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!

  • Yield about 12 cookies


  • 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.