It’s Christmas Cookie Week on IBC. Just kidding! But it is Christmas Cookie Day. I’m sharing my recipe for Cream Horn Cookies (a.k.a. Lady Locks). Plus, some of my blogger friends (a.k.a. #ChristmasCookieSquad) are joining in for a cookie swap! Everyone is linked at the bottom of this post so you can continue on with this cookie adventure.

How to make classic Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) | Inspired by Charm

You’re also in for a surprise today because I’m sharing my free printable Christmas recipe cards! Say what!? We’ll get to that in a minute.

Side note: I recently shared a full post with all my BEST Christmas cookie recipes. You can find that HERE if you need a little more Christmas cookie inspiration.

Download these printable Christmas recipe cards.

Back to the cookies. . . Depending on where you live in the United States, you might be wondering what Cream Horn Cookies/Lady Locks are. I grew up knowing them as “Cream Horns,” and for years they have been a Christmas staple on my Dad’s side of the family. I assume my grandma was the one who started making them (I don’t know for sure as she passed when I was quite young.) However, for as long as I can remember, they’ve been made by my Great Aunt Maggie.

How to make Cream Horn Cookies for the holidays!

I did a little research and found out that Cream Horn Cookies are more commonly known as Lady Locks and are a tradition here in Pittsburgh. It’s customary here (and in St. Marys where I grew up) to have a cookie table at your wedding.This is literally a long table full of trays of homemade cookies. Apparently, Lady Locks are a staple on the cookie table.

I have never made them before, so I was super excited to give them a try and share them with you.

How to make Cream Horn Cookies for the holidays!

To make them, you’ll need a mold to form the horn around. My Aunt Maggie uses a clothespin wrapped in foil, so that’s what I did. You just wrap a piece of foil around a clothespin. It’s as simple as that. However, if you’re feeling fancy, you can certainly use a store-bought mold.

How to make Cream Horn Cookies for the holidays!

The filling is similar to a buttercream icing, but it also incorporates a milk-and-flour paste which felt very old-fashioned to me. Of course, you can fill these horns with whatever filling you like best.

How to make Cream Horn Cookies for the holidays!

The result is a flaky cookie horn filled with a sweet, creamy filling. What’s not to love? I think these cream horns might be my dad’s and brother’s favorite cookie. I do love them but nothing will top my Cream Wafer Cookies!

Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) recipe

Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) recipe

Now, just in case you need a place to write down this recipe (or any others you come across this holiday season), you’re going to need some cute recipe cards.

Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) recipe

Thankfully, I have you covered with my free printable Christmas recipe card!

Free Christmas Recipe Card Printable

As you probably know, I’ve been sharing a recipe card each season for the past two years. This year, I decided to add two more cards to the bunch including one for Halloween and this Christmas recipe card.

I think they turned out beautifully. Don’t you?

Free Christmas Recipe Card Printable

My favorite details are the adorable cat and dog on the front and the red car piled with packages on the back.

Free Christmas Recipe Card Printable

You can grab the free download here.

All of the recipe cards from 2016 and 2017 can be found here. I’ll be sharing the Winter card, the final card in my 2017 series, next week. Stay tuned for that.

Free Christmas Recipe Card Printable

Free Christmas Recipe Card Printable

In the meantime, here’s Aunt Maggie’s recipe for Cream Horn Cookies!

How to make classic Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) | Inspired by Charm

Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks)

makes 3-4 dozen

Here's what you'll need:
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 tablespoon sugar
2 egg yolks
1 cup cold water
4 1/2 cups flour
Clothespins wrapped in foil or lady lock molds

2 cups milk
1/3 cup flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 cups confectioners' sugar
Additional confectioners' sugar for garnish

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the butter, vegetable shortening, and sugar for about 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Then mix in the egg yolks. Finally, mix in the flour and water until combined. Chill dough for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Sprinkle your work surface with flour. Roll out 1/4 of the dough at a time until it's about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into strips that are 1/2-inch wide and 10 inches long. Then wind the strips around the foil-wrapped clothespins (or lady lock molds.) Bake on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes or until the horns are just barely starting to brown.

Remove the horns from the oven. Allow them to cool for about 2 minutes; then carefully remove them from the clothespins. (Don't let the horns cool completely on the molds or the horns will crumble easily. The horns will also crack more if they are overbaked.) Let the horns finish cooling.

In the meantime, prepare the filling. In a saucepan, heat the milk and flour over medium-high heat while constantly whisking. Cook 8-10 minutes until thick. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter, vegetable shortening, and salt 5-6 minutes or until fluffy. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, one cup at a time. Then mix in the milk and flour paste and vanilla. Beat until combined and fluffy.

Put the filling in a piping bag and then fill each horn. Before serving, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Store refrigerated in an airtight container.

I hope you enjoyed this classic recipe from my family. Many times I update recipes, however, this one needed no tweaking. It's perfect as is.


Cream Horn Cookies (Lady Locks) recipe

Free Christmas Recipe Card Printable

Happy Baking!

Before you click away, be sure to check out the rest of the #CookieSwapSquad for more festive and tasty cookie recipes:


Christmas Cookie Recipes - Cookie Swap Squad 2017

Nordic Gingerbread Cookies – The Faux Martha
Oatmeal Lace Cookies – Julie Blanner
Orange Gumdrop Bars – Freutcake
The Best Peanut Butter Blossoms – The Sweetest Occasion
Cream Horns – Inspired by Charm (You are here!)

Inspired By Charm Paint Colors

  • Julie at

    These look heavenly!

  • Melissa at

    I showed these to Kev this morning and he said we have to make these!

  • Elisabeth Heien at

    We do not have shortening here in Norway. At least, I am pretty sure about it, as I needed to look it up some years ago, had at the time never heard of it. An American friend tried to explain exactly what it is, too, and I have never come across anything similar here. Can I use a substitute?

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      You can use lard or just substitute with additional butter. Obviously the results would be slightly different.

      xo Michael

  • Cyd at

    These look kind of magical! And those recipe cards are gorgeous!!!

  • Haley at

    Native pittsburgher and just made these for the first time yesterday (with my moms recipe)! Did you have any trouble with yours unrolling during baking?i got many with little tails. But I did cheat and use frozen puff pastry. Do you think these can be frozen with icing inside? Thanks and Merry Christmas!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I just used a little water to secure my tails and placed them tail side down on the baking pan. However, puff pastry probably rises a bit more which probably gave you more trouble.

      I froze the ones I made – I’m hoping they are just as tasty for Christmas!

      xo Michael

      • Maureen at

        I don’t recommend freezing ones that have been filled. The filling may break down and make your cookies all mushy. You can freeze them unfilled and fill them before giving or eating though and they will be fine.


        • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

          Thanks for the tip, Maureen! Mine are already filled an in the freezer! Oops! I’ll report back after I take them out.

          xo Michael

          • Mich at

            Eat them frozen! My moms recipe is similar , including foil clothespins, and we have never had a problem. Keeping family members from snitching them out of the freezer is a little harder. lol Our family has always called them lady locks. And Pittsburgh wedding cookie tables are legendary.. Proud to be a Pittsburgh are resident.

  • Sandy at

    Back in the day, you couldn’t go to an Italian wedding reception and not be overjoyed at the cookie table. Trays and trays of beautiful, delicious, assortments of cookies. When our daughter married fifteen years ago, a friend gave me the phone number of a lady in Sharon, PA who made Lady Locks. I ordered six or eight dozen, left my home in NE Ohio and traveled to Sharon. Beautiful, delicious, and the price was right.Thank you for all your cookie recipes. I’m trying your favorite, but in a small circular cut out.

  • Maureen at


    I worked with a lady who made these at Christmas time. She took a dowel rod and cut it into the length for these cookies. Wrapped the rod pieces with the foil and used them that way. After she was done baking, she rewrapped the rods with foil so they were all ready to be used the next time.


    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Yep! You can totally use a dowel rod too. Same concept. Thanks!

      xo Michael

  • Kristi at

    I’m not a huge cookie lover (I know I’m weird) but these sound (and look) absolutely delish. And how adorable are those recipe cards!

  • Leah at

    I grew up in Pittsburgh, Go Steelers, and when I saw this recipe I almost cried: My all time favorite childhood memory is of these wonderful treats. I am so happy to be making Ladylocks this year. It would have made Mr Hainer (Hainer’s Bakery) in Wilkensburg proud, thank you

  • Sabrina B at

    Nice, like a cannoli in concepts but without the ricotta, and whatever else is in those, hadn’t ever heard of lady locks, so am happy to be introduced to them here, thank you!

  • Beth Blank at

    These look so lovely! Must make. I’ve been enjoying your blog since I found your Christmas cocoa bar a few years ago. Still making your cocoa. A very merry Christmas to you.

  • shar at

    The Lady Locks look fantastic; I must give these a try. And thank you for the recipe cards!! Merry Christmas, Michael

  • Jeannie at

    I have been making this same recipe for many years. The only difference is the filling has two cups granulated sugar in the filling instead of the powered sugar. This is a favorite of all my family and friends.

  • Sherry at

    Really would have like to make these, howevet everytime i tried to read the recipe an add kept popping up and the recipe kept going down the page☹

  • Sarah at

    These look so elegant and delicious!!How long do you think these will keep please? Thank you so much for sharing 😃

  • Paula at

    Moved south a few years ago after growing up in Pittsburgh. I miss all the bakeries and the ethnic foods. These were always my favorite cookies but I’ve never made them. I need to give it a try.

  • Sarah K at

    Oh these look delish!! 😃 I’ve never made them but have enjoyed eating them for years!! I’m from Pittsburgh as well, so happy to Pin a local blogger!! FYI: the best Bakery lady lock I have eaten is from Lincoln Bakery in Bellevue.

  • Marilyn at

    Can’t wait to try your cream horn cookies,

  • Marilyn at

    Can’t wait to try your cream horn cookies! Thanks!

  • Hope at

    These cookies look delicious. I really want to try my hand at making them. One question what type of flour did you use?

  • Lisa at

    I can’t wait to try these! I’ve made cream horns for years but have been looking for a different filling. These look awesome!

  • Carol Allen at

    These look wonderful, wish I had came across this recipe before Christmas but will be on the to do list next year. Just wondering it you grease the molds before adding dough or if any trouble getting the cookies off the molds. Love your site!

    • Kat Rudeck at

      Try using wooden dowels from the hardare store. Just have them cut the dowels to the size of the cookie sheet. I think I greased them the first time and I haven’t since. They never stick.

  • Kat Rudeck at

    I make these all the time. I’ve found that using a wooden dowel works even better. I just got a few from the hardware store and had them cut them to the size of a cookie sheet. You can fit like 4 on the dowel and there’s no breaking. I’ve had the same dowels for like 15 years now.

  • Carol at

    I grew up in Bethel Park, Pa. My mom made these every year and now my sis and I carry on the tradition using the same round clothespins my mom used. We make them for special occasions. Thank you for great memories! It is nice to hear similar comments from so many in the Pittsburgh area! Happy New Year!

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