After joining the wonderful group of TWD for 8 months, it's finally my turn to pick a recipe for the week! How exciting!
I chose rugelach, because it has all the ingredients that most people would love, that is, chocolate, jam and nuts! And the process is more challenging and involves more work than other conventional cookies.
The making of rugelach has proven to be much more trickier than I thought. I made the cookies twice, with the first attempt being a complete disaster. The first piece of dough was torn when jam was spread on it. I had to roll it into a log, then cut the log up horizontally to form pinwheels. Second dough was slightly better, but thanks to my clumpsy hands, the rugelach turned out to be in odd sizes and shapes.
Determined to make a better looking rugelach, I tried the recipe out again the next day. In order to make a clean cut to the flattened dough, since I do not have a pizza wheel or a very sharp knife, the dough was cut right after I spread a layer of my homemade peach jam on it. After that, the chocolate bits, almonds and raisins were sprinkled on individual triangle. The amount of raisins has been reduced as well because the jam has pieces of orange peels in it.
The rugelach looked better this time. The buttery and flaky cookies received rave reviews from hubby's colleagues, and they had fun guessing what's inside the morsel-sized treats.
On a final note, if you think that my rugelach appears to be bigger, yes, they are. I just realised my mistake when I typed the recipe out, I cut the dough into 8 triangles instead of 16! ;-)
(From Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours)
For the dough
4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces (See Note below)
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces (See Note below)
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling
2/3 cup raspberry jam, apricot jam or marmalade ((I used peach jam)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts or almonds)
1/4 cup plump, moist dried currants ((I used raisins)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
For the glaze
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cold water
2 tablespoons sugar, preferably coarse sugar
For the dough
1) Let the cream cheese and butter rest on counter for 10 minutes. It should be slightly softened but cool.
2) Put the flour and salt in a food processor, scatter over the chunks of cream cheese and butter and pulse the machine for 6 to 10 times. Then process, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, just until the dough forms large curds. Do not work the dough too long that it forms a ball on the blade.
(Note: I used a stand mixer and I find that it's easier to process by cutting the cream cheese and butter into cubes of 1-cm)
3) Remove the dough from the food processor, divide into half, shape each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to a day. (Wrap airtight, the dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.)
To make the filling
1) Heat the jam in a saucepan over low heat, or microwave until it liquefies. Mix sugar and cinnamon together.
2) Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats. (Silicone baking mats are great for rugelach.)
To shape the cookies
1) Pull one packet of dough from the refrigerator. If it is too firm to roll easily, leave it on the counter for about 10 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin.
2) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 11- to 12-inch circle. Spoon (or brush) a thin gloss of jam over the dough, and sprinkle over half of the cinnamon sugar.
3) Scatter over half of the nuts, half of the chopped chocolate and half of the currants. Cover the filling with a piece of wax paper and gently press the filling into the dough, then remove the paper and save it for the next batch.
4) Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 wedges, or trigangles. (The easiest way to do this is to cut into quarters, then cut each quarters into 4 pieces.)
5) Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough up so that each triangle becomes a little crescent.
6) Arrange the roll-ups on one baking sheet, making sure the points are tucked under the cookies, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (The cookies can be refrigerate overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; don't defrost before baking, just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.)
Getting ready to bake
1) Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degree F.
1) Stir the egg and water together. Brush a bit of the glaze over each rugelach. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar.
2) Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until they are puffed and golden.
3) Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to just warm or to room temperature.