Tuesday, December 21, 2010


New flash: There is still time to make these!! Do it now, find some very dear friends to share them with, and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee/tea/cocoa sitting around the fireplace Christmas eve (or in my case, frantically finishing wrapping my presents Christmas Eve after the church service). Either way, make these. Soon.

Granted, these won't be the most beautiful, elegant cookie you serve. In fact, they look rather sloppy and at times, ugly. That doesn't matter. Sometimes, beauty is more than skin deep and appearances don't matter.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that the name sounds like arugula, with the "ah" sound at the beginning. Thus, if tell someone that you are going to eat only rugelach for supper tonight, they'll be impressed with your desire to eat a salad for supper. You will want to eat just these for supper. Curtis has named these his favorite dessert that I make (his apple pie is his favorite dessert ever). For the record though, he has deemed several desserts as his favorite dessert.

This will make 32 cookies. If I know I am sharing these with anyone outside my family, I make a double batch, otherwise, Curtis starts to whine. When you make these, allow yourself time to let the dough refrigerate for 2 hours (or freeze it until you are ready to make it if it is going to be days or weeks).

adapted slightly from Baking: From my Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

4 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 c cold butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 c flour
1/4 t salt

2/3 c raspberry jam (you want this to be a rather thick kind)
2 T sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 c pecans, chopped
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (2/3 c mini-chocolate chips)

1 large egg
1 t cold water
2 T sugar (preferably turninado or coarse decorating sugar

To make the dough: Let the cream cheese and butter rest on the counter for 10 minutes so they are still cool, but a little softened. Put flour and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly to blend. Scatter the cream cheese and butter over top. Pulse the machine 6 - 10 times. Then process, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until the dough forms large curds (you don't want it to become a ball on the blade). Put the dough on a lightly floured work surface, gather it into a ball and divide it in half. Shape each half into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (you can also put the disks in the freezer and save it to finish much later).

To finish rugelach: Mix together 2 T sugar and 1/2 t cinnamon. Set aside. Remove one disk of dough from the fridge/freezer (if it's been the freezer, let it warm up on the counter for a little while). Remove the dough from the plastic wrap and place between two sheets of parchment paper (this makes for much easier rolling--you can also just lightly flour a work surface, but I've had better results with parchment---unlike what is pictured). Do the following as quickly as possible so the dough doesn't get to warm. Roll the dough into a 11 - 12" circle. Put dough circle back in the refrigerator for a few minutes to make it easier to handle. Remove dough from fridge and brush or spoon a thin gloss of jam over the dough. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar over top. Scatter half of the pecans and half of the chocolate over jam/cinnamon sugar.

Using a pizza cutter (that's right, friends! Multi-tasking kitchen tools!!), divide the circle into 16 wedges (in half and in half again and so on). Starting at at the fat end of each wedge, carefully roll up the dough (like a cinnamon roll, kind of). Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silcone mats. Once the baking sheet is full, refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking.

To bake: Remove rugelach from the fridge. Combine egg and water in a small bowl. Brush each rugelach with egg and water. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees oven from 20 - 25 minutes, rotating sheets from top to bottom at the midway point, until they are puffed and golden. Transfer to rack and let cool to just warm or room temperature (so jam/chocolate doesn't burn your mouth).

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