Crisp and delicate yet tender, puff pastry twists are a great addition to any cookie spread. These cookies are typically sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, but for a twist on twists, we switched the spice to fragrant cardamom and added some complementary orange zest. To keep our recipe simple, we used store-bought puff pastry dough, which we sprinkled with a spiced sugar and walnut mixture. To help the nut-spice mixture stick to the dough, we brushed the pastry with a lightly beaten egg before gently pressing the spice mixture into it with a rolling pin. A dusting of granulated sugar underneath the pastry added some sparkle and shine. We cut the puff pastry into even strips using a pizza wheel, which didn’t stick or drag through the dough, and then gently twisted each strip into its requisite shape. A 20-minute stint in the oven was all these distinctive treats needed to brown and caramelize. To thaw frozen puff pastry, let it sit either in the refrigerator for 24 hours or on the counter for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Yield: 48 twists
- ½ cup walnuts
- 6 tablespoons (2⅔ ounces) sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 2 (9½ by 9-inch) sheets puff pastry, thawed
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Process walnuts, ¼ cup sugar, cardamom, and salt in food processor until walnuts are finely ground, about 10 seconds. Add orange zest and pulse until combined, about 5 pulses.
- Sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over counter. Lay 1 sheet of puff pastry on sugar and brush lightly with beaten egg. Sprinkle half of walnut mixture evenly over dough. Gently roll into 10 by 9-inch rectangle. Using pizza cutter, cut dough in half crosswise to create two 9 by 5-inch rectangles, then cut each rectangle crosswise into ¾-inch strips. Twist each strip and space them 2 inches apart on prepared sheets.
- Bake until twists are puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking. Transfer twists to wire rack. Repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, remaining 1 sheet of puff pastry, remaining beaten egg, and remaining walnut mixture. Let twists cool completely before serving.