I grew up in Northern New Jersey, and there were a lot of Jewish people in my town and most of the surrounding towns, so rugelach was in all the bakeries. And I love me a good bakery.
I looked up rugelach on the Wikipedia and, frankly, it wasn’t much help. It was a lot of “it might mean this” or “it might mean this”. Plus there was a big banner at the top saying “This article’s factual accuracy is disputed.” The bold type was there – I didn’t add it. It was pretty certain that it came from Hebrew, though, so fine.
Anyway, all that aside I’m reading all this and getting hungry so screw it – I’ll figure it out.
I know you can make rugelach in tons of different flavors, I chose raspberry because I like raspberry and I have raspberry preserves in the house. Case closed. Let’s do this.
- 2 ½ cups flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 ½ t cinnamon
- 2 ½ t nutmeg
- ½ t salt
- 1 cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 8 oz cream cheese, cold, cut into small pieces
- 2 eggs, separated
- 2 egg yolks (these are in addition to the 2 eggs above)
- ½ cup almonds
- 1 cup raspberry preserves
- 2 T heavy cream
- 1 T cold water
- 3 T coarse decorating sugar
DirectionsWe’re basically kind of making a pastry dough here, so it’s going to take some time and effort.
Start with the dry ingredients – in a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Make sure they’re really well combined.
If you have a food processor or a standing mixer use that for this next step.
Put the butter and cream cheese into a separate bowl. If you have a food processor or standing mixer, pulse them. If not, use your hand mixer in short bursts. Basically, you want to mix them together roughly. What I mean by that is, unlike most doughs, you don’t want everything perfectly blended and smooth. You want to get the batter to where you can still see some bits of butter and cream cheese in the mix.
Next, take one egg and the two egg yolks and pulse again a few times until they’re part of the mixture. Finally, add in the dry ingredients and roughly combine them with the butter/cream cheese/egg mixture. You should still be able to see some bits of butter and cream cheese – you still don’t want a perfectly smooth batter.
Next, lightly flour a work surface as well as your hands, pick up the dough, and let it slowly droop down onto the floured work surface. Take that dough, and divide it into 4 equal parts.
Take each part and shape it into a circle, about an inch thick, no more. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Have a drink – this has already been very stressful.
While the dough is chillin’ we can toast the almonds. Spread the almonds on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven at 350. After about 4 minutes, take them out and turn them with a spatula. Put them back in the oven for another 4 minutes and then take them out. The timing here is approximate – you basically want them lightly browned and fragrant. Your kitchen will smell awesome.
Chop the nuts into small pieces and set them aside.
After the hour is up, take out one of the dough circles and put it on a floured surface. Roll it out until it’s about 10 inches around. Take about 4 tablespoons (quarter cup) of the raspberry preserves and spread them around the center of the dough, not quite to the edge. Think of how they do tomato sauce on pizza.
Next, take a quarter of the chopped almonds and spread them evenly over the preserves. Lightly press the almonds into the dough with the palm of your hand.
Take a pizza cutter (yup, we’re back to pizza) and cut the dough into 10 triangular pieces. Roll each dough slice like you’d roll a crescent roll, starting with the larger edge and rolling inward.
Place the rolled dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, and then repeat that whole process with the second disk. You can do the third and fourth disks while these two are baking.
In a small bowl, whisk together the second egg along with the heavy cream and the water. Brush each cookie with this egg wash and sprinkle with the decorating sugar. (Somehow, I neglected to take any photos of this step Ugh – sorry!)
Bake at 350 for 30 or so minutes, until the cookies are a nice golden brown (remember your oven may vary, so just start watching them around 27 minutes or so into the process). Take the sheets out of the oven and let the cookies cool on the sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack. Do the same again with the remaining two dough circles, and you’ve made yourself 40 rugelach! (rugelachs? rugelai?)