By family decree, certain elements of our Easter Brunch can never be altered: the Breakfast Pizzas; the Pesto-Roasted Tomatoes, Red Onion, and Garlic with Pine Nuts; and the Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing. The ham comes and goes and the potatoes occasionally vary (Hashbrown Casserole has been a favorite for many years, but to the dismay of one of our sons, is being edged out this year by Country-Fried Potatoes with Bacon and Green Onions). Other dishes enter and exit as the urge strikes: this year, one of those “other” items will be Stuffed Mushrooms with Merguez Sausage and Spinach, which I realized I hadn’t made in a while.
The one area of Easter Brunch where more experimentation is allowed is the sweet section, which consists of 2-3 items chosen at whim. Today, I made these Nutella Hazelnut Palmiers while everyone was out hiking; I’ll need to hide them pretty soon, lest the returning teenagers and 20-somethings demolish them before tomorrow’s brunch. And before I “taste test” any more of them myself….
Nutella Hazelnut Palmiers
Makes about 30
1 (17.65 oz. ) pkg. puff pastry dough sheets, thawed
2 tbsp. raw sugar, divided in half
1 c. Nutella (chocolate hazelnut spread), divided in half*
1/2 c. chopped hazelnuts, divided in half
1. Lightly flour a clean, 12 x 12-inch spot on your counter. Sprinkle the spot with 1 tbsp. raw sugar.
2. The puff pastry dough package should contain two sheets. Unfold one of the sheets and place it on top of the flour/sugar. Gently roll out the dough to the left and to the right until it is about 15-inches long (don’t worry about the width); you mostly want to embed the sugar into the underside of the dough.
3. Spread 1/2 c. Nutella onto the puff pastry sheet; sprinkle 1/4 c. chopped hazelnuts over the top.
4. Starting at the top long end, roll the dough toward you until you get to the middle of the pastry sheet. Now roll from the bottom end up to the middle. Bring the two rolls together, and place the log of dough seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
5. Repeat with the second puff pastry sheet. Sprinkle the counter with more flour and the remaining tbsp. of sugar, top with the second pastry sheet, and gently roll the dough out. Spread with the remaining Nutella and sprinkle the remaining hazelnuts on top; roll up as indicated in Step 4. Place the second log of dough on the baking sheet, too, and then put the baking sheet in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm up the dough.
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
7. Working with one log of dough at a time, place on a cutting board and slice into 3/4-inch thick slices (or as close as you can get) with a serrated knife. Lay the palmiers flat side down on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, with ample room between palmiers since they will expand. You will need multiple baking sheets, or will need to bake in batches.
8. Bake for 30 minutes or so, until the palmiers are golden. (Keep an eye on them; baking time will depend on the thickness of the palmiers.)
9. Let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple of minutes, then remove to a rack to cool completely.
* Can add up to 1/2 c. more Nutella ( 1/4 c. on each sheet) for sweeter but slightly messier palmiers.