Butter Horns

A few years after my husband’s mother passed away, my father-in-law was visiting, chatting with me in the kitchen while I baked. He described a cookie that his wife used to make. It was flaky like a pastry; it was rolled and cut, he thought, and “pointy,” and had spices and raisins. He wasn’t sure of its name, and he had no idea of the recipe, but I was struck by his vivid recollection of how good these cookies were. That night we asked my husband about them, and he too immediately recalled how delicious they were and how he loved it when his mother made them.

The wistful looks on their faces as my husband and father-in-law discussed these long-forgotten cookies sent me searching. I described the cookies to my husband’s sister, who had kept all of her mother’s recipe files, and she sent me a yellow clipping from one of the New York dailies with a recipe for “Butter Horns.”

Although she never served them to me, I remember my lovely mother-in-law whenever I bake these, and gladly pass up any credit when my children, all born after their grandmother’s passing, remark with pride, “Daddy’s mom was sure a good cook!” – Mary Cembrola, Grafton, Massachusetts


1 cup butter, chilled
2 cups unsifted flour
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup raisins
1 egg white, beaten


Cut butter into flour finely; blend in egg yolk and sour cream. Knead dough enough to shape into a ball. Wrap in wax paper; chill 2 hours or until quite firm. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut dough into three equal parts. On a well-floured pastry cloth or wax paper, roll each section of dough into a circle about ⅛ inch thick. Use extra flour liberally to keep dough and rolling pin from sticking. Blend together sugar, cinnamon, nuts, and raisins, and sprinkle one-third of this mixture over each circle. Cut each circle into 12 wedges with a sharp knife. Roll out the wedges, starting from the wide end and rolling to the narrow end to create a crescent shape. Place crescents on ungreased baking sheets and brush tops of crescents with the beaten egg white. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on racks.

Cooking & Recipes


3 dozen butter horns



Mary Cembrola, Grafton, Massachusetts

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