Ah, cold butter, flour and ice water to bring it all together, just a pinch of salt, and yes that’s the recipe for puff pastry. That most favored, sought after and versatile of dough’s. I’m a big fan of this and when you have the time to sit around waiting for layers to form really it’s mostly sitting around waiting for the dough to rest, I highly suggest making this from scratch. I know, I keep promising to show you how to do this but there are numerous sites out there that have done a great job of it.  One day, I will produce a blog that shows you how easy and very rewarding a process this is.  

I like puff pastry because it is so versatile. I can make something sweet, savory or in between. All you need is an imagination and you can create an hors d ‘oeuvre, appetizer, main or dessert from it. Any of the wellington lines of food – salmon, beef; strudels – vegetable or fruit, tarts, diamond shaped treasures, folded over pockets of goodness – it’s limitless I tell you!

This idea came about as a hors d ‘oeuvres and because it contains date paste – a sticky sweet product, I offset it with a bit of cheese and of course, Thai chilies. So, try this. I think it qualifies as Christmas Cookie #6 – well you can definitely serve it at Christmas. Variety is the spice of life so this pushes the boundaries of cookies – unless you like savory cookies, here is a Spicy Date Palmier recipe. As always – enjoy!

1 package PC Puff Pastry, thawed
1 cup date paste – available at most ethnic food stores, or make your own with fresh dates, baking soda and boiling water i.e. sticky toffee pudding recipe
2 Thai chilies, chopped finely
½ cup grated Asiago, parmesan or goat cheese – really any sharp tasting cheese
½ cup sliced almonds or pine nuts
1 tsp Maldon Sea Salt for sprinkling on top of cookie

Preheat the oven to 400f
Soften the date paste (it is very sticky) by microwaving it in 15 second bursts until soft – careful it gets hot fast and will burn if falls on your skin- should probably take 2-3 bursts
Remove from the microwave and add the almonds and chilies to the mix and stir
Unroll one sheet of puff pastry at a time, keep the other one refrigerated until ready to use – I like PC Puff Pastry (from Loblaw’s), it is one of the few packaged puffs that use real butter and not shortening in the recipe – you can taste it. I always have at least 3 packages in my freezer at any given time
Carefully and patiently, spread half the date mixture over the puff pastry – you probably won’t get all the surface covered, it’s okay, as when you roll it up, you will get the date mixture in every bite
Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top
Then use the parchment paper that comes with the puff and roll, jelly roll style, until you get half way through the pastry
Turn the pastry sheet around and roll the other end up to meet in the middle – if necessary, dip your finger in water and gently rub the surface of the rolled piece to wet it – this will allow the rolls to stick to each other and stay together when baked. Yes it is perfectly fine if they don’t stick together and open up into an oddly shaped cookie as they bake – it’s just a cookie people
Wrap in the parchment sheet and freeze for about 10 minutes
Repeat with the other puff sheet – you may need to warm up the mixture again to make it soft
After 10 minutes, remove from the freezer and cut into 1/4” thick slices
Place the parchment paper from the rolled dough onto a cookie sheet and place the cut slices about 1” apart to allow for spreading
Sprinkle with the Maldon Sea Salt and bake for 14 – 17 minutes
Let cool (or not) and enjoy!
You can make these earlier in the day and re-heat before serving – either way, delicious!