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Palmiers

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December 05, 1996|JOAN DRAKE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

One look at a standard recipe for palmiers is enough to send even an ardent cook running for cover. Or at least in the direction of the nearest bakery.

The crisp palm leaf-shaped cookies are made with puff pastry--the thin layers of dough, separated by equally thin layers of butter, prepared by umpteen steps: rolling, folding and turning the pastry. Few people have the time or inclination to make it from scratch.

Fortunately, sheets of prepared puff pastry are sold in the frozen food section of just about any supermarket. Using this shortcut makes baking the cookies yourself more feasible, but they still take a little time and patient effort.

Baking time may vary from oven to oven, and if using an insulated baking sheet, you'll need to increase it slightly.

SHORTCUT PALMIERS

1 (17 1/4-ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets

White decorator sugar

Thaw pastry overnight in refrigerator. Working with 1 sheet at a time, gently unroll on plastic wrap. Press fold lines down lightly with fingers.

Measure pastry sheet and position so one of longest sides is directly in front of you. Make light vertical score down center of sheet.

Lightly spritz or brush pastry with cold water. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar evenly over sheet.

Using plastic wrap to help lift, fold each side of pastry toward center, so edges just meet. Fold each side in half again, then fold two halves together. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour. Repeat technique with second sheet of pastry.

Unwrap 1 roll of pastry at time and, using very sharp knife, cut into 1/4-inch slices.

Dip both cut sides of slices in sugar. Arrange 1 1/2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets, reforming shape with fingers or wooden skewer if necessary.

Bake at 450 degrees until lightly browned on bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn cookies, reduce heat to 375 degrees and bake until just lightly browned, about 5 minutes longer.

Remove from baking sheets immediately and cool on wire racks.

Makes 56 cookies. Each cookie contains about:

31 calories; 41 mg sodium; 0 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 4 grams carbohydrates; 1 grams protein; 0 gram fiber.

* Variation: If desired, colored decorator sugar may be sprinkled onto cookies during last 2 minutes of baking.

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