Arnold Palmiers, A Tee Time Treat

I don’t understand Arnold Palmers. I know what they are, of course. I just have no idea as to why they’re so popular.

The idea of taking two distinct beverages and throwing them into the same glass has not always been met with the same success as the Arnold Palmer, which every third person seems to order at my restaurant during lunch service. If I remember correctly, the higher-ups at ABC television did their best to sell the concept of Milk and Pepsi to 1970’s America via Laverne Defazio. The fact that this drink did not become a trend remains high on my gratitude list every Thanksgiving.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Arnold Palmer, it is a blended, non-alcoholic beverage: half iced tea, half lemonade. For those of you unfamiliar with the Arnold Palmer, he is an 82 year-old male who is famous for manipulating a small, dimpled ball into a hole in the ground using a variety of sticks: half man, half golfing legend.

Whether or not Arnold Palmer actually drinks himself is unknown to me*. I would imagine a glass of the stuff has touched his lips from time to time, at least for publicity’s sake but, if he’s anything like me, he would wonder what in god’s name is so appealing about taking freshly brewed iced tea, mixing it with recently squeezed lemonade, and having it taste like something as artificial and commercially sponsored as a Nestea Plunge?

I just don’t get it.

But I am trying because a) I am a fan of both iced tea and lemonade, b) I often take hot tea with lemon, and c) it’s just something I need to get over because there are so many other irritations worthy of my time.

So, in an effort to warm up to the idea of the Arnold Palmer, I’ve decided to turn it into a cookie because, as one of my mentors is known to say, “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

Or ten, in this particular case.

The Arnold Palmier

There are other Arnold Palmer-inspired cookies out there but, to my shock, no one seems to have thought to make Arnold Palmiers. Or, at the very least, no one seems to have thought to make them and have any evidence make itself known to Google**.

They just seemed ripe for the making.

Their flavor is as subtle as a golf clap, which is intentional. To make them as bold as a pair of golf pants would be too much for one’s mouth to bear.

Makes 16 to 18 cookies, depending on how good one is at measurements.


• One sheet of puff pastry, thawed. Or, if you are using frozen Dufour’s puff pastry like I do, one half of the sheet.
• 10 teaspoons of sugar
• 2 teaspoons of Earl Grey tea, ground as fine as black pepper cracked through a pepper mill.
• 2 teaspoons of finely chopped lemon zest. I prefer Eureka to Meyer in this case.


1. Pre-heat your oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with either a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and set aside.

2. Combine sugar and tea together, set aside. (Combine them days ahead of time, if you happen to be a good planner. This will give the tea time infuse its scent into the sugar, like a great aunt’s perfume might permeate the clothing of a small child who has been excessively hugged.)

3. When the puff pastry is thawed enough to unfold without tearing, do so onto a clean work surface which has been littered with a generous scattering of plain sugar (NOT with the tea-sugar mixture). The sheet used in this recipe measures approximately 10″ by 10″. It is meant merely as a guideline. Other lengths and widths will work just fine as long as the dough is wide enough to be folded to a quarter of its original width.

4. Cover the top side of the dough with a generous sprinkling of the tea sugar. Disseminate the lemon zest over the surface, then add a little more tea sugar, if you wish. Gently glide a rolling-pin over the surface to press in the sugar and zest.

5. Fold the bottom edge of your dough up to the center. Fold the top edge down to the center, so that the two edges meet in the middle. Sprinkle the surface with more tea sugar and again glide a rolling-pin over the top with all the force of an aged, asthmatic moth.

6. For the final fold, bring the bottom edge up so that it rests directly and evenly on the top edge (read: fold exactly in half.)

7. Sprinkle more tea sugar on top, do the whole gentle rolling-pin thing one last time. If the dough has become too warm at this point (read: if it feels as droopy as a retired wet nurse’s bosom) place the folded dough onto a tray and pop it into the freezer until it is once again pert.

8. Slice the dough into 1/2″ thick pieces. Wet your index finger, taking one cookie at a time, rub your moistened finger along the top and bottom of said cookie, dip each side into the tea sugar, then place on the same tray you used when you put the dough in the freezer. Repeat until all cookies have been fingered and sugared. Return your almost-ready-for-baking cookies to the freezer to chill for about 15 minutes.

9. Transfer the cookies to your lined baking sheet and place sheet onto the center rack of your oven. Bake for about 18-20 minutes (turning the sheet once in the middle of baking) or until browned. You will know when your Arnold Palmiers are ready because you will see that each one will have a small pool of caramelized sugar bubbling up from its bottom. At this point, remove from the oven, let cool for a couple of minutes, then transfer with a spatula to a cooling rack.

10. Serve with tea, or milk, or tea with milk, or tea with sugar, or tea with milk and sugar, etc. Hell, dip them in vodka for all I care. If you serve them with Arnold Palmers, however, the poor cookies will be overwhelmed. Whatever you do, don’t serve them with coffee, because that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. Besides, I just tried that.

The truth is, I really don’t give a damn how you serve them, as long as you do it the same day as they’re baked. They’re marvelous in their heyday, but a little sad to think about when they have passed their prime. Much like some golfers I know. Except Mr. Palmer, I mean.

*An Arnold Palmer with a generous amount of vodka added to it is called a John Daly. This means that John Daly could quite literally drink himself to death, which would not be funny at all, given the fact that he is a recovering alcoholic.

**Well, there wasn’t one when I checked a week ago. I have since found another “Arnold Palmier”. No recipe, but it is savory, using lemon thyme and cheddar cheese. How this makes it Arnold Palmer-y remains uncertain to this author. However, they do sound delicious. The link remains elusive, but I will add it as soon as I can find it again.

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About Michael Procopio

I write about food and am very fond of Edward Gorey. And gin.
This entry was posted in Celebrities, Sweets and the Like and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to Arnold Palmiers, A Tee Time Treat

  1. EllenFitz says:

    I’m not sure which cracked me up more: “… with all the force of an aged, asthmatic moth” or “Whatever you do, don’t serve them with coffee, because that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of. Besides, I just tried that.” Thanks for making me laugh. Again.

    • Well, I had the coffee right next to me, so it really wasn’t my fault. I do my best to suffer so that my readers don’t have to. Unless, of course, they consider reading me suffering, which some people do.

  2. Jay Floyd says:

    The only site on the inner webs that makes me wish I cooked.

  3. Kitten says:

    I must have these. Chances are, I will eat them with coffee, because you told me not to and I am contrary like that.

  4. Cheryl says:

    I like the part about the small, dimpled ball.

    And I want to have tee with you.

  5. Fatemeh says:

    Somewhere, a retired wet nurse is weeping.

  6. Milk and pepsi – Laverne and Shirley – good to know I’m not the only around here old enough to remember that! (I turned 31 in hex yesterday). Funny – I am an avid golfer when my shoulder allows me to be and the only time I drink Arnold Palmers is after golf and I am afraid to admit – I like them! Though the first time I ordered it I was a little disappointed to find out that there was no alcohol in it. Fun post Michael!

  7. Alanna says:

    Um, awesome!! I think you are too clever for my own good. These look amazing.

    Buttered Up Brooklyn just posted a recipe for a sparkling Arnold Palmer-esque cocktail made with gin: Who d’ya should they be named after?

    • Being “clever” has gotten me into all sorts of trouble my whole life. Fortunately, it has also gotten me out of a lot of trouble my whole life.

      I would like to have called this drink you mention “The 19th Hole”, but I fear the name is already taken (It sounds suspiciously like a John Daly to me). With the addition of gin, I might suggest either “Bye bye, Birdie” or, something very graphic about losing one’s virtue on the fairway.

  8. sippitysup says:

    Arnold Palmer. I agree the concept seems a waste of perfectly good tea and lemonade. But honestly there is some alchemy involved and I think that the magic of the thing. It’s unknowable. Like a martini. GREG

    • In writing this piece, I had considered mixing other, favorite drinks into one glass. Like a Manhattan and a martini. I consider them two great tastes that do not taste great together. However, I do like its unavoidable name: The Mantini.

  9. Linda says:

    I’ll have to make these if only to determine which is better: your delightful writing or a nice afternoon sweet…either way, it sure beats playing – or watching – golf!

    • Oh, you are a very kind woman. Thank you. I’d never much been a fan of golf. My set of junior golf clubs turned to rust in the garage. However, now that I am older, I understand what lured my father and aunt and uncle onto the courses: 1) the scenery, 2) the company, and 3) the booze.

  10. Nikki says:

    It’s just something I need to get over because there are so many other irritations worthy of my time.

    Words I need to take to heart!

  11. Penandra says:

    “…if it feels as droopy as a retired wet nurse’s bosom) place the folded dough onto a tray and pop it into the freezer until it is once again pert.”

    … ah, if that’s all it took to pert up a retired bosom!

    and then there was this:

    “Wet your index finger, taking one cookie at a time, rub your moistened finger along the top and bottom of said cookie, dip each side into the tea sugar, then place on the same tray you used when you put the dough in the freezer. Repeat until all cookies have been fingered and sugared.”

    I think perhaps restraint of pen and keyboard might be my wisest move here, but I did want to let you know that I had to reread this paragraph after I cleaned off my monitor. It might have the “fingered and sugared” or it might have been the” wetting the index finger.”

    Thank you for another delightful (absolutely delightful) post.

    I happen to enjoy Arnold Palmers (but only in the summer months) and as I read your blog I could not figure out exactly why — I may have to take the afternoon off and retire to the closest golf course (just up the road as it happens) and remind myself.

    Not being a fan of Earl Grey (horrors! — I think it’s the bergamot) but being a self-labeled tea snob, I would probably use another fruit fragrant tea (perhaps lychee black) for these.

    In rereading this comment I realize that I have left just kinds of openings for . . . . . well, perhaps I should just leave well enough alone.


    • Oh, Penandra. I am so grateful when people read (and appreciate) my recipe instructions. I write them the way I do for three reasons: 1) I entertain myself, 2) I want to make certain people are paying attention, and 3) so that no one can lift my recipes verbatim without it being glaringly obvious.

      As for the Earl Grey tea in the recipe. If could certainly be substituted, I would imagine. However, it is a subtle flavoring agent– one really has to be paying attention to notice it. Just make sure the tea you use is a fragrant one, whatever fragrance that might be.

      Much cheerfulness to you and at you,


  12. Susan says:

    I pay attention and salute you for your wonderful posts. Earl Grey tea with lemon – what an absolutely wonderful combination!

    I think that people order Arnold Palmers because they really, really want an alcoholic drink but don’t want to be the only one at a business lunch (for example) to order alcohol so an Arnold Palmer is the sad replacement. Other than that reason, I agree with you – I just don’t understand an Arnold Palmer.

  13. RV Goddess says:

    In my travels, I have been to Mr. Palmer’s restaurant in the Palm Springs area and have had an Arnold Palmer – after a round of golf. However, the best AP I enjoyed was in Charleston, where they use locally-produced Sweet Tea Vodka in lemonade.

    • Arnold Palmer owns a restaurant? Oh, yes, he does. I just looked it up. I am fascinated by the fact that they choose to serve five to six pieces of creamy-looking penne in adorable little pyrex dishes.


      P.S. Lovely to meet you this weekend.

  14. David Wang says:

    Know what I don’t understand? How you could vamp more than Mitzi del Bra at BlogHer Food! So rude. Still, it looks like you’ve got a “great” way with words, too bad you weren’t picked as a speaker, LOL!

    Seriously, we didn’t come to see you. Wish you could have said goodbye to the yellow brick road for about two hours and saved the daddy games for after the conference. 😉

    • David,

      Thank you so much for reminding me about Mitzi Del Bra. I now know what I will be watching this weekend.

      And thanks, too, for reminding me that Father’s Day is next weekend.

      I am deeply in your debt,


  15. David Wang says:

    Knew you didn’t have the nerve to post my comment. Are you usually like that with guys or are you just more confident in a room full of housewives? 😉

    • David,

      Approving blog comments is an activity generally frowned upon by the FAA during commercial airline flights. Responding to blog comments is an activity generally postponed until one is rested and sober.


      P.S. Were you at the conference?

    • Jay Floyd says:

      Michael —

      As a dedicated reader of your blog, I want to encourage that you not post foolish comments like Mr. Wang’s. Posting confrontational comments is not an act of courage, so please don’t let idiots like David Wang shame you into thinking otherwise. He’s not offering constructive criticism, he’s only trying to be confrontational.

      He’s what I think of as Mole People.

  16. Tana Butler says:

    Who on earth refers to the talented women who attend BlogHer as “housewives”?

    All I can think is a sexist Republican. But that would be redundant, Mr. Wang.

    (Or maybe you’ve just been watching too many episodes of “Mad Men.” Whichever, how pathetic.)

  17. Thrasso says:

    Uhm, clearly this person is coming on to you. It’s the only way I can explain the hair pulling followed by emoticons. (I won’t go further into emoticons here because I don’t want to upset the truly good-natured.)

    More importantly—What? Daddy games? Is this like reindeer games? Perhaps in that they both require a harness?

    • I more than likely flirted with half the people at the conference, but that’s simply how I am at those things. I hope I didn’t offend Mr. Wang by not flirting with him.

      Sadly, my harness was still being hand-crafted by the lovely, sightless nuns who normally tend to my underthings. I was not able to bring it to Seattle.


  18. I love this post, your ability to blend big ideas with recipes, and how you can entertain us all–all the way down to the fine print. You are brilliant.

    PS. I love me some Arnold Palmers b/c the lemonade takes the edge off from the tea and makes the whole experience supremely more refreshing. I’ve been known to doctor up my iced tea/lemonades quite a bit with orange juice, mint, and other things…

    • Brooke,

      I think I’m officially outnumbered in terms of this whole Arnold Palmer business. You are the second person today who has mentioned adding mint. That might very well transform the beverage into something I’d enjoy.

      And you are always an angel to me when it comes to cheering me on. Thank you.


  19. Heather Walker says:

    Oh my — all of that moist rubbing, fingering and sugaring? I feel like I might need to take a moment and maybe have a cigarette. I’m deeply delighted that Cheryl Rule led me to your blog!

  20. Susan says:

    Wang should stop thinking with his wick.
    Or maybe that’s the problem.

  21. Kalyan says:

    looks so easy to prepare and delicious…mouthwatering!

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