Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Horns a Plenty!

'Tis the season of no sitting, fa la la la la, la la la la. For a straight jacket I will be fitting, fa la la la la, la la la la!

No, not really, but the madness has begun. The baking madness that is. Long ago, Mama Diva named this the season of no sitting ... and she's right! For me, it generally begins around Thanksgiving and lasts until January 2nd. I have a back ache for much of it and the sound of my kitchen timer haunts me in my dreams.

That being said, I really do love to bake and I especially love making Hungarian Horns. They're the first cookie I make each season and they are simply magnificent. They're tender and flaky, not overly sweet, and altogether adorable. The dough is similar to a pie crust, though not at all as persnickety. Its the most forgiving, easy-to-roll dough imaginable.

Hungarian Horns:

dough:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (do not use low or non-fat)
  • 1 egg yolk
Whisk the sour cream and egg yolk together in a small bowl until well-combined. Reserve.

Combine the flour and chilled butter cubes in the bowl of your food processor and pulse to combine, as if making a pie crust, until the butter cubes have reduced to the size of peas and a sandy texture has formed. (Alternately, you may cut the butter into the flour using a pastry cutter or two forks - but I prefer the food processor.)

Place the butter and flour mixture in a large mixing bowl and to it add the sour cream and egg yolk mixture. Mix well, first with a spoon and then your hands, until the dough begins to come together. It will be soft and a bit sticky, but continue packing it together with your hands to form a ball of dough, working quickly to ensure the ingredients are well-combined. Wrap the ball of dough in plastic and chill in the fridge overnight.

filling:
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • one egg white, lightly beaten
Combine the sugar, nuts and cinnamon in a small bowl, cover and reserve until its time to bake. (The egg white will be used to brush the cookies prior to baking, so reserve it as well.)

To bake the Horns:

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees and remove @ 3 tbsp. of the sugar/nut/cinnamon mixture to a smaller bowl and reserve.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. One at a time, roll each piece of dough out, on a floured surface, into a 12 inch round circle. Spread the dough with 1/3 of the remaining sugar/nut mixture and press the filling lightly into the dough. Using a sharp knife, cut the circle of dough into four equal quarters, then cut each quarter into four equal triangles. (See photo below.) Roll each triangle from the wide end to the point to form the horn and bend it slightly to form a crescent shape. Repeat with the remaining triangles until all the cookies have been formed.

Place the rolled cookies on a large, un-greased cookie sheet, brush each horn with the beaten egg white and top with a sprinkle of the reserved cinnamon sugar and bake at 375 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes or until light golden brown. Repeat the process with the remaining dough.

The horns will puff a bit as they bake, so leave a bit of room between them as you place them on the sheet. This recipe will yield 48 cookies. I hope you'll try them!

As I mentioned, this recipe has been in my family for three generations and it wouldn't be Christmas without them. The finished cookies freeze and defrost beautifully, and they're delightful with a cup of coffee ... or even for breakfast! To freeze, place them between sheets of waxed paper in a tightly sealed plastic container. They will keep for several weeks. Mine are going in the freezer today ... but not before I've sampled the wares.

Here they are! I apologize for the dark pictures ... it was late ... I was tired ... and covered with flour. The madness continues, more on that later in the week. For now, what, if anything, are you baking this week? Curious Diva wants to know.

Bon appetite!

10 comments:

Tracy said...

Yum! What a great, easy to follow recipe... thanks Diva! As far as my baking plans, I have been meaning to make 6-Week Raisin Bran Muffins. They're nothing special but they are a yummy, grab-n-go breakfast.

pixelgal said...

Hope you made many dozens! They look a lot better than mine and are very tasty I'm sure. This is the season of much sitting for me and I'm not sure what's worse too much or none! I guess whatever you don't have looks better but seldom is, much like life in general. Enough philosophy for now...there's work to be done! Keep up the good work, kiddo. Gram would be proud.

The Diva on a Diet said...

You're most welcome, Tracy. What are 6-Week Raisin Bran Muffins? Obviously they're raisin bran muffins ... but what does the 6-Weeks signify?

Pixelgal - this was just the first batch and there will be more. I'm baking for two this year ... me and you! LOL

Colin said...

oh, man, these look good! I'm so happy Cheryl is making them, I'm going to eat a dozen in one sitting. Thanks! Colin

The Diva on a Diet said...

Colin - welcome! And, aren't you sweet?! I'm glad to hear you're excited about the horns, because as I recall one of your little guys is none to fond of nuts ... ah well, more for you. Hope you like 'em! :)

Deb said...

I'll be making the brittle and a batch of spice rub for gifts. The first of many gift giving occasions occurs on Friday. On the weekend I'm making haystacks and some cookies for the work traditional goody table on Monday. Maybe I'll try the horns!

Deb

duodishes said...

Those 'lil horns look simply scrumptious! How is it possible to not eat a dozen at a time? We think we'll slow down on baking a bit this week. Perhaps just chocolate cover a few pretzels. :) We all need a break right?

The Diva on a Diet said...

Mmm, Deb, spice rub is such a great gift idea. Happy baking this weekend and enjoy the goody table on Monday. Sounds yummy! :)

Duo Dishes - you're right, we all need a break. I checked out your cookie post and it looks like you've been baking up a storm. Nice! :)

Dana McCauley said...

These look (and read) like rugelach. Am I correct?

The Diva on a Diet said...

Yes, Dana, they are very much like rugelach. Who knows, they might even *be* rugelach ... I knew them only as the horns growing up, then was surprised the first time I saw and tasted rugelach. Delish!