Grandma’s Nut Horns

In our family, my maternal grandmother owned Christmas Eve. It was her day and she went through inexhaustible lengths to ensure everything was just perfect. Her parents immigrated from Slovakia in the early 1900s, and my grandmother took great pride in the traditions of Slovak cooking- which especially shone through around Christmas. Nut Horns were always part of her cookie spread and are a family favorite.

Grandma’s Nut Horns

Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
In our family, my maternal grandmother owned Christmas Eve. It was her day and she went through inexhaustible lengths to ensure everything was just perfect. Her parents immigrated from Slovakia in the early 1900s, and my grandmother took great pride in the traditions of Slovak cooking- which especially shone through around Christmas. Nut Horns were always part of her cookie spread and are a family favorite.
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Servings 8 dozen

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound walnuts
  • 1 ¾ cups (350 grams) sugar, divided use
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, divided use
  • 1 package dried yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 3 cups (375 grams) flour
  • ½ pound unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions
 

  • First make your nut filling. Preheat your oven to 300 F. Lay the walnuts out on a baking sheet and toast for 12-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, grind them in a food processor. Whisk the three egg whites in a medium bowl until frothy. Add the nuts, 1 ½ cups (300 grams) sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Stir well to combine, then set aside or refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Stir the yeast and the warm water together in a small bowl.
  • Wipe out the food processor and add the flour, ¼ cup sugar (50 grams), and the salt and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is in small, pea sized pieces.
  • Beat egg yolks and add the milk and vanilla to them. Stir into the yeast, then add it all to the flour mixture. Pulse until the dough comes together, then turn it out and knead until smooth. If it is sticky, add a bit more flour. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  • Divide the dough into 8 balls. Working with one at a time, roll it out into a circle about the size of a dinner plate. Cut it in half, then cut each half into 6 wedges, for a total of 12 triangle shaped pieces. Spread the nut mixture on the fat end of each piece. Roll it up, starting at the fat end, and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate until you have formed the other cookies.
  • Heat the oven to 350 F. Once the cookies are all formed, bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pans half way through to ensure even cooking. They should be slightly browned. Remove and let cool on racks. Repeat with remaining cookies. Store at room temperature for up to a week, or freeze for a month.
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