cinnamon sugar palmiers

It’s bake number 43 this week! The Bars & Cookies chapter of Claire Saffitz’s Dessert Person got off to a bit of a shaky start, but boy oh boy has it stepped up over the last few weeks. This week, we made Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers!

Lauren’s Take

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone! Besides continuing to be thankful for my family, friendships, and the work I get to do every day, I have added something else to the list this year. This year, I am extremely thankful for rough puff pastry. I mean, the flakes, the butter, the way it is crunchy yet also melts in your mouth?! I don’t know about you, but I feel real lucky that rough puff has come into my life.

The bake for this week was the Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers. I had never made or tried palmiers before, but I was excited when I saw we’d be using rough puff pastry! I had a 1/2 recipe left from the summer when we made the Peach Melba Tart. My pastry had turned out so well that time, that I couldn’t wait to see it in action again!

Since I already had the pastry done from before, this was a super fast bake to organize. I left my pastry at room temperature to thaw out, and then placed it into the fridge until I was ready to bake. Then I made the cinnamon sugar. The recipe calls for Demerara sugar, but I only had dark brown sugar so I used that. You combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to make the sugar mixture. Easy.

The rough puff is rolled out into a 12×10 inch rectangle. I placed some of the sugar underneath the pastry and then brushed egg wash all along the top of the dough. I then sprinkled and pressed about half of the sugar on top of the pastry, pushing it down with my rolling pin. I then rolled up the dough to make the palmiers.

I started by marking the middle of the dough and rolling each section tightly towards the centre, getting two identical (or at least decently identical…) rolls of dough. I then put the dough on its side and firmly pressed the two rolls together, brushed the outside the egg wash, sprinkled more sugar on the outside, wrapped the log in parchment paper, and placed it in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.

Once the dough felt firm but not frozen, I took it out of the freezer, cut off the edges of the log, and cut the rest into 16 equal pieces. The pieces of dough looked so beautiful with the swirled design and the dark cinnamon sugar! I laid each cookie onto the baking sheet, giving each one some room to grow, and baked!

I began to smell the cookies after about 15 minutes of baking. When I checked in the oven, there was definitely a lot of growth and caramelization of the sugar, but the dough didn’t quite look golden brown, as is indicated in the book, so I decided to leave them. I ended up baking for 25 minutes because I wasn’t getting the golden brown colour, which I think was too long. I didn’t burn the cookies, but it did seem that the sugar was over-caramelized. So, trust your nose!

I did this bake while watching Claire’s video on rough puff pastry where she makes these cookies. There were definitely some noticeable differences. Claire uses a different type of sugar, doesn’t do an egg wash, doesn’t freeze the dough before cutting, cooks them for a different amount of time…before these differences in videos versus the recipe used to stress me out and I would wonder what the right decision would be. Now, as I have become more confident in baking and trusting my instincts, I just take whatever advice I decide feels right in the moment. And I think that’s why Claire doesn’t sweat not following the recipe exactly either, because she sure does know her stuff.

I was ECSTATIC when I took these cookies out of the oven. First off, the dough puffed beautifully and the layers were unreal. Everyone I showed this cookie to, I kept incessantly pointing out how many layers there were because I was so proud. The cookie just looks so beautiful, it’s hard not to be impressed. In terms of taste, the dough was perfect—extremely flaky and buttery and baked well. The cookie tastes like the very center of a cinnamon bun, which in my opinion is the best part, so you can guess how I feel about the cookie. As I mentioned, my sugar tasted a bit over-caramelized in places, but overall this cookie was a hit for me. 5 stars!

Julia’s Take

Hi everyone and Happy Thanksgiving! I’m always thankful for so many things, and this year I can add this little baking community to the list. These sweet little cinnamon-y babies were the perfect fall flavour and an excellent bake for the holiday weekend.

I think we all know by now how I feel about Claire’s Rough Puff. Taking homemade puff pastry out of the oven and see all of those incredible little layers gives you a level of pride I have felt from few other things in my life. It truly never gets old!

Since I still had Rough Puff in the freezer from when I made the Peach Melba Tart a couple of months back, this was an extremely quick and easy bake. I took my pastry out of the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature for a couple of hours, then threw it into the fridge for the rest of the day. Once I was ready to bake, the pastry is rolled out into a rectangle, brushed with egg wash, and a mixture of demerara sugar (Claire’s all-time fave), cinnamon, and a pinch of salt gets sprinkled over the whole thing.

To create that signature palmier spiral, you need to roll the dough in towards the center from each side. The full log is brushed with egg wash and coated with the rest of the cinnamon sugar, making sure you are pressing the spirals together so keep things nice and tight. This is a simple enough technique, but for some reason I was a bit of a hot mess doing this. My pastry was starting to become VERY warm and soft, and the cinnamon sugar kept sticking to my hands. I was really worried by spirals were too loose but tried my best to get the mushy disaster of a “log” rolled in to the parchment paper and put it in the freezer to firm up as per Claire’s instructions, crossing my fingers that it would hold together well enough to bake.

I wasn’t thrilled with the shape of my “log” even after 25 minutes in the freezer, but it was firm enough to cut so I just went with it. Luckily, as I started to slice the roll into cookies, you could see the little spiral shape. I tried my best to re-spiral the cookies that had some slightly undone and pressed everything together as I went along. I love a recipe that’s forgiving enough to tweak and salvage as you go.

The cookies were spread out on a cookie sheet and baked for about 25 minutes. There are few things more comforting than the smell of cinnamon, especially on a cold, rainy, fall day. Even though the palmier spirals weren’t quite as tight as I was hoping for, my pastry puffed up beautifully and I was thrilled to see those beautiful little layers. One of the best things about the palmiers is how the brown sugar mixture caramelizes along the bottom while they bake.

The whole thing is just a dream combo of textures—sugary, crispy, flaky, buttery deliciousness! Such a simple, wonderful way to use leftover pastry. It’s another 5-star bake for me.

Coming up next week: Malted Forever Brownies! Wishing all of our Canadian friends a very Happy Thanksgiving!

chocolate chip cookies

Good morning everyone and welcome back! This week, we’re continuing on with the Bars & Cookies chapter and bringing you our 42nd bake from Claire Saffitz’s Dessert PersonChocolate Chip Cookies. A true classic, and a recipe we’ve been looking forward to trying since we got the book!

Lauren’s Take

A 5-star bake! Check back for updates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Julia’s Take

When I was in university, one of my roommates’ moms made the BEST chocolate chip cookies in the entire world. Every time she would go visit home for the weekend, she’d come back with a margarine tub full of them and they would usually disappear within 24 hours. No CCC recipe has ever come close for me; I requested a copy years later, have made them myself, and they’ll always be super special and comforting to me.

That said, I was excited to try Claire’s version. I have heard nothing but rave reviews of this chocolate chip cookie recipe for months now, and even before baking you can understand why: brown butter, big chunks of TWO different kinds of chocolate (milk and dark), a long chilling time to get that perfect chewy texture. It’s not hard to see how these cookies are an easy slam dunk, and I was definitely not disappointed.

I made these cookies over the course of two days. Ultimately, it’s a really simple recipe and doesn’t take long to prepare or bake, but I knew the dough was going to have to chill in the fridge for a good stretch of time and wanted to break things up for myself.

Step one was browning the butter—something that is quickly becoming one of my new favourite activities (something only someone who is baking through an entire cookbook right now would ever say…). There’s just something about that nutty aroma you get as the butter sizzles away and the milk solids start to foam and float away that is so comforting and satisfying. One half the butter is browned, it is poured into a bowl with the other half of the butter, which has been sliced into thin pieces.

The rest of the batter comes together with all the usual suspects: whisk a combination of brown and granulated sugar into the cooled butter, add a couple of eggs and some vanilla extra, and then add in your dry ingredients (AP flour, baking soda, and some salt). Once the batter is combined, the chocolate is folded in. Claire’s recipe calls for chocolate discs vs. chocolate chips (because why use chips or even standard chunks when you can be super extra and bougey and use discs? Classic Claire); the other signatures here are that half the discs are roughly chopped and the other half are left whole, and you use a combination of milk and semi-sweet or dark chocolate. This combination of textures and flavours is stellar—chocolate runs through the entire cookie without being overwhelmingly sweet.

After the batter comes together, the cookies are scooped out onto a cookie sheet—a whole 2-ounce or quarter-cup sized scoop per cookie. Monstrous! But I guess if you’re going to have a cookie, HAVE A COOKIE. I let my balls of cookie dough sit in the fridge wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for the recommended minimum 12 hours. The dough tasted unreal, so I was pretty pumped about baking the next day.

The next morning, I was ready to go. The cookies are spread out further onto a baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes. They spread out quite a bit while baking, and the baking soda gives you those signature wrinkled edges.

The results were just as delicious as I expected them to be! These cookies are the dream combination of crispy edges and chewy centre. The depth of flavour you get from the brown butter and the two types of chocolate and the combo of chocolate textures is just genius. I shared these cookies with some friends, and everyone was messaging me the rest of the week asking if I still had any left. A huge hit, a new favourite that I’ll be making again and again, and absolutely a 5-star bake for me!

Next week, we’ll be busting out the Rough Puff again to make Cinnamon Sugar Palmiers! See you then.

marcona almond cookies

It’s Bars and Cookies time! A brand new chapter of Claire’s Saffitz’s Dessert Person, and we’re kicking it all off with our 39th bake from the book, the Marcona Almond Cookies.

Lauren’s Take

Hello! With the feeling of fall and a new season in the air, so comes pending excitement of the holiday season and Christmas baking!

The very well-timed and completely unintentional benefits of baking this book in order is that we have started the “Cookies and Bars” chapter during the fall which means lots of already prepped Christmas baking! (I’ve already started to set aside some room in my freezer). My plan is to save about 6-8 cookies from each recipe for the holidays and have the most diverse and impressive spread my family has ever seen (until they go to Julia’s house which will have the same spread).

The chapter starts off with a simple, quick and familiar recipe—Almond Cookies! For the life of me, I could not find the Marcona almonds Claire asks for in the book, so I just chose to use regular almonds instead. These almond cookies, or at least a version of them, are a staple at any Italian holiday, ceremony or large gathering, so it was fun to make something I have such fond memories of.

 

It was so refreshing going from multi-step, multi-page, multi-freakout bakes, to a one-pager where you just mix everything and then bake. You simply put almonds, almond paste (which I made myself again), salt, sugar, vanilla, and eggs in the food processor and combine together. You then put the sticky mixture into a piping bag, and pipe out 24 1.5 inch diameter cookies on a baking sheet. The cookies are brushed over with egg yolk, and an almond is then placed in the centre of each. Then pop ‘em in the oven for 10-12 minutes (mine took 11 to be exact) and there ya have it!



These cookies are chewy and have a great almond flavour if that’s your thing. Simple, fast and delicious, but nothing over the top amazing about them. I give them a 3! (And yes, 6-8 of them are happily sitting in my freezer awaiting the holiday season).

Julia’s Take

 

After a pretty technical and challenging chapter working through Pies and Tarts and learning about so many different types of dough, pastry, mousses, creams, caramels, crumbles, and more, it feels nice to be moving on to this new chapter which, I’m sure will have its learning moments as well, but is sure to be a bit more straightforward and less time-consuming than the last few months have been!

We definitely got off on a very easy foot with the Marcona Almond Cookies. The whole process took maybe 40 minutes max, and that’s being generous. It’s also taking into account the fact that I made the almond paste myself, like I did for the Quince Tart a few weeks ago. If I hadn’t had to do that, these cookies could have probably been fully prepared and baked in 25 minutes or less.

 

Since the process was so simple, there isn’t a whole lot to say! Everything comes together in the food processor; I made the almond paste first—which is just a combination of almond flour, powdered sugar, salt, egg white, and almond extract—and since almond paste was just going right into the cookie dough, I didn’t even have to bother with cleaning the equipment before moving on to the next step. Less dishes is always a big win for me!

The dough is almost like more of a thick batter in my opinion, and is a combination of blitzed up almonds (the recipe clearly calls for the Marcona variety, which are supposed to be a bit richer and fattier, but I couldn’t find any so I went with regular blanched almonds to at least have a similar look), the almond paste, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. It blends up smoothly in the food processor within a couple of minutes, and then you can form your cookies. Claire says you can use a pastry bag to pipe them, or just use a regular scoop; again, I’m all about minimizing the clean up, and pastry bags can be such a pain, so since I was feeling particularly lazy when making these cookies, I just used a tablespoon and scooped out my cookies into relatively uniform little mounds.

Each cookie gets a bit of an egg wash on top, and then an almond is pressed into the centre before they bake for 10 minutes at 400 degrees. Could literally not be easier. Part of me felt like I was cheating out of a bake and couldn’t possibly have done all I needed to because I’ve become so accustomed to long wait times, multiple techniques and components, and frantically checking the oven to see if something is going according to plan.

The cookies weren’t anything life-changing, and I didn’t expect them to be, but they were still a delicious little treat. They’re very similar to an Italian almond cookie called Amaretti which we grew up having in our family; they’re a staple at weddings, and our mom will often make them at Christmas or for other special occasions as well. They have a great chewy texture just like Claire’s cookies, and the almond flavour really comes through. Overall, I’d give this bake 3 stars and am excited to get going on this new chapter of the book!

Coming up next week: Salted Halvah Blondies!