Grandma’s Butter Horns (Brown Sugar Walnut Rugelach)
Let’s talk my grandma’s butter horns – aka brown sugar walnut rugelach! These buttery, slightly sweet cookies are irresistible. A special family recipe that is made with sour cream instead of cream cheese. Vegetarian.
Note: This recipe is NOT dairy free. It was published before Cook Nourish Bliss transitioned to dairy free recipes and remains popular with long time readers. You can try using substitutions to make it dairy free, however I have not tested this myself and can’t say how it will turn out.
Today I have a very special recipe for you. One that makes me smile big time and gives me those warm and fuzzy feelings.
My grandma’s butter horns. Which are famous in our family.
I vividly remember her giving us plates of these cookies when we were kids. My dad would come home with a giant platter full of them and yet they always disappeared in a flash.
My sister, dad and I would pop them in the microwave to warm them up slightly, dust with even more confectioners’ sugar and then go to town.
I don’t know where my mom was during all of this, probably eating something much healthier than a tray of buttery cookies (or maybe I just don’t remember her being there, eek! … sorry mom!).
About These Butter Horn Cookies
Despite the fact that I will forever and ever call these butter horns, they are basically a slightly different version of rugelach (which is typically made with cream cheese instead of the sour cream you’ll see here).
But my guess is that rugelach will ring a bell for you better than butter horns!
I will confess that when I make these they are definitely imperfect – and look no where near as nice as the carefully rolled ones that my grandma always made.
Apparently she had a lot more practice (and patience!) than I do.
But boy do they still taste good. So buttery and with just the right amount of sweetness. And extremely pop-able. Once you pop, you cannot stop with these cookies. Trust me, I have experience in this matter.
So tell me. What’s your favorite family recipe? My grandma passed away a few years ago, so these cookies most definitely hold a special place in my heart and are a necessity each holiday season!
Additional Holiday Cookies You Might Enjoy:
- Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Cream Cheese Cookies
- Caramel Latte Thumbprint Cookies
- Whole Wheat Vanilla Chai Shortbread Cookies
- Soft & Chewy Whole Wheat Gingerbread Cookies
- Cardamom Spice Cookies
- Chocolate Peanut Butter Thumbprint Cookies
- Snowball Cookies
Did you make this recipe? Rate and review it down below! I’d love to hear from you.
Grandma’s Butter Horns (Brown Sugar Walnut Rugelach)
My grandma’s butter horns – aka brown sugar walnut rugelach! These buttery, slightly sweet cookies are irresistible. A special family recipe that is made with sour cream instead of cream cheese. Vegetarian.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks
- 1 cup full-fat sour cream, cold
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 cups raw walnuts, finely chopped
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Add the flour to a large bowl. Using a pastry cutter, two knives or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour, until it resembles even-sized crumbs. Add in the sour cream and egg yolk. Mix until the dough comes together in large clumps.
- Form the dough into three equal sized balls. Pat each into a disc and then wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
- Transfer to the refrigerator and let chill at least 2 hours or even overnight, until well chilled. You want it to be firm enough so that you can roll it out easily.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the walnuts and brown sugar until well combined, making sure to break up any clumps of brown sugar. Set aside.
- Working one ball of dough at a time (keep the other balls in the fridge while you do this), place the chilled dough on a well-floured work surface (I like to do this on well-floured parchment paper). Roll out into a circle that is between ⅛ and ¼ inch in thickness.
- Sprinkle ⅓ of the walnut / sugar mixture evenly over the dough (all the way to the edges) then press down lightly into the dough. With a pastry or pizza cutter, slice the dough like you would a pizza, into 16 equal triangles.
- Starting with the wide end, roll up each triangle - some of the filling will fall out - that’s totally fine. Place the shaped cookies on the prepared baking sheet, with the seam side / tip down. Repeat this process with the remaining two balls of dough.
- Bake for about 22 to 24 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. If baking in batches, keep any unbaked, shaped cookies in the refrigerator.
- Once completely cool, dust generously with confectioners’ sugar.
The dough portion of this recipe could also be done in a food processor, I just wanted to make them by hand like my grandma. It felt right that way!
I also highly recommend eating these warm - so good!! We used to love to pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to get them nice and toasty. And maybe dust again with more confectioners’ sugar after you warm them up.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 104Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 21mgSodium: 5mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g
Nutrition data shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice.
Maybe no one has made these since 2014 but I decided to try them today. I added salt to the flour and used half a cup of shortening along with the butter. I then added 1/4 cup of melted butter to the brown sugar and nut mixture to keep it from being too loose (I also used pecans) + tsp of cinnamon. They are delicious.
So glad you enjoyed!
I also added salt to the recipe. My mom has made these for years and she told me to spread melted butter on rolled out dough before the nuts and sugar. I used regular granulated white sugar and cinnamon. So it’s melted butter, cinnamon and sugar mix, and then crushed nuts. Brush with melted butter on top before baking. I personally prefer (no butter) thin layer of jam (apricot) then cinnamon and sugar then nuts. It’s just my preference. The plain nut and sugar snd cinnamon are great for someone who doesn’t like it sweet. Enjoy. I will be making these again.
Thanks for sharing Barrie!
As a regular baker of Nut horns ( Rugelach) for many years, I prefer dough with sour cream versus cream cheese, that is used in most dough Recepies for these types of cookies.The dough, I did in the food processor I added salt ( 1/2 tsp.) to the flour. The only change I made. The dough I left in the fridge over night, I feel as in your suggestion it makes all the difference.The dough was a delight to work with, delicate yet so easy to roll out. To roll out I used a pie Matt and dusted with a combo of flour and confectioners sugar.Excellent. 5 stars does not do it justice.
I’m so happy to hear this! Thank you for taking the time to let me know Melanie 🙂
Can you freeze them?
Hey Debbie – Yes, you can definitely freeze them!
Can you make these with different jam fillings and sprinkle with sugar powder and pecans
Hey Jenny – absolutely! You could definitely play around with the filling here 🙂
Made these cookies today. Made 1/2 with the nut filling and 1/2 with apricot preserves. They were easy and are delicious! I made a slight change in the recipe in that I added 1 beaten egg white to the nut mixture. When adding the apricot preserves, you only need enough to lightly coat the dough. We rolled the dough in flour and powdered sugar into a circle like pie crust. Added the filling, either the nuts or apricot, cut into 16 slices like a pizza then rolled each piece up like a crescent roll. Make sure the short end is down when baking so they don’t bake open. Yummy!
So happy to hear it! And I LOVE the idea of using apricot preserves – that sounds fantastic!
Can I substitute pecans for the walnuts?
Yep! That would work just fine!
I make something very similar to Butterhorns called cinnamon twist. Same dough flour,butter, Driscoll egg yolk and sour cream. Make dough cut in half and refrigerate. Roll dough out to a 16” circle.
Filling sugar and cinnamon mixture, finely chopped walnuts, raisins and a dab of raspberry preserves on outer edge.
Cut in 16 pizza shape triangles and roll quickly. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or so. Do not let get brown.
Hey Angela! Oooo the raspberry preserves sound delicious! Thanks for sharing!
I have yet to make rugelach but will definitely give them a try. These look so good. We will eagerly await my mum’s sausage rolls – somewhat of a tradition – this Christmas morning! Happy Christmas Ashley!
Merry Christmas Jo!
Classic family recipes are always the best around the holidays. So much nostaglia in one bite! These look delicious, Ashley.
Love mexican wedding cookies! They are so good!
I was anxious to see if you’d make these after you mentioned them to me. They look amazing and definitely a must-try! Pinned. 🙂
Family recipes with special memories are the best 😀 I think my obsession for banana cake comes from my Nan as she made the best one ever and even though I have her recipe its never as good as hers was. These look great by the way 😀
haha that’s how I feel about so many family recipes … they never quite taste like when my grandma made them!
So sweet that your grandma is the inspiration behind this recipe! They truly look delicious. I have never heard of butter horns, obviously, I need to get out more. Thanks for sharing this though, I bet it’s tough to part with Grandma’s recipes…..I know of many people who won’t share secret family recipes at all =)
I know! We’ve never been like that … recipes are meant to be shared! 🙂 haha at least in my little world!
Looks absolutely mouthwatering! You always have such amazing ideas, and I love that first photo!
Thank you so much Alessandra!
I love family recipes – especially around the holidays! I looove rugelach so I know for a fact these would be a favorite, too!
Me too! They seem even more special during the holidays!
Nothing beats family recipes! These sound like a tradition worth starting in my home 🙂
Who doesn’t love these?! They are such perfect little treats for the holidays! Oh, I wish I had one right now!
Those look so good Ashley! I’ve never actually had rugelach, although I always think they look so good – gonna have to try them one of these days! Recipes from your grandma are always the best, I love family recipes that have been passed down. There’s a few of my grandma’s that I would love – going to have to see if any of my aunt’s have them! She doesn’t cook anymore, but even a few years ago, when I would ask for something, it would be ” oh, a bit of this and a bit of that” ! I don’t think she even had a recipe for some stuff!
haha that sounds like my grandma! I was shocked when my mom actually had this one written down when I asked for it a few years ago!
Grandma’s are the best. Ashley, I’ve been looking for the perfect rugelach recipe, and I believe I just found it. This is so happening…tonight! I can’t wait. They’re absolutely gorgeous. Pinned.
Aw thanks Jennie!!
these look so delicious, ashley! i love family recipes. one of my favorites is my grandma’s lasagna and her blueberry muffins! mmmm.
Mmmmm you’re making me hungry!!
I love family recipes, especially at Christmas! These look so good, Ashley!
Aaw, what a sweet and wonderful memory of your grandma! I have never tried rugelach or butter horns but they look amazing and family recipes like this are my favorite! My mom is not much of a baker but every year she would make little sesame ball cookies that were extremely addictive just like these pop-able butter horns 🙂
Sesame ball cookies sound delicious! Thanks Kelly!! 🙂
Aw, I love the story behind these! Even if you can’t remember where your mom was, haha!
I’ve never even tried rugelach but this version sounds incredible. And I think you made them look beautiful! I’m sure if I made them they would be a mess. I pretty much have zero patience. It’s actually one of my new years resolutions…for the tenth year in a row. 😉
hahaha that’s an awesome new year’s resolution … I should probably put patience on my list too 🙂
What a sweet recipe from your grandma. It sounds like it would just melt in your mouth and I love the walnuts. I’ve never had rugelach (or “butter horns”), which makes me a little sad right now. ; )
Thanks Monica! 🙂
I’ve never made rugelach, and I think maybe I’ve only had it once or twice in my life! These look melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and they’re so pretty and festive. These I need to try! Thanks for sharing such a special recipe. 🙂
They are! Thanks Marcie!
Woa- these take me back Ashley – it’s been ages since I had rugelach and your butter horns reminded me of my rugelach days!
They are so buttery and nutty. Exactly the right treat for the holiday season.
MMMmmm! These sound so good right now! One of my favorite family recipes are my aunt Rebecca’s Chicken and Dumplins. I’ve tried making them like her but they’re never the same.
My grandma made a dumpling soup that I still can’t figure out how to get to taste like hers!!
These look soooo delicious! They’d be one of the first to go off my cookie plate for sure. Yum!
These butter horns sound delicious, Ashley! I love that these cookies remind you of your Grandma…definitely the best kind! 🙂 My Grandma used to make gingerbread cookies every year, and now that she passed away, my Aunt takes over. Such fun memories!
I just love making family recipes like this, especially at the holidays. It’s really special. These cookies look so delicious!
Thanks Amy! It is – one of the best parts of the holiday season!