Sisters share a lot: clothes, parents, tastes. My sister Julie and I never shared clothes -- I was 17 when she was born, so dressing like her would be inappropriate in so many ways. As for parents, we share one via biology (our dad), though her mom/my step-mom has been in my family since I was a tween.
Now, insofar as tastes are concerned, we seem to be cut from the same cloth. While I question her continued obsession with the Food Network, we do like nearly all the same foods. Salty and briny (olives, capers, lox), creamy (cheeses across the spectrum, ice cream, yogurt), anything and everything baked, and, it must be said, coconut.
I hate to be a one-trick pony, but Julie and I developed a coconut recipe together last night. With Ina Garten cheering us on from the pages of Barefoot in Paris, we took her 3-ingredient palmiers and shamelessly added an entire bag of coconut and an immodest heap of cardamom.
The result: an exquisite, layered cookie that sounds much more complicated than it actually is. If you've never used frozen, store-bought puff pastry, think of palmiers as your training wheels.
Julie and I may not have grown up together, nor ever shared the same home, but our mutual love of coconut bridges our half-generation gap.
For those of you with siblings, do weigh in on whether your tastes in food are as aligned as mine are with Julie's. By the same token, if your sister has ever stolen your boyfriend or borrowed your lipstick without asking, you can also air your sister-related dirty laundry here as well.
Recipe for Sisters' Coconut Palmiers
My sister Julie and I took our inspiration from Ina Garten's straightforward recipe for Elephant Ears in Barefoot in Paris. Our version has two additional ingredients and one extra step. It's one of the simplest cookies you'll ever make. The only trick is to let the puff pastry defrost before you work with it. You can also defrost it overnight in the fridge.
One 7-ounce package sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
One package frozen puff pastry, thawed
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment or Silpat liners.
In a food processor, combine the coconut, sugar, cardamom and salt. Process until finely ground, about 2 full minutes. Pour 1 cup of this mixture onto a flat surface (a large, smooth counter or wooden slab).
Unfold one sheet of pastry onto the coconut mixture and pour an additional 1/2 cup of the coconut mixture on top. Use your hands to cover the pastry thickly with the coconut. (The pastry will be sandwiched between 2 layers of coconut.)
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out slightly, into a 13-inch rectangle. The rolling and pressing action will cause the coconut mixture to adhere to the pastry, which is exactly what you want. Using a bench scraper, lift the sides of the pastry up and fold them toward the center so they meet flush in the middle. Then fold one half over the other like you're closing a book.
Cut the dough into 3/8-inch slices, placing them cut side up on one of the prepared sheets.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the remaining coconut-sugar, and dump the remainder on the counter on the excess from your first go-round. Work with the second puff pastry sheet in the same way, dumping the reserved 1/2 cup of coconut-sugar on top. Continue working until you've cut all your slices.
Place baking sheets in the freezer for 10 minutes so they can firm up.
Bake about 15-20 minutes total, flipping the cookies halfway through and reversing the position of the baking sheets. You want the cookies to be nice and brown, so please don't remove them from the oven too soon. It's the caramelized sugar and toasted coconut that provide the flavor punch you're after so err on the side of over-brown rather than depressingly pallid.
Transfer to a rack to cool.