiers

Rolled & ready for the oven . . .

As well as the important trappings of everyday life, there’s one additional item that would always come with me, something that has travelled the length and breadth of the country, been taken on family holidays for years and holds more memories than I can even begin to recount: a stuffed elephant called, imaginatively, Ellie.

Before you start to edge away from the page, I’m not one of those slightly strange adults who sleeps with cuddly toys, or even keeps them on display. Ellie was relegated from the bed years ago, but making these ‘elephant ears’ the other day I was reminded of my favourite childhood toy and obsession with these great, grey gentle giants.

palmiers

Cocoa adds a slight chocolaty sweetness to each perfect layer of puff

Originally invented as a way of using up leftover pastry, palmiers (or palmeras as we came to know them on our recent trip to Barcelona), are named for the palm leaf they resemble, but also known to many bakers as ‘elephant ears’.  A simple combination of flour, water, a little bit of salt and a lot of butter and sugar, the taste and texture of a palmier is so much more than the sum of its parts.

Crisp, caramelized pastry holds little pockets of molten sugar, a glossy exterior that melts into a million sweet, flaky layers with every bite. The addition of cocoa makes these ever-so-slightly chocolaty, but the recipe is infinitely adaptable to suit your tastes: try infusing sugar with vanilla or another essence for something subtle, sprinkle cinnamon, nutmeg or crushed cardamom for a hint of spice, or go all out and slather over nutella, sprinkle with nuts and even dip in melted chocolate once baked.

palmiers

A plate of palmeras – the perfect tea-time treat

If you’re looking for a recipe that involves minimum effort for maximum impact, this is the one to try. If you’re a slightly more obsessive baker (who me?) and worried that rolling out puff pastry and sprinkling it with sugar is a bit of a cheat, why not make your own? My favourite recipe is from the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook, and is no more involved than, say, making your own croissants. Which is to say, it’s pretty involved, but you’re an obsessive baker it’s the kind of challenge I’m sure you’ll relish.

So here it is, a recipe to satisfy both absolute beginners and more accomplished pastry fans, from France, by way of Barcelona (where I saw them in every bakery and simply had to make my own), inspired by a palm tree and named after an elephant. Enjoy.

palmiers

These little pastries are utterly addictive & so simple to make

Chocolate Elephant Ears 
(makes approx. 20)

Ingredients:

180g golden granulated sugar
20g cocoa powder
375g all-butter puff pastry (shop bought, or make your own)

Method:

In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cocoa until well combined.

Sprinkle a large worksurface with about 100g sugar. Place the block of puff pastry on top of the sugared surface, sprinkle with about another 40g sugar and roll into a rectangle, about 3mm thick.

Roll the pastry up from one of the short ends of the rectangle until it reaches the middle, sprinkling with a little more sugar as you go. Make sure the rolls are nice and tight. Repeat from the other short end until the two rolls meet in the middle. Wrap the whole thing tightly in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Line two trays with baking parchment.

Remove the logs of pastry from the fridge and slice into pieces about 1cm thick. Lay these flat on your baking trays, leaving space between each one as the pastry will puff up and spread. Sprinkle with any remaining sugar and bake for about 15 minutes, or until the sugar has caramelized and the pastry is puffed and golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray before tucking in. These are delicious on their own, or sandwiched around cold vanilla ice cream whilst still slightly warm.

39 RESPONSES TO Chocolate Palmiers, Palmeras or Elephant Ears

  1. haha, cute – these look incredible! I can’t wait to move into a real, proper grown up flat later this year :D. I never had a cuddly toy :(.

  2. These look bakery-perfect. And very tempting. Bookmarked for the next time I need an high impact/low effort recipe…

    And I still have a stuffed animal. A rather dilapidated rhino. I’m only a tiny bit embarrassed to admit it…

  3. I’ve never thought about making these before but I love how adaptable the recipe is and I adore the name ‘elephant ears’.

  4. I love palmiers! But I’ve never had sweet ones – my mum makes lovely savoury ones with black olives or anchovies. I bet the sweet ones are DIVINE though.

    Also, great choice of name for your elephant ;)

  5. I made the short cut version, and although mine did not turn out verry pretty, I couldn’t believe how good and authentic they tasted. Thanks for reminding me about them, will have to try to make them again in a more presentable form.

  6. Aww that is so cute! We have some monkeys. We used to take them on holidays with us but alas lack of luggage space meant that they were left behind. I still maintain the boy monkey is alive. he just has that look!

  7. I’m a big fan of a homemade palmier but these sweet chocolate ‘elephant ears’ sound like a wonderful new take on the delicious palmier. Thanks for sharing the great recipe

  8. Never made palmiers! But these look so cute and love the fact that it is made using puff pastry! Thank you for sharing! Gonna try and make them soon!

  9. These look divine! Looking forward to trying out your recipe :) :)

  10. Erin -

    These look just delightful! I’ve had palmiers on my to-bake list for forever and still haven’t gotten around to it. Perhaps I need to make it more of a priority!

    • Frugal Feeding – you never had a cuddly toy?! Sad times :-(

      North South Food – ah, thank you! The rhino sounds very cute…

      Kathryn – isn’t it cute?

      Elly – I need to make savoury ones next, they are so good!

      Nuts About Food – my pleasure!

      Lorraine – haha, he sounds a bit creepy… :-)

      Big Hungry Gnomes – enjoy!

      Lianne – you definitely should!

      Bubbly Baker – glad you like the recipe :-)

      Erin – thank you. They’re so quick and easy (unless you make the puff pastry yourself), so do give them a go.

  11. I have a stuffed polar bear named, creatively, Little Bear (ha!), that’s traveled the world with me since I was 6. While I didn’t bring her (or it, or whatever. So what, she has a gender) with me on my latest move, my parents are keeping her safe at home.

    I can’t believe you made your own puff pastry! I imagine homemade palmiers to be a million times better than store-bought, no?

  12. Super excited to find some good London bloggers to follow! Will definitely be following…

  13. I LOVE palmiers and yours look perfect!! I’ve never tried making my own pastry – its so much easier to buy from the shop. Perhaps one day I will :)

  14. I still have my stuffed elephant from childhood, also called Ellie! (Full name: Mr Ellie le Fante). And I love the name elephant ears for Palmiers, so evocative – Barefoot Contessa also does some good ones.

  15. I’ve never made palmiers before but feel really inspired by your perfect bakes! Elephant ears is such a brilliantly fun name for these delights!

  16. These look so stunning and delicious! Love the name, so cute!

  17. I used to love getting the huge palmiers from the bakery near my grandparent’s house when I was little if only theirs had chocolate in the them!

    • Linda – a million and one times better :-)

      Baking Beardy – thanks for stopping by!

      Blackberries – thank you :-)

      CHT7 – thanks!

      Baking Addict- I know. And shop bought all-butter puff pastry is actually really good. I definitely don’t have time to make it at home all the time!

      KSalty – snap! Will have to check out Barefoot Contessa’s palmiers.

      Kate – enjoy!

      Nickki – isn’t it just?

      Sylvie – most things can be improved with a little chocolate :-)

  18. My sister and my dad love elephant ears! I never thought to make them myself but they look really fantastic.

  19. Love the name elephant ears, I’ve not come across that one before. I’ve never made them either, which is quite shameful really and I’m thinking I might just make some for my birthday party this weekend. I don’t have much time and need to feed the masses, so this could be a good contribution. I’ve got some rose sugar too – wonder what that would be like.

  20. Yummy. They are also work brilliantly with ice cream so I found. Great fun!

  21. I love these and I wonder why I don’t make them more often, instead of throwing out my left over puff pastry?

  22. That’s an adorable name for a bunch of delectable-looking treats! And indeed, the name alone invokes a lot of jolly good childhood memories. I will definitely whip up a few as soon as I find puff pastry leftovers at hand.

  23. Love palmiers. You are right that they are so much more than the sum of their parts. It’s always hard to go past them in a bakery!

    • Leslie – they are!

      Nic – me too :-)

      Laura – 100% agree :-)

      Lauren – surely you could create a peanut butter version, being the peanut butter queen?! :-)

      Choclette – rose sugar sounds lovely – very delicate so I wonder if it would work once caramelized round the pastry. If you try it, I’d love to hear how they turn out!

      Cake Boule – absolutely – pastry and ice cream is a heavenly combination.

      Tandy – you should never throw it away!! Definitely give these a go :-)

      L’Atelier des Chefs – it’s such a cute name, not quite as elegant as palmiers but very cute :-)

      Leaf – it’s amazing how such a simple set of ingredients can create something so delicious.

  24. Wow, I can’t help drooling. I just love this elephant ears :D
    Well done!
    If you submitted your chocolate palmiers photos to http://www.foodporn.net , I’ll bet they will make you on the home page.
    Gosh, you have made me sooo hungry !

  25. I love flaky, buttery palmiers, but I’ve actually never had them with cocoa powder. I must change that! These are beautiful.

  26. They look gorgeous – so neat :-)
    I always make palmiers with my leftover bits of puff pastry, but mine are a whole lot more rough and ready than yours are…

  27. Awe…what a sweet memory of your lil Ellie to match a sweet recipe! As always, am drooling over your wonderful creations…Chocolate Palmiers, Palmeras or Elephant Ears…call them what you will, I want them all! xx

    • Cathy – I’d never heard of the Food Porn site but I like the sound of it!

      Sacha – thank you :-)

      Jennie – I quite like it when they’re a bit rough and ready and not completely perfect, more character :-)

      Elaina – aw, glad you like the recipe!

  28. Pingback: Alfajores-Inspired Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sandwiches | thelittleloaf

  29. I always think palmiers look so hard to make, because they look so gorgeous! It is fun to see that they are fun and easy to make, I love your addition of the chocolate:-) Hugs, Terra

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