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Lady Locks A Pittsburgh Cookie

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Lady Locks is the showpiece of a Pittsburgh cookie table at weddings. This is a flaky cookie with a sweet, creamy filling that you will love at first bite.

Lady Locks is the showpiece of a Pittsburgh cookie table at weddings. This is a flaky cookie with a sweet, creamy filling that you will love at first bite.



t is no secret that I am proud of my birthplace, Pittsburgh. I may live in Cleveland, but Pittsburgh is my home. One Pittsburgh tradition I found out is exclusive to Pittsburgh is a cookie table at a wedding.

Lady Locks is the showpiece of a Pittsburgh cookie table at weddings. This is a flaky cookie with a sweet, creamy filling that you will love at first bite.

Cookie Table

What is a cookie table? Well, people bring homemade cookies to the wedding, put on a table and as they wait for the bride and groom to make their entrance, you munch on the cookies and drink a drink. I always thought this was standard for weddings until I moved to Cleveland.

Lady Locks is the showpiece of a Pittsburgh cookie table at weddings. This is a flaky cookie with a sweet, creamy filling that you will love at first bite.

I do know these cookie tables are becoming popular across the USA. In fact, there were 2 articles wrote about this tradition, one was in the NY Times the other in the National Post. I am writing up a post for Parade’s Community table for the wedding cookie table. In my quest for links, I discovered no one had the one cookie that is a must at a wedding cookie table, the Lady Lock.

Lady Locks

 Every wedding has to have this homemade goodie. Lady locks are also called cream horns or clothespins. Why? Because if you do not have the metal cones to make the shells, foil around old fashion wooden clothespins work well, thus giving to the name clothespin cookies.

Lady Locks is the showpiece of a Pittsburgh cookie table at weddings. This is a flaky cookie with a sweet, creamy filling that you will love at first bite.

These cookies truly are a labor of love, they take a little bit of work but they are worth it. I guess that why the grandmothers seem to make these for the cookie tables, it the love they have for the couple to make this wonderful, flaky cookie. When I was married, my neighbor growing up made the lady locks on my cookie table. I asked for the recipe because I was in love with them, she gave it to me.

I have had the recipe on an index card for 10 years. Had I stayed married, I would be married 10 years, that is mind-boggling to me, it means I been divorced 7 years. Funny how things turn out, huh?

My next marriage, if I have one, I will for sure have a cookie table, even if I am still here in Cleveland. You can take the girl out of Pittsburgh, but can not take the Pittsburgh out the girl. In order to do a Pittsburgh cookie table post, one needs lady locks, so I dusted off that recipe and made lady locks. Plus I got to use my new camera, I am so in love with this camera.

Lady Locks is the showpiece of a Pittsburgh cookie table at weddings. This is a flaky cookie with a sweet, creamy filling that you will love at first bite.

Check out these recipes:

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Serves 24

Lady Locks are the show piece of a Pittsburgh cookie table at weddings is this flaky cookie with a sweet, creamy filling. A recipe from Seduction in the Kitchen.


    Pastry Shells

    • 4 cups all-purpose flour divided
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar divided
    • 1/2 cup margarine (1 stick)
    • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
    • 2 teaspoons butter
    • 2 egg yolks
    • 1 cup evaporated milk
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • 1 package active dry yeast
    • 1 cup confectioners' sugar


    • 2 cups milk
    • 4 teaspoons heaping all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup margarine at room temperature, 2 sticks
    • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • Dash salt


    1. Sift together 3 1⁄2 cups flour, the baking powder and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Add the margarine, shortening and butter and cut in as for pie crust. Set aside.
    2. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks, evaporated milk, vanilla and yeast. Add to the flour mixture and mix well. Chill overnight.
    3. Heat the oven to 325 degrees.
    4. Working with small pieces of dough at a time, roll out on a board sprinkled with a mixture of 1⁄2 cup flour, 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar and the confectioners' sugar.
    5. Roll thinly, then cut into strips approximately 1⁄2-inch wide. Wrap on old-fashioned wooden clothespins that have been covered with foil and lightly greased, or use metal baking rods according to manufacturer's directions.
    6. Place on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Carefully remove the shells from the pins immediately. Let cool, then fill the shells with the filling, using a pastry bag.
    7. Combine the milk and flour. Cook over low heat until thick. Cool completely.
    8. Beat the flour mixture, using an electric mixer. Add the margarine, vegetable shortening, sugar, vanilla and salt. Beat at high speed until light and fluffy.

    by Recipe by Dee Samaan of Seduction in the Kitchen

    Recipe Notes


    4.3 rating
    3 reviews
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    • Paula
      February 17, 2016

      The cookie table is a great idea!! Can’t wait to try these.

      • Deanna Samaan
        February 20, 2016

        Awesome! I love this tradition at weddings!

    • cookilicious
      July 8, 2017

      Love the idea of having a cookie table & the name of this recipe surely intrigues me. Would love to give this recipe a try!

    • Dahn
      August 19, 2017

      with as many weddings that I have been to I am surprised I have never seen this cookie, It sounds wonderful and I have got to make these

    • Calleigh - TheForkBite
      August 19, 2017

      I love this flaky cookie with creamy fillings, looks so tempting. How I wish every wedding will serve this so-called cookie table, that would be fun eating this cookie while patiently waiting.

    • Sarah
      August 19, 2017

      You live in Cleveland? I visited last year, what a great city!!! …and these cookies? Yum! They look absolutely delicious!!!

      • cindi
        December 14, 2017

        these are Pittsburgh cookies

    • Amanda Mason
      August 19, 2017

      These look amazing and even though they may take a bit of time and effort to make, it’s so worth it! As I am getting older, I appreciate a good recipe that takes time to make. These types of recipes become precious favorites! I’m printing this one out so I can make it for me family! They will love it!!

    • Amy @ The Cook Report
      August 19, 2017

      Loving the idea of a cookie table! These look lovely

    • Kathi
      August 19, 2017

      Love the story behind the cookie! They look fabulous and what a great tradition!

    • I know they do cookie tables in Youngstown. At my wedding, we had a cookie table for dessert, but we provided the cookies instead of guests bringing them. Your lady locks look fabulous!

    • Sharon
      December 2, 2017

      I live east of Cleveland and always thought The cookie table was an Italian thing. I got married in 1987 and had a huge one. We baked for months. As far as I know it’s a tradition at weddings and have been in this area forever. Anyway the recipe I have for these is quite different but very flaky. I was looking for something a little easier and came across this and will certainly give it a try. I use wooden dowels that I cut to fit my baking pans instead of clothespins as I can get about four on each dowel. Much easier than the clothespins. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Thanks so much.

      • Deanna
        December 2, 2017

        You are so welcome. It is a Pittsburgh based. BUT there is a lot of Italian Catholics that are from Southwestern Pa. It is so much fun cookie tables. I love your dowl idea. It a great idea, it is hard sometimes to find those wooden clothes pin 🙂

    • Michelle M
      December 15, 2017

      Thank you for this recipe. My brother is getting married in the ‘Burgh next spring and I am working on finding the perfect Lady locks recipe. Could you tell me how thin I should roll the dough? Thank you.

      • Deanna
        December 15, 2017

        Congrats!!! You want it thin but not so thin that you can see through it. I say roll the dough between 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and it will do nicely 🙂

    • Karen
      January 5, 2018

      I am an Italian Catholic from Pittsburgh as well and also live in Cleveland. I remember the cookie tables as well and surprised that I have not seen so many here. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

      • Deanna
        January 5, 2018

        A fellow Pittsburger in Cleveland!!! I never knew it wasn’t a common thing until I moved to Cleveland!! I love to know how you like it!!

    • Colleen
      January 17, 2018

      I was so excited to find this recipe being from Pittsburgh, I had these at my wedding, and when I saw this I knew I will be making these for my daughters wedding. I did a test run the other day but the cream never came together it resembled cottage cheese but very runny. Any idea why this happened?

      • Deanna
        January 17, 2018

        Hmmm, that is odd. No lemon or anything was added, right? (I know lemon can make milk go cottage cheese like) Did you use almond milk by chance? I know almond milk sometimes can make a pastry cream go funny. The only other thing I can possibly think of is with flour milk mixture maybe wasn’t cool enough? I know I made that the night before and put in the fridge overnight and then make them the next morning. You want that to be cool. That is actually the thickening is the milk-flour mixture.

        Another version if want to try this, It actually Paula Deen filling she did for something she called Magnolia trumpets. I have played with this a bit, but she used regular granulated sugar, To me it a bit crispy because of the sugar. I played with using powdered sugar instead, I have used this on cupcakes as a frosting:
        1 cup Unsalted butter, soften
        1 Cup Crisco
        1 cup powdered sugar (may need to add more if it not stiffening enough, this can vary the original recipe was 2 cups granulated, it better to go small and then add as needed.)
        2 Egg whites
        2 teaspoons of Vanilla
        1/2 cup milk
        Combine everything but the milk in the stand mixer beat till everything is combined.
        Heat up the milk to lukewarm and slowly, (1 tablespoon at a time) add it to the mixture and mix everything together till you get the thickness to where you want it. Then pipe into the shells

        • Colleen
          January 17, 2018

          Ok maybe I’ll try the other recipe. I let it the milk mixture cool in fridge for 3 hours, no lemon at all. I did use milk that was 1% does that make a difference? Also how long do you cook that mixture? Mine started to boil a little but I stopped it since you didn’t say to bring to boil. It was nice creamy and thick when I put it in fridge. I really want your recipe to work because despite the texture the flavor was delicious. Maybe next time I’ll let milk mixture sit overnight. Do you ever use butter? Or always margarine?

          • Deanna
            January 17, 2018

            Yeah, 1% can make a difference, due to the fat content of the milk (but better than skim!) Try whole milk (if don’t want to do whole milk, 2% would be good too, I have used that myself, I do tend to buy 2% Honestly whole does make taste good and because the fat, anything with fat just taste better LOL). Just cook it until start to thicken. That usually right before it starts to boil. When cooking it keep stirring till reminds you of thick cream soup, is the best way I can think to describe it. Honestly, since this recipe, I admit I do use unsalted butter, I do try to stay away from margarine. I think I am going to update this and put that in there 🙂

            • Colleen
              January 18, 2018

              Thanks Deanna, I’m going to keep on trying your recipe probably with butter though.

            • Deanna
              January 18, 2018

              You are welcome!

    • Colleen
      January 18, 2018

      Also have you ever tried powdered sugar instead of granulated in it?

      • Deanna
        January 18, 2018

        the Paula Deen recipe, yes. With Powdered sugar, have to start with a smaller than granulated and work up to get the correct amount. It because granulated is larger where powdered is granulated sugar but been pulverized to make it powdered

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