Saturday, December 23, 2017

Rugelach, Delicate Festive Cookies.

December is undoubtedly one of the busiest months of the year. The holidays and their anticipation take a toll on us but they definitely bring unparalleled joy and warmth!

Though this year I did not have much time to think of an elaborate Christmas menu as my energy level is a bit down, I managed to determine one of the menu's sweet items.

I recently tried and really loved a sweet cookie called rugelach. I was not really sure how the cookies' name should be pronounced but I was certain that I found cookies that are worth featuring on my Christmas table or any other festive table.

These crescent shaped cookies were brought to America by the Asheknazi immigrants. The original recipe was leavened with yeast and sour cream was added for flavor and moisture. However, in the last century, the sour cream was dropped and replaced with cream cheese and the dough was no longer fermented.

The cream cheese adds an incredible softness to the dough and the butter makes it flaky and crumbly. The dough is usually stuffed with jam, chocolate and nuts all dusted with cinnamon. The filling can be customized to your liking; as longer as you like the ingredient, use it!

These cookies will captivate you with their aromatic, flaky and satisfyingly rich flavor.

Let´s make some rugelach.

 For the dough you need: (enough for 24 small pieces)
  • 170 g all purpose flour 
  • 160 g cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 140 g cold cream cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • 20 g sugar
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt
In a big bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, zest, cinnamon and butter and mix with the paddle attachment until you get a sandy mixture. You can also use your pastry blender. Add the cream cheese and mix until well combined.

Divide the dough into 3 equal parts, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

For the filling:
  • 150 g orange jam
  • 70 g chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 60 g sugar
  • about 50 g dark chocolate
  • 1 and half  tsp cinnamon.

On a generously floured surface, roll the dough (keep the other 2 parts in the fridge while you roll the first one) to about 20 to 22 cm disk of 2-3 mm thick.

Spread about 50 g of the jam, leaving 1 cm away from the edge. Cut the disk in 4 parts, then each part into 2 triangles. Sprinkle 20 g of the sugar, half tsp of the cinnamon, a generous sprinkle of pecans and the grated chocolate.

Roll each triangle into a crescent shape and tuck the edge on the bottom side to prevent the rugelach from opening while baking. Once you finish rolling you need to put the rugelach again in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

Repeat the same process with the remaining dough.

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Brush each cookie with milk, cream or egg wash. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and bake for 20 to 25 min or until golden brown.

As they bake, the cookies will fill your home with an irresistible Christmas aroma wafting from the cinnamon, the orange, the nuts, the chocolate and the dough itself. A heavenly mix!   I am sure you won't be able to wait for the cookies to cool completely before eating one or two.

With this recipe, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Keep on baking!

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