I have a grandma who is not technically my grandma. She is my cousins’ grandma. But she is my Grandma Irene. I’ve called her Grandma Irene since the time I was a little kid. If you were to meet her she just might introduce herself to you as Grandma Irene too because that’s who she is.
You see, she’s not technically related to me because she is my cousins’ grandma on their dad’s side and we’re related because our moms are sisters. It’s confusing to explain. She’s part of my family though.
She’s smart and determined. She took college classes when her children were grown. She walks three miles just about every day. She’s giving and kind. She cares for animals, including injured birds and the dog she loves so much. And just about every Christmas she would make these delicious apricot horn cookies.
This year, I don’t think she made the cookies. Toward the end of last year, she had a routine exam and it was discovered that she had cancer. It was caught soon and she underwent surgery just recently. Thankfully, she is in recovery now.
I followed her recipe for her famous apricot horn cookies last week. They’re a little labor intensive. She had told me before that they take her two days. I thought that was mostly because the dough needs to be refrigerated overnight. That’s part of the reason. It also take a while to roll out the dough and form each pastry. Taking the time to make them made me appreciate her even more. I’m glad she has such a loving heart and shared the cookies with my family.
They’re also so good and hard to resist, so a cookie monster in my apartment ate them up. Okay, I helped get rid of some too. Now I’ll have to make another batch so I can share them with my mom and the rest of my family.
I’m embarrassed to say how many cookies the recipe made, but I’ll share the details if you promise not to judge me and the cookie monster for eating so many. So, the recipe that Grandma Irene gave me said the dough makes 11 dozen cookies. Maybe I made my cookies too thick or rolled out the dough too wide, but I only got 5 1/2 dozen out of it. Which is still a lot of cookies!
With such a big discrepancy, however, I had a lot of leftover apricot jam filling. That could also be because I didn’t put vey much filling in each cookie. I didn’t want it to spill over or break the dough when in the oven, so I only put about 1 1/2 teaspoons in the center of each 3 inch wide piece of dough. I still have leftover jam in my fridge, even after adding some to oatmeal, topping off pancakes with a bit, and putting it on toast.
I didn’t use all the sugar or almonds called for as the coating either.
UPDATE in 2020: I’ve been told this recipe yields 2 1/2 dozen. That makes more sense. I need to find the hand-written copy from Grandma Irene to see why I said 11 dozen before.
1 pound butter or margarine
1 pound cottage cheese
4 cups sifted flour, approximately
Blend ingredients together with hands to form a dough. Add more flour if cheese is watery. Shape into 1-inch balls and refrigerate overnight.
Dough may be kept in refrigeration for one month.
1 pound dried apricots
2 cups sugar
Cook apricots until tender; drain and puree. Add sugar while still hot. Cool.
Cook the dried apricots: Place the dried apricots in a small pot on the stove on medium heat. Boil until the apricots are tender. Add water a tablespoon or two at a time to keep the apricots from burning. Drain using a strainer and puree. You can puree with a blender, immersion blender, or food processor. Once the mixture is boiled down and jammy, add the sugar and stir. Let it cool. It will continue to thicken when cooling down.
Apricot filling can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigeration for a few days or you can freeze it until you are ready to use it. If you freeze the filling, just defrost until it is at room temperature.
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
Mix nuts and sugar. Roll each dough ball into a 3 inch round. Make only 10 horns at a time so dough will remain cold. Place a teaspoon of apricot filling in center. Roll up in the shape of a horn. Dip into egg white and then roll in the nut mixture. Place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Sprinkle with sugar.
Yield: about 11 dozen horns.
Note: Although these cookies are almost bound to be labor intensive, I’ve found a few ways to make it easier for myself next time I make them.
- When it comes time to refrigerate the dough, you could divide it evenly into 3 balls and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate overnight. (You could do this instead of wrapping each dough ball individually.) Then, when it’s time to work with dough, roll it out to 1/8 of inch thickness and cut out circles for each cookie.
- The recipe says to dip each cookie in the eggs and then in the walnuts. I started to do this at first. But I found it to be much easier and less messy to simply brush the egg wash on each egg with a pastry brush and follow that up by sprinkling the walnut and sugar mixture on with my fingers.
- Also, the recipe says to sprinkle the finished cookies with powdered sugar and I think my grandma usually does. I skipped this because I usually make a big mess when I try to sift powdered sugar and the cookies are sweet enough for my taste.