My dad bought A LOT of pan dulces growing up and my favorites were orejas and conchas! Orejas, also known as palmeras or palmiers, are much easier to make than you think!
Palmiers are a very common puff pastry made in several countries. I grew up calling them “orejas” which means ears in Spanish. I’ve also heard people call these elephant ears in English.
Today I’m going to show you how to make orejas from scratch, but to save time and make this SUPER easy, you can just use box puff pastry. Other than that, all you need is sugar and cinnamon! It’s really that easy.
If you want to try making these from scratch, puff pastry can seem really intimidating but it’s really only a little time consuming. You most likely already have all the ingredients to make it, and it’s a fun activity for the family on Christmas Eve.
My Mexican-American family celebrates Christmas on both the 24th and the 25th. We get together for dinner on Christmas Eve and stay up until midnight to open one present, then we open the rest on Christmas morning!
So you can prepare the puff pastry the night before, then make them for breakfast on Christmas morning with a hot cup of champurrado to pair.
Ingredients to make puff pastry from scratch
All purpose flour
Ice cold water
Very cold butter- I’m using unsalted butter but you may also use salted butter. You’ll just have to adjust the salt. The butter needs to be very cold! I put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes before mixing it into the flour.
Sugar/cinnamon mix- to sprinkle all over the puff pastry to make the Orejas.
Making puff pastry is not that hard! You want to be able to see all the layers from rolling and folding the dough several times. This is how the flakey layers of puff pastry are made. Detailed instructions in recipe card below.
How to make Orejas
After rolling out your puff pastry, all you need to do is coat both sides in cinnamon-sugar, then fold in the sides 2 or 3 times, then fold in half like the picture above. Cut into 1 inch pieces and thats how you make the oreja shape!
Line up your orejas on a baking sheet with parchment paper, 1-2 inches apart depending on how big you have made them. Flatten them to about half its original thickness (about 1/2 inch) with a spatula, then sprinkle a little more cinnamon sugar on top.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, flip them over, then bake for another 10-12 minutes.
To make puff pastry from scratch: (or you can use 1 box puff pastry)
- 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup very cold unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
- puff pastry
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- Whisk together flour, salt, and sugar. Set aside.
- Cut each stick of very cold butter into 16 cubes.
- Combine the butter with flour mixture by lightly tossing and rubbing the flour into the butter, but do not rub too hard. There should still be big chunks of butter visible in the flour.
- Add a little bit of ice cold water at a time and continue tossing & rubbing the flour into the butter until it turns into a craggy clump of dough. There will still be visible chunks of butter.
- Shape into a rough rectangle and wrap in parchment paper in the fridge for 2 to 24 hours.
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll the dough out ½ inch thick. You will still see visible chunks of butter- that is fine. Fold the sides in like a business letter.
- Flour your work surface as needed, and continue rolling and folding in the dough 5 or 6 times to create flakey layers. By the end, you may still see some chunks of butter but the dough should look smooth for the most part.
- Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using, and up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
- If you want to make mini size orejas, cut the dough in half. For large /regular sized orejas, roll out the dough as is.
- Lightly flour your work surface, then roll the dough out ½ inch thick and as evenly as you can into a rectangular shape. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar all over both sides, saving about 2 tbsp on the side to sprinkle over later.
- Evenly fold the puff pastry inwards 2 times from both sides.
- Then fold it in half.
- Cut the puff pastry into 8 pieces.
- Flatten the orejas using a spatula on a baking sheet with parchment paper, then sprinkle over the remaining cinnamon sugar on top.
- Bake at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 10 minutes, flip the orejas over, then bake for another 10 to 12 minutes.