Happy Holidays – From THE DESSERTIST

Oh the holidays. A sugary time of year filled with so many desserts it makes your teeth hurt. I like it.

For me the holidays bring back so many sweet memories of being in the frozen tundra of North East, Ohio, cozy’d up in the kitchen baking with Mom, Grammy and the rest of the ladies of my family. Baking was one thing I looked forward to the most when it came to the holidays (aside from the presents of course) and keeping this baking tradition alive. Many years, milestones and a baby later I still travel back to the Midwest for the holidays and gear up for a bake fest.

310 093Now that Charley has established herself as a credible sous chef I have no doubt she will be joining me in the kitchen as I prepare holiday treats for the non-stop party we will be having once the two of us get home. This kid didn’t stand a chance to “not loving” desserts, as it was in her genetic makeup and she basically came out screaming for a cupcake. This 4 year old crack eggs better than most

adults I know and as her mother I couldn’t be more proud. Baking was something that was so near and dear to my heart and that and that I enjoyed with my mom and I am truly blessed that I get to do the same with Charley or DESSERTISTjr as she calls herself.

In these pictures at Christmas 2013 she had just turned 3 in September and was already a master at the rolling pin. She is now 4 and has already asked me to teach her how to use the Brulee torch.

God help me.


As a holiday gift to all of you I wanted to share a little bit of my family with you. There was always one very special cookie we made EVERY year. For years people have gone crazy over this cookie and we have never once shared the recipe. Until now…..I swear, my family and I should all pitch in and copyright this thing.


So here we are again. THE DESSERTIST, letting her guard down and divulging endless secrets from my incredible family. This recipe, in particular, is a family staple and has been around for seriously over 100 years, is nothing short of pure deliciousness perfection. I remember as a young DESSERTIST standing on a chair in the family kitchen making these with my mom and Grammy. The sugar, the nuts, the butter….ahhhhh…a toddlers delight. I LOVED making these. I still love making them. When I make my way back to Ohio consuming one of these treats is one of the first thing I do.

Want to hear something nutty (pun intended).,  I am DEATHLY allergic to nuts. All nuts (except peanuts because they are a legume), and the main part of these cookies are walnuts. But these cookies, I CAN EAT THEM. No issues, no problems, not one itch. I have always been able to eat them since I was a kid. It’s so weird. I swear they are protected by my ancestors and since they are such a staple in my family I have protected by magic so I can consume them with initiation anaphylactic shock.

This recipe is legit. We are talking my mothers, mother, mothers, mother, and so on type of recipe.

Before I wrote this post I seriously went down the list of all the incredible bakers in my family who have carried on the tradition of this recipe and asked each of them for permission. Yes, it’s that big of a deal.

Took me some time, but after many phone calls, text, Facebook messages, and emails I got the approval.

So now, I cordially invite you and your taste buds to experience my families Horseshoe delight in all its historical glory.

(Excuse me while I wipe away my tears of happiness of being part of such an awesome family)


My Family’s Secret Horseshoe Cookie

1 lb (4 sticks) of melted butter or margarine

1 cup milk – room temp is best

1 cake yeast

4 eggs

6 cups AP Flour – sifted

4 cups granulated sugar



Beat 4 eggs in a bowl – set aside.

In a large bowl combine Melted Butter and Milk and let sit until warm.

Add is 1 cake of yeast and the 4 beaten eggs and stir. Add in all 6 cups of flour at once and mix thoroughly with hands until a nice dough forms. ** Dough will be sticky

Place a cloth over the bowl and refrigerate dough OVERNIGHT. The dough must sit overnight so the yeast can rise and puff up the dough. It;s worth the wait, I promise.


Next Day……

Pre Heat oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie trays with parchment paper.

Set up your assembly area and make sure you are working on a clean counter top. If preferred, take parchment paper and use masking tape to create a work surface.

Remove dough from fridge and set aside.

In a food processor combine walnut and 2-3 tbs of sugar. Grind walnut until a nice and smooth consistency. You do not want any chunks, just a fine walnut dust if you will. Pour walnut sugar mixture in a bowl and set aside.

Start separating the dough out into 1″ balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. (usually when baking you ill do 2 HS across and maybe 4 down on a standard sheet.

Take your granulated sugar (about 2-3 cups) and cover your entire work area.

Place one of the dough balls in the center of your sugar coasted surface. using a rolling pin, flatten out to a medium size circle.

Flip the dough over twice to make sure both sides are completely covered in the sugar.

Place 1 tbs of the walnut mixture in the center of the flatted dough circle, spread evening to it covers the surface area leaving some space to the edge.

Start on one end and start rolling the dough up creating a log shape. Pinch the edges shut to keep the nut mixture inside.

Grabbing both ends, pull them together ultimately creating the “horseshoe” shape.

Place on tray 2 -3  across – making sure they have room to bake. These cookies will not expand much, but want enough room so that the sugar can crystallize and not get stuck to one another.

Place in the oven and let bake for 20-25 minutes until the sugar is somewhat caramelized and dough looks a bit flaky and golden. You may see some of the caramelized nut mixture on the tray as well (which is a great thing so dont panic)

Remove from tray and let cool. These cookies are INCREDIBLE warm, cold, room temp, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, great with coffee or wine. Doesn’t matter – they seriously GO WITH EVERYTHING.


When stored in an airtight container they will stay fresh for a week, I mean really fresh.

Once you have mastered this there are so many possibilities with the horseshoe. We have added chocolate, changed their shape, dipped, dunked, a bunch of crazy stuff!!

I hope these cookies bring you as much love and joy to your tummy, heart and soul as they have brought to mine over the years.

Welcome to the family!



Stay Sweet

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