Saturday, September 8, 2012


So a funny thing has happened since I started this blog. I called (and continue to call) myself a haphazard baker because I bake through adversity (or laziness..) Last week I ran out of vanilla and just baked without it for a couple of days because I was too cheap to go buy some pure vanilla, for example. But today I bought a rolling pin, an item I had never purchased for some reason I can't explain. I have literally been using my hands and just flattening out dough for sugar cookies and pies for like three years. But today I got a little less haphazard an a little more legit, which was kind of weird to me!

Aside from my quasi growth as a baker, today I made rugelach. I'm sorry, I don't think you heard me. Today I made RUGELACH. I have wanted to make this recipe for years and years and years. I don't know why I never did (maybe the rolling pin requirement?) because they weren't difficult at all! And they are AMAZING. I'm a little giddy about them if you can't tell. I love baking things from other cultures. I feel this odd connection to the past knowing these recipes have been around for hundreds of years. 

Adapted from the fantastic website The Shiska In the Kitchen
1c Flour
1/8tsp Salt
1tbsp Sugar
1/2c Butter (softened)
4oz Cream Cheese (softened)
2tbsp Sour Cream

For the filling
3/4c Chopped Walnuts
1/2c Dark Chocolate Chips
1/4c Raspberry Preserves 
2tbsp Brown Sugar

For the topping
1 Egg
1tsp Water
Cinnamon Sugar

OVEN: 375F
BAKE: 20-23min

1. Cream together the butter, cream cheese, and sour cream in a standing mixer until smooth. 

2. Add in the sugar and salt and then slowly add in the flour until it is incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. 

3. Mold the dough with your hands into to equally-sized balls. Wrap them in syran wrap and then refrigerate for at least two hours. I kept mine in there over night and the dough turned out nice and flaky. But, if you're in a time crunch, that's ok!

4. While your dough is chilling (or the next day) put the walnuts over medium heat on a stove top and toast them. I think it took about ten minutes for me to toast mine. You're looking for a nice, nutty aroma and a slight darkening of the nut skin. 

5. Put the hot nuts into a food processor and combine with the brown sugar, chocolate, and preserves until smooth. This will be quite sticky and decently thick. 

I should take this moment to tell you I own the smallest food processor possible, and when I put all of the ingredients into it I could hear the motor starting to burn up, so if you have a tiny processor like me, ground the nuts and sugar first, then add the chocolate, and add the preserves at the very last minute. 

6. In a small ramakin, whisk together the egg and water and set aside. 

7. Have your cinnamon sugar on hand as well. 

8. Turn your oven on (if you haven't already) and take one of the balls of dough and place it on a floured surface. Roll the dough out until it is roughly the size of a 9inch cake pan. Pick the dough up to make sure it isn't stuck to the counter. 

9. Spread the filling onto the dough, leaving about 1.5inches around the edges.

10. Cut into eight equal pieces and then roll up like so: 

11. Place onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the other seven pieces. You can either put this pan in the fridge and roll out the other ball of dough or go ahead and cook this batch and roll out the next batch while its cooling.

12. Brush with the egg mixture. A nice side note--apparently I'm not as un-haphazard as I was beginning to think, because I don't own a pastry brush.. and I had to use this (unused, mind you) foam craft brush. Yep. 

13. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake!

These are not going to be super sweet (like most European desserts) but the dark chocolate and raspberry combine with the wonderfully creamy pastry dough and make magic. Magic, I tell you! I wish I'd made more.. 

p.s. I had some filling left, so I put it on cinnamon graham crackers. And it was delicious. 

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