Sunday, January 18, 2009

Origami wontons and pretty pastry cookies

"Have you recovered from that terrifying Williams Sonoma shopping ordeal?" the Java Junkie asked with all the sympathy of Cruella de Vil. The Junkie is a former union negotiator, which left her with a keen mind for detail, but very little patience for whining. And yours truly can whine with the best of them. I decided that, at least for the time being, silence would serve me well. "The next baking project requires no special equipment or skills. Unless you don't know how to fold...you do know how to fold, don't you?" My mind raced ahead. What madness does she have planned for me now? Origami wontons? "Yes, in fact folding was one of the few Girl Scout badges I earned just prior to being kicked out for attempting to score a double badge credit in mouthing off", I quipped proudly. "Palmiers," she sighed, trying to ignore my remarks, "are an easy and quick pastry that you can make from ready made frozen puff pastry sheets, cinnamon and sugar. I've even found a video so you can follow along." I began to wonder if she truly did doubt my folding skills. Hmmm, perhaps she had seen me struggling with fitted sheets...

So, without further ado, here's the simple recipe:

1 package Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets
3/4 c. sugar
1 T. ground cinnamon

Follow video instructions above and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

"They're not as pretty and shiny as the ones in the video" I lamented. "Are you sure they don't need an egg wash or something?" "No egg wash. It's the caramelized sugar that makes them shine" she replied. "Would that include organic cane sugar?" I asked. Judging by the long silence, I guessed it wouldn't. "Try using superfine baker's sugar" she explained gently. "The organic stuff is fine, but when you're making a pastry like this, you want a fine, even coating of sugar, and the superfine works best." "Roger" said I, and went off to bake another batch."These are great cookies" I gushed after making a few batches. "They're actually pastries" she replied. "Whatever" I replied, flashing the aforementioned badge at her as I wiped the crumbs from my chin - "it eats like a cookie." "Just because cookies are pastry does not mean that pastries are cookies" said Java cryptically. "In any case, we'll see how you feel about that after you've made them from scratch." Suddenly my respect for her grew even larger. Making puff pastry from scratch takes a massive amount of time and energy, and I was suddenly thankful for Pepperidge Farm. But I'm still convinced that, given enough coffee, my good friend could whip up a hundred origami won ton cranes without blinking an eye.

12 comments:

LaDivaCucina said...

I can never find superfine sugar in the grocery so I make my own, remembering a show with Alton Brown. I just process regular sugar with a few quick pulses in the food processor. Do you think that would produce the proper result?

EB said...

Holy patience batman! Wow... I don't know that I could do anything that delicate.

The Java Junkie said...

I'm sure it would, Diva - regular granulated sugar would probably work as well. The organic cane is a bit on the chunky side and neither blends well with the cinnamon nor caramelizes as quickly.

The Java Junkie said...

You can also buy online from The Baker's Catalog - it's a great resource for hard to find items!

thombeau said...

Those wonton birds are cracking me up! How faboo!

moi said...

I made puff pastry from scratch once. Once.

Big Shamu said...

Once was enough huh, Moi?

The Phosgene Kid said...

If any one finds some super coarse sugar let me know. Probably keep it next to the inorganic flour.

Making refried beans from scratch tomorrow, even bought some hatch chilies so I can make fresh Rotel. Probably won't try to fold them though, might be a bit on the messy side.

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The Java Junkie said...

Phos, you can get coarse sugar from the Baker's Catalog as well - sometimes called sanding sugar or sugar pearls.

CharmingDinnerGuest said...

Cinnamon and sugar sounds OK but do you think you could tell me how to use this recipe with chocolate? Maybe chips or grated semi-sweet?
Ideas would be most welcome.
Thanks

The Java Junkie said...

Hi Guest,
You can do chocolate palmiers using almost the same recipe, with the following changes: mix 3/4 c. superfine sugar and 3 T. really good unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Scharfenberger), and apply exactly as you would the cinnamon sugar. Bake as per the video. After the palmiers have cooled, drizzle with melted semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate.