A sweet finish

On Simhat Torah, enjoy some delicious and easy cookie recipes that will please your family without chaining you to the kitchen.

Cinnamon palmiers  (photo credit: Amy Spiro )
Cinnamon palmiers
(photo credit: Amy Spiro )
Palmiers, also known as elephant ears (due to their shape, obviously) are perfect for Simhat Torah, a holiday that has few traditional foods, though some people have the practice of eating foods that are rolled up – to symbolize the shape of the Torah scroll.
Plus they are the ultimate quick cookie that has all of three ingredients.
If you want to make things extra festive, you can use colored sugar (which you can buy, or make your own with sugar and food coloring, about 1 cup sugar to 2 drops color), to add a bit more punch to their appearance.
Next up is a recipe for deceptively simple peanut butter and chocolate cookies, which are both delicious and gluten free.
The first time I made them I had doubts how they would turn out without much more than an egg holding them together. But they came out perfectly and disappeared in about 10 minutes flat. Instead of chocolate in the center you could also try a little strawberry jam, in a twist on the classic sandwich.
Of course, you can make them even more easily and quickly by simply rolling them into balls and baking as plain peanut butter cookies, no indenting or filling required.
Cinnamon palmiers
1 box frozen puff pastry Sugar Cinnamon (optional)
Thaw the pastry according to the package directions. Roll out the dough so it is slightly thinner and larger in surface area.
Sprinkle the entire surface of the dough liberally with sugar, until entirely covered, and then sparingly sprinkle cinnamon on top.
Roll the long ends of the rectangle toward each other until they meet in the middle, forming the traditional palmier (or elephant ear) shape.
Press the shape together so it holds and does not unravel.
Refrigerate the dough log for 20 to 30 minutes.
Slice off cookies with a sharp serrated knife that are about 1 cm. wide. Place the cookies on a parchment paper- lined cookie sheet (you may have to roll them a bit tighter after cutting).
Sprinkle with additional sugar on top.
Bake the cookies in a 200º oven for 10 minutes, then flip them over, and bake for another 10 minutes, or until crispy. Take them out when the centers of the cookies appear cooked through.
Chocolate peanut butter thumbprint cookies Makes about 30 cookies
1 cup peanut butter (I use creamy, but I think chunky would work just fine) 1 scant cup sugar 1 egg ½ tsp. salt 1 tsp. baking soda
About ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Beat together the peanut butter, sugar, egg and salt, and smooth.
Chill the dough in the fridge for about 20 minutes so it’s easier to handle.
Roll the dough into tablespoon- sized balls and place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, at least 2.5 cm. apart.
Bake at 175º for 8 to 10 minutes.
Immediately after they come out the oven make indentations in the center of each cookie (I use a tablespoon measure spoon) and drop three or four chocolate chips in the center. Wait five minutes for the chocolate to melt (if you don’t get them in there fast enough after taking the cookies out of the oven, you can stick the tray back in the oven for a minute to help the melting), and use a toothpick to swirl it to make a smooth surface. Cool to room temperature (or stick in the fridge to help the chocolate set if your kitchen is very warm like mine).