Grandma’s Butter Horns (Brown Sugar Walnut Rugelach)

Grandma's Butter Horns (Brown Sugar Walnut Rugelach) |

Today I have a very special recipe for you. One that makes me smile big time and gives me those warm and fuzzy feelings. Which are multiplied by a ton during the holiday season! All those twinkle lights and hot chocolate sipping and sitting by the fire. The best. Especially when paired with a big ol’ plate of these cookies right here.

So these “butter horns,” as they are known in our family, are coming at you straight from my grandma. 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!).

Grandma's Butter Horns (Brown Sugar Walnut Rugelach) |

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.

Grandma's Butter Horns (Brown Sugar Walnut Rugelach) |

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!

Yield: 48 cookies

Grandma’s Butter Horns (Brown Sugar Walnut Rugelach)

Prep Time:2 hours 40 minutes

Cook Time:22 minutes

Total Time:3 hours 2 minutes

Recipe for brown sugar walnut rugelach. Buttery, slightly sweet cookies. A special family recipe that is made with sour cream instead of cream cheese!


  • 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


  1. 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.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Once completely cool, dust generously with confectioners’ sugar.

My grandma’s original instructions were a little vague / hard to follow in spots, so the above recipe is a tad different from the original in order to make it more user-friendly.

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…

My wonderful grandma