Traditional German Horn Cookies are a staple in my husband’s family for as long as they can remember. Stories of Grandma Erica circle around every Christmas. Stories about how she had the kids take turns mixing the dough with a wooden paddle and had them patiently form each little cookie instead of making a couple big ones. She was meticulous in her baking; the cookies had to be formed just right or you had to start over. The kids hated to make the cookies but loved to eat them. Before stand mixers my husband had a very similar story when making these cookies with his mom when he was a kid. I don’t have a stand mixer (yet!) and I hope to get one soon so my daughter’s stories won’t be quite the same but I look forward to the tradition being handed down.
A stand mixer is key when making this dough as it is really thick but you can do it by hand; it has been done before for many generations. If you are doing this by hand keep at it, ask others to help, take a break and come back and know you will get it done!
These cookies are not sweet in the traditional sense of a cookie as I knew growing up. They are crumbly, melt in your mouth little crescents of buttery goodness; prefect with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate. We know Christmas is coming when these cookies come out!
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Makes approximately 100 bite sized cookies.
- 2 cups unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 cups finely chopped pecans or walnuts
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- extra powdered sugar for dusting
Traditional German Horn Cookies Directions
- Chop nuts with food processor until they are very fine.
- Cream softened butter well in standing mixer or with a hand blender.
- Add powdered sugar and salt, mix well. Add vanilla and mix well. Add nuts and mix well.
- Add 1 cup of flour at a time; mixing well after each cup. There will be a point where the hand blender won’t work and you will need to switch to a wooden paddle spoon. If you are using a stand mixer, keep going!
- Chill dough for 20 minutes or until dough is cooled through.
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Have a couple baking sheets out; you can line with parchment, foil or silicon mats but the cookies won’t get a browned bottom. It is best to place the cookies directly on the baking sheet. No need to grease the baking sheet the cookies will come right off.
- Break off small pieces from the chilled dough about the size of a round quarter. Roll into a ball and then using the palms of your hands roll into a cylinder and bend at the middle to make a horn or crescent shape.
- Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until cookies start to turn a golden brown. Let cookies cool slightly on the baking sheet before transferring to a cooling rack. If you transfer too soon they will break. Allow the cookies to continue to cool on rack for another 5 – 10 minutes before dusting with powdered sugar.
- If the dough breaks while shaping it is too warm, put it back with the dough pile and try again later. If multiple cookies start breaking put all the dough back in the refrigerator to chill again. You may have to do this multiple times until all the cookies are formed.
- It’s traditional to store in tins once completely cooled.
- Multiple hands make light work; perfect for the whole family to do! I hope you and your family enjoy as much as mine does!
Green in the Kitchen
I try my best to be as green as possible in the kitchen using organic ingredients and using tools that can be handed down through the generations and/or are sustainably made. I am always on the lookout for products that support this vision. Though not perfect I still have tools that are not completely in line with this vision; however, I look forward to taking great care of them and using them as long as possible so they stay out of landfills. Once they have reached their end of life I look forward to introducing an eco-friendly version to the home.
I also look forward to sharing with you what can be composted from each dish so less food waste is sent to landfills. If you have an opportunity to use the unused portions of ingredients in another dish all the better but if you don’t have plans for… let’s say, that whole head of lettuce YOU CAN COMPOST IT!
What Can Be Composted From These Traditional German Horn Cookies?
AAhhhhh… nothing needs to be composted from this dish! 🙂
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