Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rugelach


Once upon a time, the evening news was reality TV, and the closest thing we had to food blogs were recipe cards passed along to family and friends. During this fabled age, my culinary view of the world was limited to potluck dinners, where something like cabbage rolls, Jello salads, and three-bean salads were examples of extreme cuisine.

In today's information age, we now have a panoramic view of the culinary landscape. Today the flavors of the world are at our fingertips, and that's what led to my first attempt at rugelach, a traditional Jewish pastry.

The first bite of the buttery, flaky rugelach reminded me of the scraps of pie dough sprinkled with cinnamon sugar that my mother would sometimes bake as an impromptu afternoon snack. By the second bite, I realized that rugelach might be the perfect companion for a little conversation and coffee.

The following recipe is from Carole Walter's outstanding book Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins, & More:


Rugelach

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cocoa powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves

  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

  • 1 cup mini-chocolate chips

  • 3/4 cup medium chopped walnuts or pecans (optional. My rugelach are nutless because Little Miss Pickyeater doesn't like nuts, unless they're good cashews)

Preparation:

  1. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven, and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. Combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the preserves with the zest. Set aside.

  3. Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator, and divide it in half. Reshape each half into a small rectangle. Working with one piece at time, place the dough on a lightly floured pastry board or other flat surface and roll into an 8 x 10-inch rectangle. Arrange the dough so the 10-inch side is parallel to the edge of the board or countertop.

  4. Using a spatula, spread the rectangle with 2 tablespoons of preserves, leaving a 3/4-inch margin on the far side of the sough. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of the sugar/cocoa mixture, followed by 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and nuts, if using.

  5. Brush the far edge and the side of the dough with the egg wash, then roll into a log, gently stretching the dough on either end as you roll. When the log measure approximately 12- inches long, use a dough scraper or sharp knife to cut into twelve 1-inch pieces. Place on the prepared pan and chill while shaping the remaining dough.

  6. Dip the top of each piece into the egg wash, then into the reserved nuts. Return to the pan and press the nuts gently into the top to adhere, flattening the cookie slightly.

  7. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the rugelach are golden brown. To ensure even baking, toward the end of baking time, rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back. Remove from the oven and let cool on pans for about 10 minute. Loosen rugelach from cookie sheet and place on cooling racks. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
Shalom,
muddy

8 comments:

Jenni said...

Eh, you said pie dough. That doesn't sound particularly appealing since it's the reason I'm not particularly fond of pie. However, I trust you, so I will probably try this recipe.

Thanks for the book recommendations, btw! I'll be looking for them as soon as I'm done with the one I'm working on now.

Nella said...

They look fabulous! Mission accomplished.

JoAAAnna said...

Those look wonderful! Your pictures turned out very well.

My mom did the pie crust with cinnamon sugar too. Must be something Grandma taught them.

Right Away, Great Captain! said...

T,
I should've checked this yesterday. The would've went great with my chili. I'll have to make them sometime. I made your pumpkin bars and they were a big hit. Hope things are well.
Eva

Marianne said...

These look great. I wonder what they would be like with some chopped cashews? Mmmmmm. I will have try these. Was the dough hard to work with? I've always used a yeast dough for these.

One Toothbrush said...

Do you have a recipe for homemade mac & cheese? If so, I'd love to see it.

muddywaters said...

Jenni: Pie rocks. I'd like to see pie more prevalent in Kansas.

Marianne: The dough was easy to work with, and I like the fact that I could freeze it.

Eva: Thanks for posting! I'm eager to read your blog. Remember, old fashioned cinnamon rolls are the perfect companion for chili. Any true Kansan knows this.

I'm glad the pumpkin bars worked out for you. I still remember the time you made pecan bars. I still have the recipe stored some place.

JoAnna: I'll have to ask my Mom if this was something grandma fixed on a regular basis. Thanks for the compliment on the photography.

muddywaters said...

Nella: Thanks!

OneToothBrush: I make a mac & cheese shepherd's pie that I might post soon.