Cream Horns - Lady Locks - Coronets - Clothespin Cookies

To kick-off the holiday baking season I'm choose my all-time favorite cookie/pastry; the Cream Horn!

Sometimes called Lady Locks or Clothespin Cookies or even Coronets - named in part due to the nature of cookie mold or form being used. Our great-grandmothers oftentimes used wooden clothespins or dowels to wrap the dough around. Much of the time the pastry dough would stick to unseasoned wood however, and the cookies would break. Paper molds were also made and used - time consuming and delicate. Between the time and work involved in making the pastry and the frustrations with the forms, no wonder these cookies were soon only found in bakeries and grocery stores!

To get started you'll want to invest in aluminum forms. Be sure you purchase enough to bake all your cookies as the pastries need to cool on the forms and only baking 4-8 cookies at a time will take you literally all day.

If you have time and you love to bake, try your hand at the pastry recipe below. It requires an hour chill time between folds and an overnight chill time when the dough is finished, so plan accordingly.

However, I have a time-saving recipe if you need these dainty pastries by this afternoon;   Puff Pastry. Available in your grocer's freezer, purchase sheets of puff pastry and use them in place of the traditional pastry dough. Slicing, wrapping and baking can be accomplished in 30 minutes while you also mix the filling, and with a quick cool-down in the freezer you can have these delicious cookies out the door in under an hour!

Cream Horns

3 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 c ice water
2 egg yolks
2 c cold butter or shortening - or a mixture of both

Combine flour, salt, water and egg yolks. Mix well until a ball is formed. Place on a floured plate, cover with wax paper and refrigerate about 1 hour. Roll out dough to form a rectangle. Spread 1/2 cup of the chilled butter/shortening down the center. Fold over the rest of the dough in envelope fashion so that all edges meet exactly. Press edges slightly to seal in the air. Chill one hour. Follow the same procedure again, permitting an hour chill time. Continue two more times until all the shortening/butter has been used.

Place on a floured plate, cover with wax paper and chill overnight. The next day divide the dough into 3 parts. Work on one part at a time. Roll out each disc to 1/8" thick. Cut into strips about 3" - 4" in length and up to 1" wide. Wind each strip around an aluminum form, overlapping slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes until lightly golden. Cool. Slip off the form. Fill.

Use whichever filling YOU like.  A simple whipped cream filling is fine, but I like this one as it works in any temperature environment;  I can have these at room temperature or serve them at a summer event and not worry about the whipped cream versions.  This is also a similar filling to what you'll find at the grocery store or bakery made Cream Horns.

Cream Horn Filling

1 c Crisco
1 c butter (not margarine...)
4 c powdered sugar
4 t vanilla
3/4 c marshmallow creme

Cream the Crisco and butter. Add the sugar gradually and then the creme and vanilla. Beat well until it's smooth like whipped cream. Fill cooled or chilled cream horn forms.

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