This Elephant Ears Recipe is a vintage street food dessert. Named for their shape, these light and airy fried pastries are coated with cinnamon and sugar making them impossible to resist!
Elephant Ears Recipe
Just in case you're wondering, elephant ears were actually named for their shape. They're common street fare made famous at state fairs, sold by food trucks and street vendors. They're a vintage goodie that just never gets old. I can remember eating them as a girl and the whimsical name was only a bonus.
Helpful Tips for Making Elephant Ears
I've seen some recipes for elephant ears that use puff pastry for a shortcut. However, this recipe is the classic way to make them from scratch. A few tips for your elephant ears making success:
- Please note, you'll need two ¼ ounce each packets of yeast for this recipe.
- Depending on the size of the dough rounds, you could yield anywhere from 8-12 elephant ears with this recipe.
- That said, you can divide the dough according to how many you want to make. If you're treating a larger group, make them smaller and stretch the servings to accommodate.
- It's important to dust the pastries with cinnamon sugar immediately after removing from the oil so it will adhere to the surface.
- If you're working alone and get a bit behind in the process, you can brush on both sides lightly with melted butter to get cinnamon and sugar to adhere.
- These types of pastries are best made and eaten while warm.
Elephant Ears and More Dessert Recipes to Add to the Menu
- Make your own warm Glazed Yeast Doughnuts at home.
- Bakery style homemade Chocolate Eclairs filled with homemade pastry cream.
- The always delicious Funnel Cakes with your favorite toppings. You may need a fork for this one.
- For breakfast, brunch or dessert easy Glazed Apple Turnovers.
- New Orleans Style Beignets dusted with copious amounts of powdered sugar. Granted, this one will need a plate.
- You may also enjoy this recipe for Italian donuts called Zeppole from Natasha's Kitchen.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
- 1 ½ cup whole milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 8 Tbsp granulated sugar divided
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 (¼ oz each) packets rapid rise yeast
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 quart vegetable or peanut oil for frying
- To make dough: In a small saucepan, combine milk, salt, butter and 2 tablespoons of sugar on medium heat. Heat while stirring until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, Let cool until warm, about 110°F. Sprinkle yeast on top and let sit for 10 minutes until mixture is foamy and yeast has bloomed.
- Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add vanilla. Mix on low gradually adding the flour until a dough forms. Once all is added, increase the speed and knead for 5 minutes, or until smooth and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (Alternately, knead by hand on a lightly floured non-stick surface.)
- Cover bowl with a damp cloth and let rise 45-60 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Combine cinnamon and reserved 6 Tbsp of sugar, set aside.
- To fry: In a large pot or 12 inch deep skillet, heat 2-3 inches of oil to 360-365°F. Keep roughly in this range.
- Pinch balls of dough about the size of an egg. Roll out into thin sheets. Drop into oil and fry for 1-2 minutes per side or just until puffed and golden. (It may take less time depending on the oil temp and thickness)
- Drain on paper towels and immediately sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Serve and enjoy. (May brush with melted butter if desired, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.)