I'll be taking a break from blogging until the New Year, but before Flavia's Flavors goes on vacation, I wanted to share one last recipe with you. Rugelach are my favorite cookie. I love these more than Chocolate Chip cookies, and that's saying something because I love Chocolate Chip cookies.
I started making Rugelach about three years ago after watching an episode of Barefoot Contessa. I had come across the recipe in her Barefoot Contessa Parties cookbook, but never paid much attetion to it. Now, these cookies are a permanent fixture on my holiday cookie-baking roster. As much as I would love to include them in the holiday cookie gifts that I ship to my out-of-town friends and family, they are simply too fragile, so I make them to share with our friends and family members here in Houston. And they never last long. Why would they when you have sweet-tart apricot preserves, plump raisins, crunchy walnuts, and cinnamon sugar sprinkled both in and on a pillowy cream cheese dough crescent? They're heavenly. Making these is a little time-consuming, but well worth the effort--just watch the reactions of your friends when they eat one and you'll be glad you spent the time making these.
Before I give you the recipe, I want to thank all of you for your support of Flavia's Flavors. For your kind emails and comments. For the new friendships we've made. I wish you all a joyful and peaceful holiday filled with family, friends, reflection, laughter and delicious food!
Happy New Year!
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 9 tablespoons
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in the food processor
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk (for egg wash)
To make the dough
in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cheese and butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, salt and vanilla extract. With the mixer on low speed, add in the flour and mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Transfer the dough onto a well-floured board and form it into a ball. Divide the dough into quarters and form each dough quarter into a small, flat disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or overnight.
To make the filling
In a bowl, combine 6 tablespoons of the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins and chopped walnuts and mix well with a fork to incorporate all the ingredients.
Assembling the Rugelach
Tip: If you have refrigerated your dough rounds overnight, remove them from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you start rolling out the dough so they are soft enough to roll out easily.
On a well-floured board, roll each round of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons of the pureed apricot preserves and sprinkle evenly with some of the walnut-raisin-sugar filling. Press the filling very lightly into the dough using your fingertips. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges--first by cutting the circle in quarters, then by cutting each quarter into thirds. Don't worry if the wedges aren't exactly equal in size--mine never are!
Take each wedge and starting with the wide edge, carefully roll each one up to form a crescent, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat this process with each round of dough until all the rugelach are completed. Refrigerate the unbaked cookies for 30 minutes to an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place the rugelach on parchement-lined baking sheets about 1 inch apart. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of the granulated sugar with the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Beat the egg with the milk to make the egg wash. Brush each rugelach lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotaing the baking sheets halfway through the baking time, until lightly browned. Cool the rugelach completely on the baking sheets. Store the cookies in a single layer between sheets of parchment paper in an airtight container.
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