Thursday, December 22, 2011


Rugelach, meaning "rolled cookie," is a traditional Jewish recipe.  It can be eaten any time of the year but is most popular around the holidays.  Lots of variations exist, but the most common types involve a crescent shaped pastry dough filled with cinnamon sugar, dried fruit and nuts.  This is a delicious treat to make for the holidays, and a welcome change from the usual heavy, chocolate laden goods (not that we're complaining)!  This recipe is derived from Ina Garten's Rugelach Recipe.  The dough is made from very simple ingredients: butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and flour.  That I have kept the same.  I've come up with my own twist on the filling.  Hope you enjoy!
  • For the dough
    • See Ina Garten's Recipe:
      • 8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
      • 2 sticks of unsalted  butter, softened
      • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      • 2 cups of AP flour
  • Filling 
    • 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
    • 1 cup of water
    • 1 cup of granulated sugar
    • 1 cup golden raisins
    • 1 cup of chopped walnuts
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
    • 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar
  • Topping
    • Eggwash (1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water or milk)
    • 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • First make the dough by creaming together the cream cheese and butter using a mixer on medium speed.  Mix until well combined and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes)
  • With the mixer still on medium speed, slowly add the granulated sugar and the vanilla extract
  • Next, turn the mixer on low and slowly add the flour, mixing until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl and a nice soft dough is formed
  • Take the dough out of the bowl and roll into a large ball on a floured surface
  • Then divide the dough into four equal sections (if you have a kitchen scale, use it to ensure each section is equal weight).  Then wrap the four sections in plastic wrap, and flatten into a small disc
  • Chill the four discs in the fridge for at least one hour
  • While the dough is chilling, start readying the ingredients for the filling.  Place the cranberries, 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan on the stove over medium-high heat
  • Allow the mixture to come to a boil for a few minutes, allowing the cranberries to "pop."  Next, reduce the heat to a simmer.  Allow the mixture to reduce to a thick jam-like consistency over low heat, stirring frequently
  • Once it thickens to the desired consistency (about 20-30 minutes), remove from heat and allow to cool.  You are going to be spreading this cranberry "jam" over the dough so it should be thin enough to spread but not so thin that it runs all over
  • Mix together the other filling ingredients: walnuts, golden raisins, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon
  • Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and place on a floured piece of parchment paper.  Roll the dough into a 9-inch circle.  If you have to slice a few edges off to achieve a circle shape that's fine
  • Using a spatula, spread a thin layer of the cranberry jam over your dough circle
  • Next, sprinkle a portion of the raisin/walnut/sugar mixture evenly over the jam and use the bottom of a measure cup to gently press the toppings into the dough
  • Next, use a pizza cutter to cut the pastry into 8 equal triangles
  • Now roll the triangles up into crescent shapes starting with the wide ends
  • Place the crescents onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill them for 30 minutes.  Repeat the above process with the other 3 discs of pastry dough.
  • While the rugelach is chilling, pre-heat the oven to 350 and assemble the ingredients for the topping: the egg-wash and the cinnamon-sugar mixture
  • Once the rugelach have chilled, brush the tops with egg-wash and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar.  Then bake for about 20 minutes, until they are golden-brown.  Rotate half-way through to ensure even browning.  
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Then enjoy!  These keep for several days in an air-tight container.  This recipe makes about 32 rugelach.  Makes a beautiful and delicious party treat!

Keep in mind there are a lot of possibilities with this recipe.  You can use any combination of jam/preserves, dried fruit and nuts that you desire.  I love the look and taste of golden raisins with cranberries...which is why I do it this way.  Be creative!  Merry Christmas! (Or perhaps Happy Hanukkah would be more appropriate here)!

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