Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Cardamom Palmiers

For the record, I don't usually subject myself to difficult baking tasks but tonight I'm making palmiers. a.k.a. Elephant Ears. With cardamom-sugar instead of plain sugar. Thank for fine folks at Fine Cooking for that idea. I love this magazine. The food photography is to die for! The Winter issue has three basic cookie doughs from which you can make three different cookies each. This cookie base is cream cheese dough. Big lure. Geneen Roth would call it a beckoning food. One of the three recipes using this dough is the aforementioned palmiers.

I read the recipe. I read most of the recipe. Alright, I read the first column. Big deal. Make the dough. Chill the dough. Shape the dough. Fold the dough. Wait a minute. Chill it again? Ok, it's chilling now. I assumed the next paragraph, although long, was essentially "slice, bake, cool." What it really says: "slice, sprinkle, bake, SWAP top and bottom cookie sheets, TURN the cookies, sprinkle, bake, cool."

At least The Timpano was all prep. Once it made it into the oven we just had to tap it every once in a while to see if it made that great hollow sound. I like fussy prep. I don't like fussy cooking. First we hunted for the recipe and found it in a cookbook by Stanley Tucci's mother. Then we hunted for months looking for the perfect timpano pan which was more of a large enameled basin. You have to know that the search was part of the fun.

The Timpano requires a gross of ziti, a bunch of boiled eggs, lots and lots of homemade teaspoon-diameter meatballs, three-meat sauce, and a pasta-like pastry. The meatballs and the sauce have their own recipes, so you end up working from three recipes. We made this thing a few years ago and haven't made it since. It was great fun. And as in the movie, it took two of us to load it into and unload it out of the oven. We still use the sauce recipe, though, because it is really outstanding. So are the meatballs.

Palmiers are fussy prep and fussy cooking. I'm already into the second chill so I may as well go for the last eight steps too. I think cardamom is one of the nicest spices so I'm sure these will taste great but it might be the last time I make them. We'll see.


  1. I hope you are going to include a picture of these fussy prep, fussy back Palmiers! Sounds nummy!

  2. I think after ranting like I did that I'd better!

  3. Is the timpano that creation so lovingly detailed in Big Night (speaking of Stanley Tucci)?
    I am impressed.


  4. Yes, it sure is. We HAD to try it! It was very tasty :)