What is an elephant ear as you know it?  For me, it was a giant piece of fried dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar enjoyed at the county fair as a kid.  Recently I happened upon this recipe for so-called elephant ear cookies and they looked so amazing, I knew then and there that I had to make them.  However upon reading further, I didn’t see that much resemblance to the elephant ears that I know and love.  In this version, puff pastry is covered with a ground nut-cinnamon-sugar mixture, the whole thing is rolled up into a spiral, and the log is sliced.  Each slice is further rolled out in additional cinnamon sugar and then baked.  Maybe not much like my definition of an elephant ear, but clearly a dessert worth trying no matter the name.

These cookies are fun to make, make your house smell heavenly while baking, and as you might imagine from the description, they taste pretty fab too.  Because of the nature of puff pastry, these are really best enjoyed when freshly made, but since they are a slice (roll) and bake cookie, you can bake just as many as you need at a time.  A lovely cookie to bake up at a moment’s notice!


  • 1 cup pecan halves, toasted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • Flour, for dusting work surface
  • 1 lb. puff pastry (or 1 17.3-oz. package), thawed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten


  • 01

    Combine the pecans, sugars, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until the mixture is very finely chopped and resembles coarse sand.

  • 02

    On lightly floured parchment paper, roll the puff pastry out into an 11 x 20-inch rectangle (or close – doesn’t need to be exact).*  Transfer the rolled out pastry on the parchment to a baking sheet, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.

  • 03

    Remove the dough from the fridge.  Brush the dough evenly with the beaten egg.  Sprinkle the pecan-sugar mixture evenly over the top, pressing gently into the dough.  Starting with the short side of the dough, roll up into a spiraled log to enclose the filling (basically the same as the technique in this post).  Roll the log tightly in parchment or plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.

  • 04

    Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the dough into slices about ¾-inch thick.  Generously sprinkle a work surface with sugar (or cinnamon sugar – your call).  Use a rolling pin to roll each slice to a diameter of about 6 or 7 inches, adding more sugar as needed to prevent sticking.  Place the rolled cookies on parchment lined baking sheets, 3-4 per sheet.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  • 05

    Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cookies are light golden, about 18 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheets slightly.  Carefully transfer to a wire rack and let cool before serving.

  • 06

    *If using sheets of pre-made puff pastry, press two sheets together and pinch at the seam.  Then roll out as directed.


  • Lori @ forkfuloffreedom.com

    Any time my husband and I are around “fair food”, he always says the same thing, “Have you ever had Elephant Ears? They’re the best.” Needless to say, I think these will be happening in the very near future! :)

  • Alexa

    These look amazing! How do you get them so perfectly round? Whenever I do icebox cookies, I end up with a flat edge from slicing…

  • deborahpucci

    Loved buying elephant ears at the bakery! Thank you, these look yummy.

  • Caroline L.

    A very pretty cookie… definitely something to display as well as eat!

  • Every recipe you have I want. Seriously. These look divine!

  • Lexy

    Happy to “Pinterest” this for you. Well, actually for me because I can’t wait to come back and make these cookies. I LOVE Elephant Ears. Thanks for sharing.

  • annieseats

    This dough stayed pretty nicely round for me…it may just be the nature of the puff pastry (as opposed to a log of shortbread or something). Also, since you roll the cookies out after slicing, you could certainly adjust the shape as you roll to get a nice circle.

  • Val

    If you keep getting a flat edge when slicing, you might want to try using thread/fishing line/dental floss instead! Perfect cuts every time, quick and easy.

  • Nikki

    I love this, Annie! Elephant Ears, to me, are the same as you described them when I grew up with them in Michigan. For some reason, none of my friends in the other four states I’ve lived in (TN, IL, CA and MS) know what they are!

    As for the cookies, even if they don’t resemble the elephant ears we loved as kids, I’m guessing these are much more palatable to us as adults. :) They’re beautiful!

  • Liz

    On your comment about using pre-made puff pastry – do you stack them on top of each other and roll out or set them side by side and join them together when rolling them out?

  • lemonsugar

    These are fantastic! My grandma used to make a cookie just like these, but I’m not sure what we called them. In fact, I’d forgotten all about them until now. Can’t wait to try them. :)

  • These look fantastic!! :D

  • Kenny

    I always thought elephant ears were the double spiral puff pastry “cookies” aka a palmier.

  • kelly

    lol, I JUST had this conversation with my husband about what an elephant ear was. (we grew up in different parts of the USA) Anyhooo, totally pinning this recipe. My friend and I have tried many of your recipes to the point that we know if it’s an “annie’s eats” recipe it HAS TO BE GOOD!!!

  • annieseats

    They are meant to be laid side by side and have the seams pressed together to create one larger sheet. Hope that helps!

  • amanda

    I just made these. fabulous and relatively easy. I didn’t make my own puff pastry which made it easy. making these again and again.

  • La Noe

    yummy! they look (and i bet they taste) delicious! :)

  • Ann P.

    Ooh, beautiful, Annie! I’ve never had elephant ears before, but I’ve made these cookies! Except they were called pinwheels. But whatever you name them, they sure are delicious )

  • Abigail T. Rom

    There was a similar recipe in a children’s A to Z cook book my grandmother had, that we’d bake from together. Elephant Ear cookies were obviously the “E” recipe. :) A connoisseur of the fried dough variety, even as a 6, 7, or 8 year old, I was so disappointed when we first made these! Funny to see them on your blog now 20+ years later.