Elephant Ears Recipe from Zambia: Delicious and Easy to Make

Elephant Ears

Elephant Ears Recipe from Zambia: Delicious and Easy to Make
Region / culture: Zambia | Preparation time: 15 minutes | Cooking time: 10 minutes | Servings: 4


Elephant Ears
Elephant Ears

Elephant Ears are a delicious and indulgent treat that are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. These crispy, flaky pastries are coated in a cinnamon sugar mixture that adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Whether you enjoy them as a dessert or a snack, Elephant Ears are sure to be a hit with your family and friends.


The origins of Elephant Ears can be traced back to the carnival and fair food scene. These tasty treats are a popular choice among fair-goers looking for a sweet and satisfying snack. The name "Elephant Ears" comes from the shape of the pastry, which resembles the large ears of an elephant. While traditionally made with a yeast dough, this recipe offers a quick and easy alternative that doesn't sacrifice on flavor.


How to prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C).
  2. Grease a cookie sheet with shortening.
  3. Heat the butter until melted; set it aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, 2 tbsp of sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Stir in the milk and 3 tbsp of the melted butter until a dough forms.
  6. Sprinkle a lightly floured surface and transfer the dough onto it.
  7. Knead the dough 10 times.
  8. Using a rolling pin or your hands, roll or pat the dough into a 9"x5" rectangle.
  9. Brush the dough with the remaining melted butter using a pastry brush.
  10. Sprinkle the dough with a mixture of 3 tbsp of sugar and cinnamon.
  11. Starting from the narrow end, tightly roll the dough.
  12. Pinch the edge of the dough to seal the roll.
  13. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 4 equal pieces.
  14. Place the cut sides up on the greased cookie sheet and pat each piece into a 6" circle.
  15. Sprinkle the dough with more sugar.
  16. Bake until golden brown, approximately 8 to 10 minutes.
  17. Immediately remove the cookies from the cookie sheet using a spatula.
  18. Allow the cookies to cool on a wire rack.


  • Add a sprinkle of chopped nuts or chocolate chips before rolling the dough for added texture and flavor.
  • Drizzle with caramel or chocolate sauce for an extra indulgent treat.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

Make sure to knead the dough well to ensure a light and flaky texture.

- Brushing the dough with melted butter before baking helps to create a golden brown crust.

- Be sure to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the dough for a deliciously sweet finish.

- Keep an eye on the cookies while baking to prevent them from burning.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Elephant Ears warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a decadent dessert.

Cooking Techniques

Kneading the dough well is key to achieving a light and flaky texture.

- Rolling the dough into a tight spiral helps to create the signature shape of Elephant Ears.

Ingredient Substitutions

You can use any brand of beer in place of 'Gold Medal' brand.

- Margarine can be used in place of butter for a dairy-free option.

Make Ahead Tips

The dough for Elephant Ears can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.

Presentation Ideas

Serve Elephant Ears on a platter dusted with powdered sugar for a beautiful presentation.

Pairing Recommendations

Enjoy Elephant Ears with a hot cup of coffee or tea for a delightful snack.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Store any leftover Elephant Ears in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. To reheat, place in a 350°F (177°C) oven for 5 minutes until warm.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

Each serving of Elephant Ears contains approximately 220 calories.


Each serving of Elephant Ears contains approximately 30g of carbohydrates.


Each serving of Elephant Ears contains approximately 10g of fats.


Each serving of Elephant Ears contains approximately 2g of proteins.

Vitamins and minerals

Elephant Ears are not a significant source of vitamins and minerals.


This recipe contains dairy and gluten.


Elephant Ears are a delicious treat that are high in carbohydrates and fats. They are best enjoyed in moderation as an occasional indulgence.


Elephant Ears are a delicious and indulgent treat that are perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth. With a crispy, flaky texture and a sweet cinnamon sugar coating, these pastries are sure to be a hit with your family and friends. Enjoy them as a dessert or a snack for a tasty treat that everyone will love.

How did I get this recipe?

I can still remember the exact moment I stumbled upon this recipe for Elephant Ears. It was a warm summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Martha at her cozy little cottage by the lake. Martha was known for her delicious baked goods, and I always looked forward to trying out her latest creations.

As we sat in her sunlit kitchen sipping on tea and catching up, Martha suddenly got up from her chair and disappeared into her pantry. Curious, I followed her and found her rummaging through a stack of old recipe cards. With a triumphant smile, she pulled out a weathered piece of paper and handed it to me.

"Have you ever tried making Elephant Ears before, dear?" she asked, her eyes twinkling with excitement.

I shook my head, intrigued by the name of the dessert. "No, I haven't. What are they?"

Martha chuckled and explained that Elephant Ears were sweet pastries made of flaky dough, sugar, and cinnamon. They were called Elephant Ears because of their large, flat shape that resembled the ears of an elephant. She told me that the recipe had been passed down in her family for generations and was a favorite at family gatherings and special occasions.

Eager to learn how to make this unique dessert, I asked Martha if she would show me the recipe. With a smile, she agreed and we spent the rest of the afternoon in her cozy kitchen, mixing, rolling, and baking the dough until it turned into golden, crispy Elephant Ears.

As we sat down to enjoy the warm pastries with a cup of tea, I couldn't help but marvel at the simplicity and deliciousness of the recipe. The combination of buttery dough, sweet sugar, and spicy cinnamon was like a symphony of flavors in my mouth. I knew that I had to add this recipe to my collection of family favorites.

Over the years, I made Elephant Ears countless times for my own family and friends. Each time I baked them, the memories of that sunny afternoon with Martha would come flooding back. The recipe became a staple in my kitchen, a symbol of friendship and the joy of sharing delicious food with loved ones.

As I shared the recipe with others, I discovered that everyone had their own twist on how to make Elephant Ears. Some added a touch of vanilla extract to the dough, while others sprinkled the pastries with powdered sugar before serving. I learned to adapt the recipe to my own taste, experimenting with different flavors and techniques until I found the perfect balance of sweetness and crunch.

Years passed, and Martha's cottage by the lake became a distant memory. But the recipe for Elephant Ears remained a cherished part of my culinary repertoire. Whenever I made the pastries, I would think of Martha and the special bond we shared over a love for baking and delicious food.

Now, as I sit in my own kitchen, surrounded by the comforting aroma of fresh-baked pastries, I can't help but smile at the thought of passing down the recipe for Elephant Ears to the next generation. I know that one day, my grandchildren will gather in this kitchen, eager to learn the secret to making these delightful treats.

And as I watch them roll out the dough, sprinkle on the sugar, and eagerly wait for the pastries to bake to golden perfection, I know that the tradition of Elephant Ears will live on, just like the memories of that warm summer day with Martha by the lake.


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