These little pastries are deceiving. So simple...and so perfect. Whenever I make these as an evening guest treat or use the dough for morning pastry, I always get a request for the recipe. The recipe itself is so simple that its easy to be fooled into thinking that these might be TOO plain, but don't be tempted to embellish. They are sweet and buttery; flaky and delicious. The dough MUST be made in advance but beyond that, they are easy to make. Don't worry about them being perfect - the imperfections make for more crunchy edges.
This recipe came to me through one of my soul sisters - Jean Bean! Jean and I first lived together on the West side of Rocky Mountain National Park where we both worked for the National Park Service at the west entrance. Yes, it's true...I began my "illustrious" park service career as one of those cheerful "box bunnies" - taking cash for entry, answering questions about the park, passing out maps and park newspapers and rockin' those hot ranger uniforms.
Our first home was a trailer. A trailer with a squeaky floor, cardboard walls, ranch oak furniture and a shady forest location. Very typical seasonal quarters. Definitely not glamorous, but cheap and serviceable if your priorities included being outside and having as much fun as your twenties allowed. We later got an "upgrade" when we worked as dispatchers on the East side of RMNP in Estes Park, CO and lived, along with our dear friends Margie and Linda, in the Johnson House - a large inholding with a beautiful mountain view, a deck to die for, lots of space for chili cook-offs and big dinners with friends...and the same cardboard sheetrock and lots of mice.
Jean is much more than a friend of mine. We've laughed hysterically together and cried over boys and bosses. We avoided a nearly certain car crash while listening to Greg Brown and have remained friends through marriage, children, career choices and beyond. We had a reunion of the Johnson House girls a number of years ago and it was amazing to see how we picked up right where we left off - and how beautifully our little herd of children fit together!
Jean has given me counsel, love, great stories about her grandmother, nephews and large Italian extended family, loans of cash and clothes, encouragement...and the recipe for these butterhorns. Thanks Bean - your friendship is a treasure! I love you.
Jean Bean's Butterhorns
2 cups butter (1 pound box) - softened
24 ounces large curd cottage cheese - softened
4 cups flour
Blend cottage cheese and butter. Add flour and mix just until combined. Place in a large zip lock bag, flatten, and chill overnight in the refrigerator. (There really is not substitute for the time in the refrigerator.)
Roll out on (thin as you can) a lightly floured board, cut into small triangles and roll into crescents. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes and cool completely. Frost with powdered sugar frosting - I use 1 cup powdered sugar, a tablespoon of milk and a tablespoon of vanilla - you can also use lemon juice if that suits you in place of the vanilla. We have also rolled these in granulated sugar while hot - not as good, in my opinion, as the glaze, but certainly less messy and a little more kid-friendly.
I have also used this pastry to make larger "danish" pastries. Formed as a turnover and fill with your favorite fruit and a little sugar these work great - just chill the pastries thoroughly BEFORE baking for best result.