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Rugelach

I’m baking and learning about new confections with the TWD baking group. This Tuesday’s recipe is rugelach. I had never eaten it or made it before. I wasn’t even sure how to pronounce it (the dictionary says rŭg’ə-ləKH). What I have learned is that rugelach are traditional Jewish pastry-like cookies. The fun part is they can have endless flavor combinations. A cream cheese dough is spread with jam, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, then filled with nuts, dried fruit, or even chocolate. Rugelach cookies can be rolled into a crescent shape or rolled and cut pinwheel style. As with every TWD blog post you can find the recipe at this week’s hosts: The Urban Hiker and My Baking Heart.

So this baking adventure took me three days. The first day I made the cream cheese dough in my KitchenAid mixer.  I had no problems here and wrapped it well and let it sit in the refrigerator for the next day’s work.

Rolling and filling the dough was on the second day. This recipe calls for cut rugelach so each piece of dough was rolled into a rectangle 14 inches by 10 inches and 1/4 inch thick. I am really a novice at rolling out pastry or pie dough so this was a challenge for me. It was a little too thin in a few spots but it worked.

You take the rolled out dough and cut that in half lengthwise.  Then you trim the edges. This leaves you with two rectangles.

Just like spreading sauce on a pizza, you spread each half with your choice of jam. Traditional flavors are apricot and prune. I went with apricot and raspberry.

Then you sprinkle it with a brown-sugar cinnamon mixture and nuts. You could also add dried fruit here, but I kept it simple and skipped the fruit. You must press lightly here to keep the filling in place.

Last, starting with the long end of dough you roll up each rectangle jelly-roll style. This was really tough! Even though I skipped adding additional dried fruit I felt there was too much filling. It was really messy but fun.

These rolls get wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight. With this recipe I had four rolls total.

The third and last day I brushed these rolls with egg wash and sliced them into 1 inch wide pieces. The rugelach were then tossed in even more cinnamon-nut sugar. I baked them for about 24 minutes at 375 degrees F. This was a little less time than the recipe called for. The biggest challenge baking these rugelach was not letting the bottoms get too brown. I doubled up my cookie sheets to help keep the bottoms from burning. I really had to watch them closely the last few minutes to prevent them from burning.

This recipe was new to me so I tried to stick to it closely. When making them again I would like to try the more traditional crescent shape. It was really hard to keep these rolls together. I also thought this recipe called for too much filling and made a ton of extra cinnamon-nut sugar. I would reduce both of these.

Rugelach are delicious! Making these has inspired me to search around the internet for more rugelach recipes and ideas. Here are some interesting flavor combos I am kicking around for next time (found on the community boards on chow).

Heath Bar Rugelach: Nutella with Heath Bar toffee bits

Lemon Tart Rugelach: Lemon curd with white chocolate and toasted almonds (skip the cinnamon sugar and only sprinkle granulated sugar for this one)

Blueberry Rugelach: Blueberry preserves with dried blueberries, white chocolate, and toasted almonds

Russian Coffee Cake Rugelach: Chopped candied cherries with milk chocolate and walnuts

Peppermint Bark Rugelach: Crushed candy canes with white chocolate and dark chocolate

Turtle Rugelach: Caramel sauce, milk or dark chocolate chips and pecans

Thanksgiving Rugelach: Pumpkin butter, dried cranberries and pecans

Do you make rugelach? What are your favorite flavor combinations?

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