Wednesday, September 24, 2008

rugelach for a sweet new year


I took a second and third shot at rugelach this week, and the results were a huge improvement. (Yay!) Part of it is probably figuring out how to manage my ridiculous oven, and part of it is the bastardized mishmosh of a recipe I pulled together from a Gourmet recipe (the dough and a part of the method), the KAF recipe (filling #1), and some random online recipe (filling #2). Y'all regular readers know I don't usually publish recipes from books, but I think it's fair to make an exception in this case. So, despite that I still have no pictures, here's my amalgamated recipe, without further ado:

Dough:
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
1 8-ounce package reduced fat cream cheese
1/3 cup (2 3/8 ounces) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups (9 ounces) unbleached, all-purpose flour*

Beat butter and cream cheese until light. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Stir in flour and salt (I continued using the mixer, but beat until just incorporated). Gather dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, then flatten (in wrap) into a roughly 7- by 5-inch rectangle. Making the dough takes approximately 5 minutes - it comes together super fast. Chill until firm, 8 to 24 hours.

Filling #1 - Cranberry-Pecan or Cranberry-Pecan-Chocolate Chip
1 cup (4 5/8 ounces) dried cranberries
3/4 cup (3 ounces) pecans, toasted, and cooled
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, optional

Combine all filling ingredients, except mini chocolate chips, in the food processor and pulse a few times. (This tastes seriously good. I defy you not to eat it with a spoon, but try to save some for actually filling the rugelach.)

Filling #2 - Chocolate Chip
1 tablespoon cocoa (use good stuff - it's worthwhile!)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 to 2/3 cup mini-chocolate chips

In a small bowl, stir together cocoa, cinnamon, and sugar. Measure the chocolate chips into a second bowl and set aside.

Other Ingredients:
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup apricot preserves
a few tablespoons milk or cream
2 tablespoons coarse sugar or demerara sugar

Method:
This sounds complicated, but it's pretty easy, just a little time-consuming. Once you get the hang of rolling out the dough, it actually moves pretty fast. Also, you're going to use a lot of parchment. I know, wasteful, but easier and neater to deal with.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom of a 1- to 1 1/2-inch-deep large shallow baking pan with parchment paper. I used a shallow roasting pan - otherwise, you could use two 9x13 pans.

Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Wrap 3 pieces in plastic wrap and return to the fridge. Roll out fourth piece into a 12- by 8-inch rectangle on a lightly-floured piece of parchment with a floured rolling pin. Transfer parchment to a tray and chill while rolling out remaining dough in same manner, stacking each sheet of parchment on tray.

Remove bottom piece of dough, since it will have been chilling the longest. Arrange on work surface with a long side nearest you. At this point, I gently peeled the dough from the parchment and flipped it over (this kind of wards off any unwanted surprises of the dough sticking when you try to roll it up. Plus, the side that was the top has a little flour on it, so it won't stick to the parchment when you flip it). Brush dough gently with 1-2 tablespoons apricot preserves.

For cranberry-pecan rugelach, sprinkle about 1/4 cup filling over jam, leaving about 1/2" border around the top and sides. (If desired, sprinkle on 1 to 2 tablespoons of mini chocolate chips. They complement the other flavors really nicely.) Roll up dough tightly into a log. Pinch the ends closed and tuck underneath. Place, seam side down, in lined baking pan.

For chocolate chip rugelach, sprinkle about 2 to 3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips over jam, and then sprinkle 2 tablespoons cocoa/cinnamon/sugar mixture over, leaving about 1/2" border around the top and sides. Roll up tightly into a log. Pinch the ends closed and tuck underneath. Place, seam side down, in lined baking pan.

Make 3 more logs in same manner and arrange 1 inch apart in pan. Brush logs with milk or cream and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of sugar. With a sharp large knife, make 3/4-inch-deep cuts crosswise in dough (not all the way through) at 1-inch intervals. (If dough is too soft to cut, chill until firmer, 20 to 30 minutes.)

Bake until golden, 35 to 45 minutes. Place pan on a rack and cool until cookies are just warm, about 30 minutes, then transfer logs to a cutting board and slice cookies all the way through.

Notes:
1. One batch, I chilled overnight in the fridge. The second batch, I chilled for about an hour in the freezer. The results seemed identical, so it's probably just a matter of how much time you've got.

2. Filling #1 actually calls for dried cherries and walnuts, but I had dried cranberries and pecans, so that's what I used. I think it was totally comparable and very delicious.

3. Each filling recipe makes enough for one recipe of dough. In other words, if you're making one recipe of dough, and you want to try both fillings, halving each recipe should be sufficient.

Serve to grateful friends and family. Perfect for Rosh Hashanah, or pretty much any other day of the year. And you'd better make them, because it took me a damn long time to type all of this up. (Way to begin the new year... threatening the readership.)
* ETA: Yeah, I just reread this and realized that 2 cups doesn't equal 9 ounces of flour. However, I can tell you that I used 9 ounces, for what it's worth.

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1 comment:

justJENN said...

OMG I want some! I don't want to make it just give it to me.