I recently bought a bunch of cheap plastic molds from an Etsy vendor. One of the molds I bought was advertised as looking like this. (See picture, left.) It looks to be a hand painted soap or wax mold that was dusted with either real granulated sugar or glitter to simulate this sweet topping. The vendor simply described this as a “bun.” I went to the baking reddit for assistance in identifying this product. A helpful person told me that it’s a palmier.
After googling this, I found that a palmier is very similar to a croissant. Both products are made with puff pastry. Whereas a croissant also includes yeast, a palmier does not. As with a croissant, the crispy goodness of this product comes from the layers of butter and dough. Steam from the butter causes the dough to rise and the butter imparts a rich flavor to this flaky pastry.
Since I didn’t know what these were at the time I made my first candle, I gave the candle a cinnamon-apple fragrance. As luck would have it, there is such a thing as an apple palmier. This product is made by adding apple butter to some of the puff pastry layers.
The first wax mold came out looking like the picture, below left. Even without knowing that this was a palmier, this didn’t look right to me. I know from having made real Danishes and croissants that all of the thin edges should have looked crispy with golden brown edges. I broke out my acrylic paints and the result may be seen in the picture, below right. To simulate a golden brown crispy perfection, I mixed yellow paint with brown and orange. After painting this product, I made it shiny by spraying it with gloss enamel.
I subsequently made four more palmier molds to stack on top of the first product. Since the acrylic painted highlights did not completely coat the wax model, I noticed that in handling the candle that the paint was literally peeling off.
After assembling the candle, I painted it again. Instead of using acrylic paint, I used different colors of melted wax. I used a dark brown wax to simulate the apple butter. I also used orange, brown, and yellow that I mixed together to make different shades. After waiting for the wax to cool so that it was in the process of gelling, I literally painted this candle with colored wax. After painting this candle I dusted it with corn starch to simulate powdered sugar.
The use of colored wax gave this product a deep fried appearance which I really liked.
I liked this candle so much that I purchased the entire remaining inventory of these molds from the vendor. Sadly this only gave me one additional mold. Since the vendor is sold out, I have not provided a link to this Etsy store.
By way of comparison, here is a picture of some real (edible) palmiers. This particular image pictures a typical palmier without the apple butter filling. You can see that the coloring is very similar. If anything, the outer edges of the real palmiers was a bit darker than my candles. The centers were also lighter.
Since I’m still in the production design phase of my candle production, I’ve noted these changes to incorporate with future palmier candles.