The Harbinger Online

Baking Bad: Palmiers

Besides impatience, a propensity to make hasty generalizations and an inability to enjoy “The Avengers,” I thought I had very few bad qualities. Unfortunately, I must now add “cockiness” to the list.

In my last blog, I stated that I had finally won over my oven. Because of that win, I got cocky. And I mean really cocky. I started strutting around my kitchen, believing that everything I baked would turn to gold. Alas, that was not the case.

When I first decided to bake palmiers, I thought it wouldn’t be too hard. Pastry? Been there, done that. The heart-shaped French pastries were too cute and too decadent to not make them.

Most of the recipes I googled required store-bought puff pastry. Of course, only plebeians use store-bought puff pastry, so I sought out to make my own. Although I should have spent several hours carefully preparing the puff pastry, I was supposed to see “Ender’s Game” that afternoon. And as much as I enjoy baking, “Ender’s Game” was of the utmost importance that day.

After hastily throwing together flour and butter in my food processor, I added several tablespoons of water and a splash of raspberry extract and began mixing. This is where I made my most crucial mistake. I should have been more patient, but I wasn’t paying attention and mixed it too long. While chunks of butter should have been peppered throughout, instead they ended up being entirely blended into the dough.

Right after I was done mixing, I realized my folly. But there was no way I was going to give up in the middle of the recipe. I was a girl on a mission to make palmiers, damn it, so I powered on.

photo 1

The thing about palmiers is that they require about two cups of sugar. Yes, two entire cups. So after forming the dough into a ball, I went against my every instinct and started pouring sugar over my counter. Once I’d spread the sugar out, I rolled out the dough on top and coated it with even more sugar. I then began folding the dough into a square, then continued folding it over until it resembled a log. A squishy, sugary log.

While I forced myself not to start crying due to my failure, I began slicing off pieces of the sugar log and transferring them to a baking sheet. Pieces of each palmier fell off whenever I picked them up. Before I resorted to throwing the palmiers at the wall, I began taking deep breaths to calm down. Finally, they all went in the oven.

photo 2

Taking them out of the oven I noticed that rather than resembling palmiers, they looked more like cookies. After burning my mouth on one, I set them in the freezer and sat grumpily, waiting for them to cool enough so that I could truly judge their taste.

photo 3

My lack of patience finally got the best of me. I pulled one out of the freezer and took a bite; it might be an exaggeration to say that I died a little when I tasted it, but that’s how it felt. The palmier had hardened on the outside, and the sugar underneath it had melted and then solidified to create a sugar-crust. The raspberry taste was perfectly subtle, and the cookie was warm on the inside. They were wonderful.

photo

I completely failed at making palmiers. That’s a fact. But what I made was a happy accident: a rich, soft, subtly fruity accident. The cookies were delicious, even if they weren’t delicate or heart-shaped. And even though the oven had triumphed over me yet again, I couldn’t be more pleased with the result.

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