These Italian cream-filled cookies, also known as Clothespin Cookies or Cream Horns, are a staple of Pittsburgh cookie exchanges and wedding cookie tables. They’re best eaten fresh, so if you make them for a wedding, be sure to fill them with cream within a day or so of the event.
- Sift together flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, vigorously whisk together remaining ingredients, which should have no clumps and be slightly yellow when mixed correctly.
- Create a well in the center of your dry ingredients and add your butter mixture.
- With clean hands, dump dough out onto a floured work surface and knead for 5-8 minutes until gluten has worked up and the dough is springy.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- While waiting for the dough, you will need to prepare the item you’re wrapping your dough around. While historically it has been old-fashioned round clothespins, you can also use a dowel rod, as I did (mine was 5/8" wide and cut at 9" long). For either option, wrap in aluminum foil.
- When dough is ready, preheat oven to 400°F and prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Halve dough into two manageable pieces.
- Roll out one half to be 9" x 16", cutting off any excess dough to square off the edges.
- Now, cut 1.5" strips from this lengthwise so that you have 6 strips.
- Wrap each strip around your dowel/clothespin, overlapping on the turn about a half-inch and pinching the end to secure.
- Repeat with remaining 5.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until edges are golden and crisp (less bake time for clothespins, as they will be slightly smaller).
- Allow to cool slightly and gently remove cookies from dowel/clothespin.
- Repeat with second half of dough.
- Allow all cookies to cool completely. While cookies are cooling, make your buttercream.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together shortening and butter until well blended.
- With mixer on low, add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time, until fully mixed in.
- Add vanilla and milk, if needed.
- Turn mixer up to high and beat until you get peaks and ripples.
- When all cookies have cooled, transfer buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with an icing tip.
- Take one cookie at a time and fill completely with icing.
- Repeat with remaining cookies and dust with confectioner’s sugar.
- These do not freeze as well, and I recommend making not more than 2 days in advance for best results.
Brett F. Braley is the writer, baker, and photographer behind FigandBleu.com (@figandbleu). His work centers on traditional American desserts, combined with new flavors or techniques.