Rising up in Cleveland, Ohio, Kristina Cho didn’t spend a lot time baking along with her household, however she vividly remembers the plate of cookies they’d set out for Santa every Christmas Eve.
“My household aren’t big bakers—we come from a Chinese language restaurant household and so our Christmas dinner was at all times elaborate,” says Cho, a recipe developer, cooking teacher and creator of the newly launched Mooncakes & Milk Bread: Sweet and Savory Recipes Inspired by Chinese Bakeries. “However my mother at all times made positive to have Santa’s cookies on the desk.”
Usually it might be a chocolate chip cookie alongside the requisite glass of milk. However as Cho moved into center faculty, she started educating herself the best way to bake a variety of cookies that she served at household capabilities. She began making snowball cookies, her grandpa’s almond cookies and finally pistachio palmiers.
“I really like the actually type of vivid inexperienced colour of pistachios,” she says. “It feels a bit of festive and the shimmer of the sugar type of provides that twinkly impact that you simply consider with vacation twinkly lights.”
Whereas these puff pastry cookies might call to mind a French patisserie, they’re simply as ubiquitous in Chinese language bakeries, the place they’re also known as butterfly cookies.
“There’s lots of crossover between Western or European-style baking and Chinese language baking in recipes as a result of there’s simply a lot affect there,” says Cho, including that the butterfly cookies in Chinese language bakeries vary from candy to savory and from palm-sized to as large as her head.
One of many key variations from the French fashion is using Chinese language puff pastry. Whereas the 2 are pretty comparable, the Chinese language pastry is barely much less buttery and a contact crisper.
However “as you’re employed your manner by way of the swirls [of the palmier], the feel modifications a bit of bit and the middle of the swirl has a bit of chew to it, which I actually love,” says Cho. “The sugar on the surface caramelizes and it will get golden brown, toasty and crunchy, and the pistachios meld with the butter and your kitchen simply smells so insanely good.”
The Worth of Pre-Made Puff Pastry
Whereas Cho says it’s well worth the “very meditative” effort to make Chinese language puff pastry from scratch, there’s nothing fallacious with streamlining your vacation baking efforts through the use of pre-made frozen puff pastry.
“The vacations are busy for everyone, and I write lots of my recipes [to include a] less complicated choice that can nonetheless end in simply nearly as good of a cookie,” says Cho. “The primary distinction is that making your personal puff pastry will give a flakier, extra delicate texture than utilizing retailer purchased, however retailer purchased can be completely wonderful.”
Maintain Your Dough Chilly and Knives Sharp
These pistachio palmiers are what Cho calls a “fancy slice-and-bake cookie.” A mix of sugar and roasted pistachios is unfold throughout the highest of a sheet of puff pastry, which is rolled tightly right into a heart-shaped log earlier than it’s thinly sliced.
One crucial tip Cho gives dwelling bakers is “don’t rush.” It’s essential that the dough stays chilly till it goes into the oven. If you happen to discover your kitchen heating up as you’re baking batches of vacation cookies, simply “pop your elements within the fridge for a couple of minutes in between every step,” she advises.
Retaining the dough chilled will assist the rolling and slicing course of, as will a freshly sharpened knife. “A extremely sharp, good high quality knife is without doubt one of the most necessary issues within the kitchen, and it undoubtedly helps while you go to slice these cookies,” says Cho.
Across the holidays, it’s at all times good to have a bit of further one thing in your freezer simply in case, and these cookies are an important choice for freezing and baking when the craving—or the panicked, last-minute celebration invite—hits. Simply assemble the cookies, slice them after which place them on a sheet pan within the freezer till they’re frozen strong. At this level, you possibly can throw them in a freezer bag for storage.
“Proper earlier than your cookie swap or on Christmas morning, you possibly can simply pop them within the oven,” says Cho. “They could take an additional two or three minutes to completely bake, so simply look within the oven to see if the layers are type of separating and you’ve got a pleasant golden-brown colour.”
- .5 cup Sugar
- .5 cup Roasted pistachios
- All-purpose flour, for dusting
- Chinese language Puff Pastry (see under) or retailer purchased
- 1 Massive egg
- Within the bowl of a meals processor, pulse to mix the sugar and pistachios till the combination has a medium-coarse texture, about 30 seconds.
- On a evenly floured work floor, roll out the sheet of puff pastry right into a 12-inch-by-16-inch rectangle. In a small bowl, whisk the egg and use a pastry brush to brush it onto the floor of the puff pastry, all the best way to the perimeters. Sprinkle two-thirds of the pistachio sugar evenly over the puff pastry.
- Beginning alongside the lengthy facet of the pastry, tightly roll up simply to the middle, then roll the alternative lengthy facet to fulfill within the heart, forming a 16-inch-long heart-shaped log. Place the go surfing a large- rimmed baking sheet and freeze till agency, no less than quarter-hour (or longer if the kitchen is scorching). It shouldn’t be so agency that you would be able to’t slice it.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line two large-rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the go surfing a sheet of parchment paper. Brush the outside of the pastry log with remaining egg wash and sprinkle the remaining third of the pistachio sugar over all sides of the log. Use the parchment paper to assist press the pistachio sugar onto the pastry. With a pointy knife, trim a half inch off both finish and reduce the log into 32 slices. For even slices, reduce the log in half and proceed to chop each bit in half till you might have 32 slices. Organize the slices, reduce sides up, on the baking sheets, spacing them one-and-a-half inches aside.
- Bake till cookies are golden brown and crisp, 28 to half-hour. Switch the sheets to a wire rack and permit the palmiers to chill on the sheet for five minutes. Switch the palmiers to the rack to chill utterly.
- Storage notes: Cookies may be saved in an hermetic container (a resealable bag works nice) at room temperature for as much as 5 days.
Makes about 1.5 kilos of pastry
For the Butter Block:
- 227g (1 cup; 2 sticks) Unsalted butter, chilled
- 150g (1.25 cups) All-purpose flour
For the Flour Dough:
- 210g (1.66 cups) All-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1 Massive egg
- .5 tsp Coarse salt
- 75g (.33 cup) Ice water
- Make the butter block: Minimize the butter into 1-inch cubes and place within the bowl of a meals processor. Add the flour and pulse till clean (will probably be crumbly at first). Switch the butter combination to a sheet of plastic wrap. Fold the plastic over the butter combination after which press to type a roughly 5-inch sq.. Refrigerate till agency however nonetheless considerably pliable, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Make the flour dough: Place the flour, egg, salt, and ice water within the clear bowl of the meals processor. Pulse simply till a clean ball of dough varieties. Switch the dough to a evenly floured floor and barely flatten right into a disk. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate till chilled, 30 to 35 minutes.
- Unwrap each the dough and butter block. Calmly mud a clear work floor with flour and roll out the flour dough with a big rolling pin right into a 7-inch-by-10-inch rectangle. Place the butter block within the heart of the dough and fold the perimeters of the dough over the butter block, in order that it’s tightly wrapped. Flip over the pastry dough so it’s seam-side down. Proceed to evenly mud the work floor if the dough begins to stay. With the rolling pin, firmly press down on the dough to skinny it out (this could stop it from tearing). Roll out the dough right into a 6-inch-by-12-inch rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, like a letter, and press it down with the rolling pin once more to flatten. Roll the dough right into a 6-inch-by-12-inch rectangle and repeat the method of folding the dough into thirds like a letter yet another time. Flatten and roll the dough into an 8-inch-by-12-inch rectangle and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate the dough for no less than half-hour earlier than working it once more. At this level, the puff pastry may be both frozen or refrigerated for future use.
Reprinted from Mooncakes & Milk Bread by Kristina Cho. Copyright 2021 by Kristina Cho. Pictures copyright Kristina Cho. Utilized by permission of Harper Horizon, an imprint of HarperCollins Focus LLC.