First Things First

Confession time dear readers.  Though I’ve blogged others, this is the first recipe I made from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.  I didn’t tell you about these right away because I wanted to take my time, figuring out exactly what to say.

mise en placeWhich is kind of like the recipe–it takes a little time.

spreadBut, just,

rolledomg.

Can I use the word perfect?  Ladies and gentleman, if you, like me, are a Gentile, you may not be familiar with rugelach.  But you should be.  It’s the most buttery soft cookie, filled with EVERYTHING.  Deb taught me that most rugelach have no trouble falling into one category (fruit, cinnamon-sugar, nuts, chocolate), and sitting around complacently until someone reaches for them.  Of course, as she does so well with most everything she makes, she turns what you thought you knew about most rugelach upside down. She found a way to cram more sweetly filled goodness thank you could imagine into these little rolled crescents, until flavorful goodness oozes out of every seam.

And she found a ratio that yields 48 cookies.  Go her.

Leave yourself a little time in the coming days to get these ready.  I prepped all the filings and the dough one evening, and mixed everything together the next.   Totally manageable.

To make 48 rugelach, you will need:

For the dough:

  • 16 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 C flour

For the fillings:

  • 2/3 C raspberry jam (seedless if you can find it)
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 3 T pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 C finely chopped bittersweet (or the darkest you can find) chocolate

For the glaze:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. water

To make the dough, beat butter and cream cheese till light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  In medium bowl, combine salt and flour, then pour flour mixture into mixer.  Beat on low speed just till flour disappears.  Scrape dough onto large piece of plastic wrap and shape into flat disk.  Wrap well in plastic (I always put the plastic wrap in a Ziploc bag to ensure no air sneaks in and dries it out).  Chill dough in fridge for two ours, or up to 3 days.  Here’s to getting things done ahead of time.

To prep the fillings, stir the cinnamon and sugar together in one container or small bowl.  The chocolate goes in another, and the nuts, in a third.  Whisk the egg yolk and water toegher.  Just before you need it, microwave the jam so it thins out a bit, and is more easily spreadable.  Line up all those topping bowls.

Divide the chilled dough into thirds.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into a thin circle, about 12 inches in diameter.  Spread 2-3 T jam across dough, remembering that rugelach in which jam is not oozing out of the sides is hardly rugelach worth eating.  Sprinkle layer of jam with 3 T cinnamon sugar mixture, 2 T chopped chocolate, and 1 T chopped nuts.  Use a piece of waxed or parchment paper to press down on toppings and ensure they’re stuck like glue.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a pizza cutter, or sharp knife, divide circle into fourths.  Divide each fourth into fourths, till you have 16 pieces of a circle.  Fractions!  Starting from the outside edge of the circle, roll the dough towards the point in the center.  Transfer rugelach to a parchment-lined baking sheet, with the tip facing down.  Continue this process till all rugelach are assembled.  Brush each piece with egg wash, and sprinkle with remaining cinnamon sugar.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.  Serve cooled or lukewarm.

3 thoughts on “First Things First

  1. Pingback: Holiday Baking | a glass of milk

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