Monday, January 4, 2010


I've spent my entire life picking raisins out of cinnamon rolls, cookies, cakes, scones, pies. You name it, I've picked a raisin out of it. It's not that I detest raisins entirely, not at all. In fact, I've always enjoyed a box of Sunmaid raisins straight from the refrigerator and you'll find me mixing Raisinetes with my popcorn at the movies. But if it's been baked, plumped or heated - keep it at a reasonable distance - I've taken out a restraining order against it.

And so I'm making a traditional raisin dessert and leaving out the raisins - no need for me to pick them out of my own cooking. My apologies to any religious or ethnic groups that this offends. Yes, I'm a food globalizer.

In truth, there are a million varieties of rugelach (rugalach?) so I'm not really committing any new offenses to this amazing pastry. Still, making this clearly sacred cookie was an obvious reminder that I'm sooo not one of God's chosen people. I burned my thumb making the messiest, most unattractive rugelach I've ever seen.

I wanted to make both the apricot and the chocolate ruglelach found here. Only to realize that this recipe might be some sort of trap - for one thing 16 x 4 does not equal 50. I thought perhaps it was an honest mistake and decided to cut each circle into 12 pieces instead of 16. But the 1/2 inch thickness was way off. I googled the original author of the recipe Joan Nathan and found the correct instructions here.

I tried the apricot first; after seeing the mess that it turned out to be I looked up instructions on YouTube.

So it seems that the filling should really be spread in a ring and that one cup of jelly is quite excessive. (At this point, I remembered that episode of Sex and the City where Charlotte had to beg to be Jewish three times to prove her dedication.)

The dough was tricky to work with, being so sticky, and required that I roll it out between sheets of wax paper, then refrigerate for 15 minutes before removing paper, then adding filling and trying to roll-up, but if it got too sticky again in the few moments that it was out, I had to refrigerate again in order to roll without breaking the dough.

In the end, it was delicious and surprisingly edible. I changed the fillings a bit, as reflected below. I used mini chocolate chips but will only use dark chocolate in the future - probably without the sugar. Also, when she says to immediately remove from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack she isn't kidding. Don't think to yourself - ah, my wire rack doesn't really fit these things, I'll put parchment paper over it so they don't fall through. You'll be picking paper off of your cookies for half an hour.

Rugelach Dough
  • 8 ounces cream cheese (available at Jumbo)
  • 227 g. or 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
Apricot Filling
  • 3/4 cup apricot jam, slightly warmed
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Chocolate Filling
  • 1 cup shaved bittersweet or dark chocolate, or mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • dash of cinnamon
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup sugar

Combine cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, salt, lemon juice and vanilla in food processor. Pulse a few times before adding flour then pulse until soft dough is formed. (I used chunks of cool butter to make a flaky crust, some recipes instruct to cream the cheese and butter together--do whatever works for you). Place dough in bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Divide into 4 balls and roll out between sheets of wax paper into a 9 inch circle. (This is where I had to refrigerate the dough again for about 15 minutes).

Apricot filling:
Spoon jam onto the rolled-out dough (steering clear of the edges and middle). Combine the rest of the ingredients and sprinkle on top of jam. Slice dough into 12 wedges. Roll up each wedge, curved end first toward the point. You're suppose to bend the ends in like a croissant but mine weren't wide enough.

Chocolate filling:
Combine ingredients and spread on top of dough. Brushing the dough with a little melted butter first might not be a bad idea. Slice the circle of dough into 12 wedges and roll up each toward the point.

Brush the top of each rolled rugelach with the egg wash and sprinkle with a little sugar. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place rugelach about one inch apart and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. It's a good idea to rotate the pan half way through baking. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool immediately. Rolled-up dough can be frozen and baked later.

Luckily, it was delicious so I'll definitely try again - after buying an oven mit. I'm not giving up!


Julia (Color Me Green) said...

i've never been too into rugelach but this looks great. that last photo is such a good shot. got your thank you card btw, jesse and i thought it was very cute :-)

Katie said...

Oh, yum! I haven't had rugelach in ages. The apricot ones sound particularly good. I am trying not to use the oven too much right now with this awful heat, but these look like they'd be worth heating up the kitchen!

Susan said...

The first time I had rugelach was when I was working in a tiny village in upstate New York years and years ago. I've often considered trying to make them but just never have. I remember wanting to eat the entire tray of the apricot kind when I had them. YUM!!!! I might have to borrow your recipe for a rainy day. Thanks lady!!!

Emily Fede said...

Oh My God I love your Blog meag,I wanna do one too now!!! maybe ill make more friends here hehehehe or should i say jejejeje you will have to show me how to get started if you dont mind!!