And I finally get to see my boyfriend after not having seen him on Valentine’s Day. He has to commute to Osaka for work, and seriously can’t squeeze in an evening with me during the week. So we had a lazy Sunday afternoon. I gave him his Valentine’s Day present as soon as he walked in the door… chocolate palmiers. To my delight they were very well received by both him and my roommate. Success!
Of course I had to use chocolate, Japan being a wonderland of Godiva and boutique chocolatiers on that particular day. It’s considered an opportunity for women to admit their feelings to a man for a change, by giving chocolates to them. Then there’s also the obligatory chocolates for your co-workers. Thank goodness I’m a foreigner and don’t have to do all that. Not that I’m complaining about the masses of chocolate, but my budget can’t handle too much time in a department store basement (which is where all the specialty foods are sold).
That, and all the women dressed in mini skirts and tall boots who were crowding around the baking section of Loft department store a week ago made me feel claustrophobic. My stomach was doing sommer saults. I guess at heart I’m really still a small-town girl.
So why not make truffles and really celebrate the chocolateyness of the holiday? He doesn’t like matcha (though he did compliment me on those), and I didn’t really want to repeat what I’d made the week before. But he absolutely loves cookies. So I decided to make hearts and revel in the cheesiness of the day, but I didn’t want to wander into that baking section again to get the heart-shaped cookie cutter I’d been considering using. What should I do?… palmiers!
The next question: how could I add chocolate to the palmiers? I didn’t want to cover the pretty design of the cookies with melted chocolate. That would overpower the caramalization as well, I thought. Half dip the cookies? In the end, I decided to follow C&Z’s suggestion to roll chocolate into the dough itself.
They turned out delicious. Not too sweet, but thoroughly chocolatey, with clear glazed caramel on top. My dear boy ate almost all of them in one day, popping into the kitchen every now and then for another. The rest I sent home with him, having sufficiently taste tested while baking them the day before.
two sheets of pie dough (about 18 cm x 18 cm), thawed
2 tbs melted butter
cocoa powder and sugar
90 g chopped milk chocolate or chocolate chips. I recommend using a sweet chocolate to balance the cocoa and unsweetened pie dough. I used one finely chopped Meiji milk chocolate bar.
Make a cocoa/sugar mixture using a rough ratio of 2 sugar to 1 cocoa. Mix thoroughly or put in a sealable jar and shake. Do a little dance while you shake the jar.
Lay the thawed pie dough out on your work surface. Brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle with the cocoa/sugar mixture by gently tapping a spoonful over the surface of the dough. Make two strips of chopped chocolate, leaving the edges of the dough and the center free of chocolate pieces.
Fold the dough into the palmier shape. First fold one edge in, then fold the same side again. Repeat with the opposite edge. Fold one side over the other. I used this picture for reference.
Brush the outside of the roll with butter and sprinkle with more cocoa/sugar mixture. Wrap the roll in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Butter two cookie sheets.
After 20 minutes, take out the pastry rolls and place them on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut the roll into 5 mm slices. Gently place the slices on the cookie sheets so you don’t loose all the chocolate pieces on the way. Top each cookie with a teaspoon of sugar, which will melt to make a caramel glaze as it’s baked. Put in your preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Be careful to not overbake them in an attempt to brown the dough, because the cocoa edge may burn.
After you take the cookies out of the oven, they’ll cool really fast, so you can taste test before baking the next batch. My last batch was definitely the best.