Grandma’s Vienna Sugar Cookies (small batch)

While flipping through a very old community cookbook that I inherited from my grandmother, I noticed a recipe for a cookie that was unfamiliar to me. I had never put yeast in a cookie, so I was interested to try them.

Not wanting to commit to a large batch of unfamiliar cookies, I reduced the recipe to yield a dozen. The resulting cookies were thin, crispy, and buttery with a sweet sugary coating.

Vienna Sugar Cookies

I served the cookies to a few friends who noted they tasted a lot like “elephant ears”. If you are unfamiliar with elephant ears, they are a form a sweet, fried flat bread usually topped with sugar and cinnamon sold at every fair or carnival in the United States.

These cookies are also great for a tight budget. As the cost analysis shows, the cookies cost approximately $0.05 a piece. I used a name brand butter, so you could further reduce the cost with a generic butter.

Cost Analysis:

The cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Notes about the recipe:

The dough is very soft and sticky. I originally tried rolling the cookies with a rolling pin, but found pressing the dough with a flat-bottomed cup or mug resulted in more uniform cookies.

Next time I make these cookies, I may experiment with adding some cinnamon to the sugar coating.

The cookies bake quickly and brown around the edges. Watch carefully after the 10 minute mark.

Picture Tutorial:


Vienna Sugar Cookies (Small Batch)

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Thin, crisp, and buttery with a sweet sugary coating, these cookies are an indulgent compliment to a good cup of coffee or tea.


  • 3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread granulated sugar on a smooth surface (like wax paper) and set aside.
  2. Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Cream butter and granulated sugar together in a separate medium mixing bowl.
  4. Beat flour into the butter mixture.
  5. Add yeast and water mixture to the sugar and flour mixture, and beat until combined.
  6. Form dough into walnut sized balls (the dough should make about a dozen balls).
  7. Press dough ball down in the sugar mixture until flat. Flip and coat the other side. Continue flipping until you have a very thin cookie. Continue this process with the remaining dough balls.
  8. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven when the cookies are lightly browned and crispy.
  9. Allow to cool for a minute on the baking sheet and move to cooling racks.
  10. Enjoy!