Baked Occasionally, desserts

baked, occasionally: election day palmiers.

baked, occasionally: election day palmiers.

There’s a quote I heard randomly while watching 2012’s national election coverage. Tom Brokaw, who is probably my most favorite newsperson of all time, said this at the time.

“What I love about the process, and what I love about this country and the way we govern ourselves…is that [people] will get up this morning, they’ll go to the voting booth, and they’ll decide who they want to run this country for the next four years; and they won’t do it at the point of a gun, there won’t be any tanks in the street. It’s an amazing process that we’re about to go through, it really is.”

Things had gotten a little crazy-tastic, it was election morning, and it really resonated with me, because it puts something many of us take for granted sharply in focus.

If our 2012 selves knew what was coming in 2016, election morning would have looked like a walk in the park.

These are Election Day Palmiers: so says the Baked Occasions cookbook. Natalie got to pick our Baked, Occasionally series recipe this month, and I’m so happy she chose these, because I got a chance to try something new. She’s better at this sort of thing, so scoot on over to her post on these to see how hers look.

America: tomorrow is Election Day, and you get to go to the polls and cast your vote. You get to vote, in a world where so many do not. It’s not an inconvenience to your day, and it’s not a fruitless mission. It’s yes, long lines and hard choices and you are deciding the future, so go do it, America. Just suck it up and get it done and think about it with your heart – lots of people forget to do that part. That part is the most important.

To the rest of the world – Hey there…listen. I’d like to personally apologize for how we’ve acted this year; I don’t honestly know what got into us. We were your embarrassing friend at the party who gets wayyyyyy too loud and out of control, and despite your best efforts, refuses to just shut up. We’re sorry; I think we’ve learned our lesson. *crosses fingers* We’re gonna clean up our act now; please don’t think less of us.

baked, occasionally: election day palmiers.

Until we figure out stuff out, here’s these palmiers, and they’re delicious. They’re French, so they won’t remind you one bit of us. America: if you vote, come over to my house and I’ll give you one as a treat.

Adapted from Baked Occasions: Desserts for Leisure Activities, Holidays, and Informal Celebrations by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Election Day Palmiers

Yield | 20 to 24 mini palmiers |

1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
7 ounces (1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into
½-inch cubes
¾ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 large egg
½ cup turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1½ teaspoons cayenne pepper*

*The cayenne is optional, but like the book says, totally worth it if you use it. I like a spicy-sweet thing: if you do too, use the entire 1 1/2 teaspoons. if you’re more of a subtle spice person, take that down to 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and ½ teaspoon of the salt and place in the freezer. Place the butter in a separate bowl in the freezer. Finally, in a small prep bowl or measuring cup, stir together 2 tablespoons water with the lemon juice and place in the freezer. Allow all the items to chill in the freezer for 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove all items from the freezer. Place the flour mixture in a food processor and pulse for 1 or 2 short bursts. Add about half of the cold butter chunks and pulse about 3 to 4 times in short bursts. Do not overprocess; the butter pieces should be slightly bigger than pea size. Add the remaining butter and pulse a few more times; the butter should still be quite visible and pronounced in the mixture. Drizzle in a few drops of the lemon juice mixture and pulse 2 or 3 times until crumbly. Test the dough by pinching a bit in your fingers; it should just hold together. If the dough does not hold together, continue to add drops of the lemon juice mixture and pulse as needed. (Note: you may not use all of the mixture, or you may need to add additional drops of tap water; this is usually dependent on flour brand.) Again, be careful not to overprocess; the dough should not form a ball.

Transfer the chilled dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until it just comes together. Use your hands to shape it into a rough 6-by-9-inch (15-by-23-cm) rectangle about ½ inch (12 mm) thick, with a short side closest to you. Make the first letter fold: Fold the bottom third of the dough on top of the middle third, then fold over the top third to cover, just like folding a letter. Rotate the rectangle so the short side is facing you, and letter-fold the dough again. Rotate again and use your hands to gently shape the dough into another rough 6-by-9-inch (15-by-23-cm) rectangle. Perform the final letter fold. If, at any time, the dough starts feeling soft or the butter starts to warm, refrigerate until cool again. Once all three letter folds are finished, cover the dough loosely in plastic wrap, and refrigerate it for 30 minutes.

Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin this time, roll the dough into an 8-by-15-inch (20-by-38-cm) rectangle, with the short side closest to you. Make the first letter fold: Fold the bottom third of dough on top of the middle third, then fold over the top third to cover. Rotate the rectangle so the short side is facing you and letter-fold the dough again. Rotate again, gently roll the dough back into a rough 8-by-15-inch (20-by-38-cm) rectangle, and perform a final letter fold. Cover the dough loosely in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 more minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a fork. Set aside.

Place a rectangle of parchment (about the size of a half sheet pan, 18 by 13 inches/46 by 33 cm) on your workspace. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, cayenne (if using), and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt. Dust the parchment with one-third of the sugar mixture. Place the dough on top of the parchment and sprinkle the dough with another third of the sugar mixture. Roll the dough into a 12-by-15-inch rectangle about 1⁄8 to ¼ inch (3 to 6 mm) thick, sprinkling a tablespoon or two more of the sugar mixture over the dough if it becomes too sticky to work with. Refrigerate the dough for 5 to 10 minutes to firm up. Roll up both of the long sides of the dough toward the center so that they meet in the exact middle. Brush the egg wash where the two sides of the dough meet; this will act as the glue to keep the rolls stuck together. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Add a teaspoon or two of water to the parchment and use your hands to spread it around; you want the parchment to be slightly damp.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut crosswise into ½-inch (12-mm) slices; place the slices on the prepared baking sheets about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the slices.

Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven and flip the cookies over with a spatula. Bake the other side of the cookies until they have spread slightly and are puffy and golden brown, about 5 more minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then serve warm or at room temperature.

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  • Reply Ashley November 7, 2016 at 4:53 pm

    Brilliant writing, as always. As a nation, we seem to have forgotten what makes our government so different and so strong and so enduring. I hope that we, as a nation, don’t act dumb tomorrow (mainly I’m worried about all the people in my sphere who aren’t voting for whatever reason…I tried to verbally push them, not towards a candidate, but towards participation. Don’t know if it worked, but I hope non-participants don’t skew results.).
    Also, I’ve always wanted to make a palmier, but never have. These look incredible!

  • Reply John/Kitchen Riffs November 7, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    Definitely need one or two of these to help stomach this election season. So weird. Never want to see this again. Anyway, good post — thanks.

  • Reply elizabeth November 7, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    At first I was wondering why you were sweating these palmiers, and then I realized you made your own damn puff pastry to which I say: Brava! I’m 100% with you on this election, and while I’m looking forward to making my vote tomorrow, it’s going to be a very long day until things are settled.

  • Reply heather (delicious not gorgeous) February 1, 2017 at 10:44 am

    i’ve made palmiers using storebought puff pastry, but never completely from scratch! loving this variation on it though. and i think i still need palmiers and other junky food bc i’m struggling with where the world is going.

    • Reply shannon March 22, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Thank you, Heather! This is a super easy dough to make, should you ever feel the need to try it out. I’ll never knock a store bought puff, but it’s nice to have a recipe you can make up when you need to. I hear you about the world: I think a lot of us will be upping our junk food game in the coming years. 😉

      thanks for writing! it’s nice to meet you.

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