Well hello again! If you haven’t already noticed by now, I’ve been away for a while. I sincerely apologize for that. Believe me, it hasn’t been by any choice of mine. The holidays have kept me quite busy. Thanksgiving taught me that there is no limit to how much turkey I can eat. I know that it seems like I haven’t been working on the blog, but if you really think about it, I have been working on new recipes for the blog to share with you guys. I’ve teamed up with a few companies that I’m super excited to work with and although I can’t share the recipes or all of the details right at this moment, I do want you to know that some new and exciting recipes (that I’m most proud of, mind you) are coming to the blog very soon. And by very soon I mean a couple of weeks. I’m just itching to tell you guys all about them. To let the cat out of the bag and spill the beans but unfortunately I can’t just now. I can tell you though that these recipes I’m talking about are going to blow your socks off. Blow them clear across the country. I think that justifies my absence, right?
The other day I was video chatting with my mother—which by the way, I had no idea she even knew how to Facetime, but I gotta tell you she’s more of a pro than you and I could ever dream of being—so she proceeds to tell me that I’ve been neglecting my blog for far too long. She hasn’t gotten any email updates from me recently, and she’s worried that I’m going to lose all of my followers if I don’t post anything soon. Thanks mom. Now, I’m no cookie pro baker but I do have to inform you that I am a professional cookie eater. Don’t believe me? It’s on my resume. (It really isn’t on my resume, but how cool would that be?) Anyhow, as I was saying, my mother was throwing shade my way so I knew that I needed to get my act together.
After that, I wanted to get into the holiday cookie-baking spirit so I decided to think outside of the box for a bit. I didn’t want to share an easy recipe of something we’ve all seen far too many times. I wanted something that was unique and perhaps maybe even new to some of you. Rugelach sort of made all the sense in the world because you can easily fill it with whatever your heart desires. These are loaded with butter, cinnamon sugar, dark chocolate, cherries and pecans. I don’t think it gets any better than this, but luckily for me, I’m not complaining about the situation. Rugelach kind of look like croissants but the doughs are completely different from one another. This one is a little more dense than pie crust, but it’s still super delicious. If you’ve never made these before or have never tried them for yourself, I think it’s safe to say that you’ve been missing out. Don’t worry, you still have time to catch up to the rest of us. I’ll even help you eat your way through. I’m willing to take one for the team.
We start by making the dough, which depending on who you ask, isn’t all that complicated. You just need a lot of elbow grease to make it happen. That’s if you decide to make it by hand like I did. I wanted this experience to feel as authentic as possible (but really, I was just lazy to set up the mixer and/or food processor).
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add in the cold diced butter.
**Note: Make sure that the butter is super duper mega cold. This will ensure that the dough becomes flaky and tender. I recommend dicing the butter and then putting it back into the fridge or freezer for a bit until you’re ready to use it!**
Cut the butter into the dry ingredients, using a pastry blender, a potato masher, or your hands. Or just use a food processor and pulse until coarse crumbs form.
Add in the cold diced cream cheese and the sour cream.
Work the dough with a wooden spoon (or the paddle attachment on a stand mixer) until it comes together and is no longer dry. The dough should be somewhat smooth and moist.
**Note: It’ll take a few minutes for this to happen, so don’t think you’re doing something wrong. Just don’t give up and keep on truckin’.**
Divide it in half and then wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
**Note: The longer the dough chills the better it will become. Chilling gives the butter and streaks of cream cheese to firm up and get super cold, which is what makes for flaky puffs of air in the dough while baking.**
Once the dough has chilled, let’s get to rolling out, cutting, filling and rolling. Work with one half of dough at at time, leaving one in the fridge to chill longer.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one half of the dough into a large circle about a quarter of an inch thick.
**Note: It might crack when you first start to roll it, but just pinch the cracks together and continue rolling. It’ll get smooth.**
Cut the edges of the dough to make a perfect (or somewhat perfect) smooth circle.
Brush the dough with melted butter. The more melted butter, the better. Too much should never be associated with the word, butter.
Sprinkle with lots of the cinnamon sugar, chopped dark chocolate, cherries, and pecans. Make sure you go all the way to the edges and that it’s all on a single layer.
Cut into 16 even triangles. I like to cut it into fours first and then each one of those four in half and then half again, that way you’ll for sure end up with even triangles.
Roll the rugelach into a tight log, almost like you would a croissant. Start at the widest side first, making sure to tuck the pointy tip underneath.
**Note: Some of the filling might spill out while you’re rolling the rugelach, if big chunks fall out, just stuff it back into the pastries on the sides.**
Continue rolling the rugelach until they’re all shaped. Place them on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, with an even distance between each to allow enough space for spreading and puffing during baking.
**Tip: At this point you can place the baking sheet in the freezer and allow to freeze all the way, then transfer them to a freezer bag or airtight container and keep in the freezer until ready to bake. They’re great to have on hand!**
Don’t forget that you still have another half of the dough in the fridge! You have to roll those as well. I know you might think you don’t need to, but believe me, these are incredibly addicting. You’ll want the other 16. Mark my words.
Brush them with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar (raw sugar). That’s just for looks, you don’t have to sprinkle them with the sugar if you don’t have any on hand or if you don’t want to.
Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes in a preheated 350º oven, or until golden brown all around. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes on the baking sheets. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
You can feel free to fill these with anything you want! Try it with some store bought (or homemade if you have some) jam. Slather the rolled dough with your favorite flavor of jam and then cut and roll into the rugelach. They’ll have a great fruit flavor!
These keep really well at room temperature in an airtight container or cookie jar. I don’t know if they’ll last that long lying around your house, they definitely didn’t in mine. Julian and I were eating them for breakfast, after lunch snack and as dessert.
These also make amazing gifts for your family, friends or coworkers. They package really well and can be wrapped up in some cool celophane bags and tied with fancy holiday ribbon. Oooh Oooh Oooh! You can even put them in those metal holiday tins and hand those out as gifts. Homemade treats make awesome gifts in my opinion.
Even if you’ve never heard of rugelach before (or don’t even know how to pronounce it correctly, like me) I hope that doesn’t deter you from giving them a try. The recipe is fairly simple and I promise you that once you try one you’ll become addicted and you’ll want to make all kinds of different rugelach. BUT no matter what, these Cherry, Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon and Pecan Rugelach will always be your favorite. You don’t have to tell me about it, I just know I.
I don’t know about you but I’m going to go turn on my Christmas tree, sit in front of it, put on the Pandora Christmas station and eat nothing but these rugelach for the rest of the month, or at least until Christmas, which is the only thing that really matters in my life at the moment.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
- 16 ounces (2 blocks) cream cheese
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 egg, whisked with splash of water
- ¼ cup turbinado sugar, for garnish
- ¼ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup granulated sugar mixed with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ dark chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and break it down with a pastry blender until it resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cream cheese and sour cream, mixing until the dough comes together and is no longer dry. It should be moist and somewhat smooth. Divide the dough in half, and wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge and allow to chill for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one of the dough halves into a large circle, about a quarter of an inch thick. Cut the edges to make a perfect (or somewhat perfect) circle. Brush the dough with half of the melted butter. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture, half of the chocolate, half of the cherries and half of the pecans. Using a pizza cutter, cut into 16 even triangles.
- Roll each triangle into a croissant shape, starting with the widest edge. Place the rolled pastries on the prepared baking sheets. Once all rolled, place baking sheet in fridge and repeat with the second half of dough.
- Brush the rugelach with egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes on baking sheet. Transfer to wire rack and allow to cool completely. Rugelach will keep at room temperature for about 5 days.
- Pastries can be frozen right before baking. When ready to bake, brush with egg wash (directly from freezer) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 10 minutes longer than directed. Enjoy!
- yields: 32 rugelach