Rose, at 93, was laid to rest last week. She was my neighbor, and a sweeter woman you would never know. Rose was the perfect example of a loving, caring and generous soul.
Many years ago, when I was in another career, my mom still alive, I was often traveling with my job. Rose took it upon herself to stay close to my mother (who lived with me), and check in on her every couple of days. In addition, Rose was a Eucharistic Minister with our church, and would bring my mother communion. Now, don’t think I’m going off in a maudlin direction. In fact, I want to pay tribute to Rose for the thousand blessings she bestowed on the two of us. Rose was my mom’s friend and my savior. In their advanced age, they found so much joy just sharing each other’s company every couple of days. Rose was also Mom’s spiritual anchor. You see, my mother was unable to get around without great assistance, thus making church visits very difficult. They would share communion, pray their rosaries and then have girl time; telling stories of their young days, family events and tales of the good ole’ days. Surely Rose had a heart of pure gold to be so devoted to these special moments with my mother.
Of course, I was grateful. More than you could know. So, every year, I’d insist on baking her favorite cookies for special holidays; Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. They were a simple Nut Horn. Flaky pastry with a sweet filling of cinnamon, sugar and fine walnut pieces that would melt in your mouth. Of course, the recipe was Rose’s. This recipe passed to her from her Aunt. In her day, Rose was the family baker and hostess for all the big events of the year. She told me she would bake for days getting ready for the family’s special events. There would be people crowded in every spare inch of space in her little house. But, that didn’t deter the festive moments of their special family times. The more the merrier. As Rose grew older, she was unable to bake her family’s favorite cookie….the Nut Horn. She passed me the recipe, gave me specific instructions on completing the mix, and gave me the honor of baking for her family. And I continued to do so for about 8 years. This was my labor of love for my precious Rose. You see, when my mother passed, Rose told me the following, “There just happens to be room in my family for another daughter.” As you can tell, she was so special to me.
To pay homage’ to Rose, I’m sharing her special recipe. And, if you should decide to bake these wonderful little cookies, please think of my Rose, knowing that your life will be blessed with a bit of Rose Magic! (Not to mention such a delicate little confection.) I’m baking these for her husband, Tom. While baking these little gems, I’m thinking of Rose, sending her all my love. Most importantly, my thanks for loving me in such a special way.
1 lb. Butter
5 Cups Flour
1 Tsp. Salt
Use a pastry cutter and ‘cut-in’ the butter until the mix resembles small peas.
1 Pint of Full Fat Sour Cream
2 Beaten Egg Yolks
Mix together with a large fork. You will need to get your
hands into the mix to get everything blended together well.
The dough will be sticky. If the mix feels too wet, add flour a
tablespoon at a time until you can handle the dough.
Remember, it has to remain a bit sticky.
Divide the dough into 8 balls and chill overnight in a ziplock bag.
1 3/4 Cups chopped Walnuts
1 3/4 Cups Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cinnamon
I use a pastry cloth, wax paper can also be used for rolling out the dough. Sprinkle liberally with confectioners sugar to keep the dough from sticking
to the cloth/paper and the rolling pin.
Roll out a ball of dough, rotating often to result in a round shape. The dough needs to be paper thin…at least a 12 – 15″ round.
Sprinkle the dough liberally with the sugar/cinnamon/nut mixture. Don’t skimp!
Use the rolling pin to press the sugar and nuts into the dough.
Using a pizza wheel, cut the round into 16 equal wedges.
Now, begin making the nut horns by rolling each wedge from the outside toward the middle of the round.
When you place the rolled cookie onto the baking sheet, be sure to have the tail/small tip on the bottom.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20 – 30 minutes. Make sure to turn your cookie sheets half way through the baking for even browning.
Bake until golden brown and until the buttery-cinnamon smell is making you crazy!
When the cookies cool, typically this sugar will fall off the cookie when you put them in a bag.
I save all this goodness….it’s like a cinnamon brittle and is perfect for sprinkling over vanilla ice cream!
These cookies take some time and energy, but their flaky-buttery-cinnamony fantastical flavor makes it all worthwhile.
Not too sweet, and perfect with a cup of tea.
Remember, a Rose is just a rose…unless you’re my friend. That Rose was something special and so are her Nut Horns! RIP, Rose.