I always thought rugelach was reserved for deli’s and bakeries. It seemed like a complicated cookie that I’d rather have someone else make than try to do it myself. But this year I was invited to a cookie swap party and as I wondered which recipe I was going to bake, Deb Perleman from Smitten Kitchen posted this rugelach recipe. Her photos made them look too good not to try to make. And despite her warnings that this is a tedious process, I found it to be pretty easy. I made the dough the day before (in a food processor so it came together really fast) and I got into a meditative rhythm of rolling out the different quarters of dough, spreading the jam and then filling it with the nuts, chocolate and currant mixture.
As they cooked in the oven, the sweet buttery aroma of the cookies wafted through the house and I couldn’t wait to try them! When I posted it on Instagram I almost hash tagged the post #iwanttoeattheseallbymyself. Thank goodness for the cookie swap party! Otherwise I’d be left with 3 dozen rugelach.
…but maybe that wouldn’t be so bad.
Source: Smitten Kitchen
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter
1/2 pound (1 8-oz. package) cream cheese
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 T. ground cinnamon
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped small
1/3 cup dried fruit, chopped small; (I used tiny dried currants, no chopping needed)
1/2 to 3/4 cup jam (I used seedless raspberry, apricot is more traditional)
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp. water or milk
Remaining cinnamon-sugar from above
Make the dough:
- In a food processor: Place flour and salt in work bowl fitted with standard blade. Pulse to combine. Add cream cheese, chopped into large chunks, and run machine until it’s fully dispersed into the flour. Add butter in large chunks and run machine until dough starts to clump. Dump out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and form into a flattish disc.
Form the pastries:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Stir cinnamon and sugar together in a small dish. Combine coarse mixture of chocolate, nuts and dried fruit in a second dish.
- Divide dough into quarters and roll first quarter out on a floured counter into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 7 to 8 inches long, with the wider side to you.
- Thinly spread dough to all but the furthest 1/4 inch from you — which seals better once rolled if bare — with about 2 to 3 tablespoons jam. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar mixture, then 4 tablespoons coarse fruit and nut mixture
- Roll dough from the 12-inch side in front of you into as tight as a log as you can, using your fingers to lightly seal the ends onto the log. Repeat with remaining logs.
Bake and finish
- Place log of filled dough in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes; it will cut more cleanly once semi-firm. Trim ends* from log so they have a clean shape. Cut log into 10 to 12 even slices. Arrange on prepared baking sheets a couple inches apart from each other.
- Brush top of logs lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a total of 1 teaspoon of the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture per log.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown on top.
- Individual cookies need to cool only a few minutes on baking sheet before they can be transferred to a cooling rack.
*I trimmed the ends, but still brushed the egg wash and sprinkled them with sugar because they had filling in them and didn’t want any of the cookie to go to waste!