Thursday, December 10, 2015

Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach

Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach

I have been putting off making rugelach for years.  I would always get motivated, buy the ingredients, and then get sidetracked by work or my kid or just procrastinate and forget about the project all together.  I realize that this does not speak volumes about my work ethic.  On the upside, I finally made them and so glad I did.

This is what I have learned:

1.)  Homemade rugelach is a million times better than anything bought in a bakery or God forbid bought in mass quantity at a grocery store.  Seriously, respect yourself and your comrades.  Don't buy it, make it.

2.)  Once the dough is made, it is easier to make than cookies, cake, or cupcakes.  Just spread on your toppings, slice it, roll it, spread it with some cream, sprinkle with sugar, and into the oven.  

3.) This is a fantastic cookie to experiment with different fillings/flavors.  I love that the dough makes four discs which means four different flavor combinations.  

4.) There are a lot of dough recipes out there and the "best" ingredient combinations that make the most superior rugelach are hotly debated in the blog world.  As I was working on this post, Ms. Smitten Kitchen came out with her new version of less hassle rugelach.  She is pretty adamant about not putting sugar in the dough, and I put sugar in my dough.  I look at this as a slight difference of opinion...although, I love her blog and all of the recipes I use from it produce excellent results, so I feel bad even writing that.  Good news for her is that she has about a bazillion followers to my five.

5.)  If you bring rugelach to your family with young kids in a cookie tin, the tin doubles as a drum.

6.) The best time to take pictures of food in my house is in the morning on a bright, sunny day with the light shining on the table in my kitchen.  Any other time produces pictures like those above of the rugelach.

Recipe below adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking.


For the dough:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose, non-bleached, plain white flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the filling and topping:

8 tablespoons raspberry jam
8 tablespoons semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1 cup toasted walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 tablespoon heavy cream
4 teaspoons turbinado sugar mixed with a pinch of cinnamon

To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a stand mixed fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on low speed until blended.  Add the cream cheese and butter and mix until large clumps of dough form.  Add the sour cream and vanilla and mix just until blended.

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.  Gather each portion into a ball and flatten into a disk about 4 inches in diameter.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

Position a rack in the middle of the  oven, and preheat to 375 degrees.  Line a rimless baking sheet with parchment paper.  Have all of your filling ingredients ready to go so you can work quickly.  The colder the cookie going into the oven, the better the result.

Remove 1 disk from the refrigerator.  Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll out the dough into a 10-inch round.  Spread a thin layer of raspberry jam evenly over the dough leaving a 3/4 inch border.  Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the chocolate chips and walnuts, if using.  Press them gently into the dough.

Using a pizza cutter or a large sharp knife, cut the dough round into 12 equal parts.  Starting at the widest end of the cut dough, roll each part up tightly to the pointed end.  Place the point side down on the prepared baking sheet.  Once all of the parts have been rolled and put on the baking sheet, brush each lightly with the heavy cream.  Sprinkle all lightly with the sugar and cinnamon mixture and immediately put it into the pre-heated oven.  Bake until the cookies are a very light caramel color, about 22-25 minutes.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes and then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.  Repeat with the remaining disks.

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