In the French Kitchen with Kids: Les Petits Chefs make palmier cookies

Wonky palmiers image on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis term the Petits Chefs are testing out some of the recipes from my cookbook (my first draft is due in just over a month!) and it’s been a wonderful way for me to see what these recipes look like in the hands of the book’s eventual target audience. I’ve taken a lot of notes from my sessions and asked the boys a lot of questions and the information will definitely come in useful as I refine the recipes and write up sidebars and headnotes over the next few weeks.

This week we worked with store-bought puff pastry to make a classic French snack – palmiers (cookies in the shape of palm tree leaves). Sometimes known as “Elephant’s Ears”, these puff pastry cookies are a cinch to make, especially with store-bought puff pastry but there were a couple of details I wanted to check.

I figured the boys would love something involving butter and puff pastry… I wasn’t wrong!

Our store-bought puff pastry was a little on the warm side and the boys had a few challenges working with it but they persisted because they knew there would be sugary treats at the end of the session!

They carefully laid out the pastry, brushed it lightly with water and sprinkled it with a little sugar…

Brushing puff pastry with water image on eatlivetravelwrite.comAbout to sprinkle sugar on puff pastry image on eatlivetravelwrite.comThey managed to roll the very warm pastry up into rolls and cut them into smaller rounds… It was a challenge but I noted that my extra step of leaving the pastry in the fridge for 30 minutes was totally justified here!

Cutting palmiers image on eatlivetravelwrite.comBy the time the palmiers were ready to go on the tray, the pastry was so warm that they were kind of falling apart.

Palmiers in the making image on eatlivetravelwrite.comWe popped them in the oven and hoped for the best. Secretly, I knew the pastry would puff up and the sugar would caramelise so that couldn’t all be bad…

To keep little hands busy while the palmiers baked, I set out some ingredients to make rough puff pastry…

Kids rubbing flour into butter image on eatlivetravelwrite.comThis is one of my favourite things to make – it comes together like a dream (15 minutes!) and the feedback from most of the recipes testers who have been working with it has been extremely favourable (things like “better than store-bought” make me very happy to hear!).

What I know for certain is that kids LOVE working with pastry…

Rough puff pastry in the making image on Folding and turning rough puff pastry image on Kids making rough puff pastry image on Kids rolling rough puff pastry image on Rolling and turning rough puff pastry with kids image on eatlivetravelwrite.comI mean, we could have gone on four hours rolling and folding that pastry but I explained that we had to respect the amount of “turns” in the recipe otherwise it would be tough.  Our pastry wrapped and refrigerated, we turned out attention to the baked palmiers

Palmiers made by kids image on*Slightly* misshapen but I actually kind of love these. And there’s no question the boys (and their parents) loved them! Proof positive that:

  1. Even if your recipe doesn’t quite turn out like the photo, it will be delicious.
  2. Perfection is overrated 😉
  3. When kids cook and bake, they are SO proud (and much more willing to taste!) which is reward in itself.

Kind of good life lessons, no?

One of the boys in this club worked with puff pastry the following day as we cooked a few Haitian dishes to wrap up a unit on Haiti and I made sure it was at optimal temperature. He remarked on the ease of using it when it was the right temperature (note to self: huge sidebar about making sure of this in the book!). So that was cool to see him making those connections!

That’s is for this term testing recipes from In the French kitchen with kids! I’m off to Lyon in just over a week to shoot the third round of images for the book and will be madly writing until April 3 when my draft is due (don’t get me wrong – I know that up until next March when the book goes to print there is a huge amount of work to do still but getting the first draft of the manuscript in is huge for me!).  I’ve got a few really cool posts lined up over the next few weeks though featuring my Grade 4 “French food” project. I think you definitely won’t want to miss those!





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