When we were in Spain, one day we came by a small bakery that smelled incredibly delicious, so we had to go in and buy all sorts of delicious pastries; these pastries were one of them. I’m not completely sure that it is a Spanish specialty, they did not have written signs next to the products in that bakery and due to the language barrier we couldn’t find out how the pastries were called. And I didn’t see this pastry at the other bakeries we visited. I guess they are best described as related to palmiers. They are made from puff pastry that is baked in an oven while covered with something heavy, so that it cannot rise. When they are cooked, they are uncovered, brushed with egg white which acts as a glue, and then sprinkled with sugar and almond shavings, after which they are baked uncovered a little longer to toast the almonds and slightly melt the sugar. They taste delicious, are lovely thin and crisp, sweet from the sugar and the almonds give extra flavour and texture. Make sure you use all butter puff pastry, this has the best flavour, which is very important for a simple pastry like this. There are no other ingredients that can cover the yucky taste of puff pastry made with margarine. If you want to make these cookies extra special, use home-made puff pastry. Variation tips: add some vanilla, cinnamon, or other spice(mix) to the sugar, use other sliced nuts like hazelnut, or use whole pine nuts. These are best eaten quite fast after baking, are delicious as a snack with a cup of tea or coffee, but are also a great addition to desserts.
Puff pastry cookies
Puff pastry (pre-rolled shop bought)
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Have another baking sheet or baking tin ready that fits on top of the first one.
Place your puff pastry on the lined baking sheet. You can leave the puff pastry as it is, we get our puff pastry in the Netherlands as smallish squares that make a nice, generous cookie, but you can also cut your puff pastry in strips, squares, ovals, whatever you like. Another option is breaking larger sheets after baking. Place the second baking sheet on top of the first one, with the puff pastry in between. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. The pastry should stay flat, but get crisp and golden brown.
Take the baking sheet from the oven. Set the second baking sheet aside. Brush the puff pastry with egg white as a glue, then sprinkle very generous with the sugar and top it with some almond shavings. Place back in the oven (uncovered) until the almond is nicely toasted and the sugar is slightly molten. This should take about 5-10 minutes, make sure you keep an eye on it to know when it is ready. Place the cookies on a rack to cool (goes quite fast since they are thin) and serve as soon as possible.