Monday, December 03, 2012

Flaky Nut and Honey Rugelach


Do you ever get into those baking streaks where you make something over and over again until you get the perfect recipe? My friend, Marie, made a pie every single day for I don't know how long until she got her crust just right. My friend, Anna, always has a "best of" cookie baking project going on. My latest obsession is Rugelach.

Rugelach are crescent-shaped pastries that are Jewish in origin. They have a tender cream cheese dough, and are filled with a variety of yummy things, and shaped into crescents. Usually, they are little cookies, but I've local coffee shops serve great big croissant-size versions of rugelach.



My favorite local rugelach are served at the Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters store in Pittsford Plaza (shown above). The pastry is rolled super thin and filled with a cinnamon and nut filling. The rugelach are tender and nutty and cinnamony and not super sweet.

During last year's Christmas cookie baking, I made a few different rugelach -- all cookie sized -- in an effort to make something like the Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters version. I didn't succeed in replicating it, but I ended up with something I like almost as well. Instead of having a tender cream cheese dough, it was flaky like a croissant. I'll keep trying to replicate the Finger Lakes Coffee version, but in the meantime, this version is also excellent.

Nut and Honey Rugelach
Recipe by Emma Christensen, originally published in The Chicago Tribune. For additional filling ideas, go to her original post.

Prep: 45 minutes
Chill: 2 hours, 20 minutes
Bake: 20 minutes
Makes: about 64 cookies

Note: This recipe can be halved or doubled as needed. The rugelach can be stored in an airtight container for three days or frozen for up to three months.

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (8 ounces) cold cream cheese, cubed
2 sticks (1 cup) cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg yolk
1 batch filling, see recipes below
Confectioners' sugar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a food processor; scatter cream cheese and butter over the flour. Pulse 10 to 12 times until coarse crumbs form.

2. Whisk together the vanilla and yolk in a bowl; pour over the butter-flour mixture. Pulse continuously until the dough starts to clump together and form large curdlike pieces. Turn the dough out onto the counter; gather the pieces into a ball. Divide into four portions; flatten each into 1-inch thick disks. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

3. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle the counter and rolling pin with powdered sugar. Take one disk of dough from the refrigerator; let it warm on the counter, 1-2 minutes. Roll the dough from the center out into a circle about 1/8-inch thick. Don't worry if a few cracks form near the edges. Use more powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking.

4. Spread the filling evenly over the surface of the dough. Slice the dough into 16 wedges, like a pizza, using a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Roll up each wedge, beginning at the wide outer edge and moving inward. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make sure the tip is tucked underneath.

5. Refrigerate cookies on the baking sheet, 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare remaining batches. Bake until the cookies are golden-brown, 20-25 minutes. Cool on the sheet, 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack.

Nut filling: In a food processor, grind 1 cup walnuts and 1 cup pecans until they break into tiny crumbs, 30 to 40 pulses. (Be careful of over-processing and making nut-butter.) Combine the ground nuts in a bowl with 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) melted butter, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Notes:
- I did not receive any free product or compensation from any of the businesses mentioned in this post.
- A version of this post appears in my blog on the Flavors of Rochester website.

1 comment:

Sarah @ a dash and a pinch said...

This look great! I only wish I wasn't allergic to nuts, but I'll have to look into making some without them. I've been searching for a great Chanukah dessert recipe for ages!

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