Christmas Essentials: Making Rugelach

ImageWhen I was growing up, rugelach were just another kind of cookie my mum made for Christmas.  I didn’t realize until I was older that they’re Jewish, not traditional Christmas cookies.  We always had cut out sugar cookies, fudge, rum balls, truffles, and rugelach.  My mum learned the recipe from her jewish college roommate’s professional chef mother, and they’re delicious!  Not overly sweet, but always some of the first cookies to go, a batch never lasted more than a few days.  

They take a little bit of time to make and longer than regular cookies to bake, but they’re so worth it.  

Here’s how they’re made:

Mom’s Rugelach

Ingredients

Dough:

1  cup Unsalted butter, softened

1 8 oz. package Cream Cheese, slightly softened

1/2 tsp. Salt

2.5 cups All purpose flour

Chocolate-walnut filling:

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Fruit and nut filling: 

1/4 cup sugar

1  tsp. cinnamon

1/4 cup apricot jam (or strawberry or peach, but we always did apricot)

1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

Glaze (optional–I leave this out and so does she)

1 egg yolk

1 tsp water

2 tbsp. sugar

1. In large bowl, with electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and cream cheese until light and well blended.  Beat in salt.  On low speed, gradually beat in flour until dough just comes together.  If dough begins to run up the beaters, stir in the last bit of flour by hand.

2. With lightly floured hands, divide dough into four equal pieces.  Form each piece into a round ball, flatten slightly, and wrap individually in plastic wrap. At this point the dough can be wrapped tightly and frozen; thaw in fridge before processing.  

3. When ready to bake, prepare fillings and heat oven to 350.  Adjust two racks to divide oven into thirds

4. For both fillings, in small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside

5. On lightly floured surface, roll one piece of chilled dough into 9″ circle (leave remaining dough balls in refrigerator until ready to roll).  Don’t be concerned about a slightly uneven edge.

6. To make the chocolate walnut rugelach, sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar mixture over south to edges.  Sprinkle evenly with half the chocolate morsels and nuts, pressing them lately with a rolling pin. Repeat with a second portion of the doubt.

7. To make fruit and nut rugelach, spread 2 tablespoons jam over dough to edges. Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar mixture over gym to edge. Sprinkle with half the nuts, pressing them and lately as before. Repeat with remaining portion of dough.

8. With long sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut down into 12 higher sheet wedges. Roll up each wedge from the outside to the point so that cookies resemble tiny croissants. Place cookies, point site down, about 1 inch apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Repeat with remaining doing fillings

9. To glaze, next together and yoke with water and use mixture to brush top of each cookie. Sprinkle with sugar.

10. Bake 32 to 35 minutes, until golden, reversing sheets once during baking. Immediately transfer cookies to wire racks and cool completely.

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Here’s my dough, all rolled out, and covered in cinnamon-sugar, chopped pecans (I used pecans, walnuts are also delicious) and baby chocolate chips.

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Hard to see, but all cut into wedges. I had rolled two cookies at this point. I like to make my rugelach thinner than the recipe calls for, which makes them harder to roll up, but you get to eat more without feeling guilty : )

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One dough-ball of rugelach (1/4 the total recipe), ready for the oven. Messy is okay; they’ll still taste delicious

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Baking in the toaster oven! They smelled so delicious I had to take a picture. I baked them with the convection fan on, so they baked in about 28 minutes (I also did a single sheet at a time, not two sheets)

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All done! Good luck letting them cool before attacking.

One of the nice things about this recipe is you can make a bunch of the dough at once and then just bake a partial batch at a time (I did one dough ball out of the four this recipe makes–the rest are in the fridge and will get made tomorrow or the next day).  If you make them all at once, they will still disappear as quickly as if you made just a few.  

Enjoy!  More baking shares to come : )

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