Top three favorite smells coming out of my kitchen. 1) Any kind of brownies. 2) This granola. 3) Onions caramelizing. And if I can extend the list to four, I would have to include this rugelach. Jam, cinnamon, nuts, and cream cheese dough all doing magical things in the oven.
Up until today, I had never made a sweet rugelach before. I have made savory ones as an appetizer (where is that recipe? ) but never the traditional kind. UPDATE 2010: I found that recipe and made it again. Check it out here.
Shauna shared some amazing gluten-free rugelach with me last week and hers were filled with quince paste and bittersweet chocolate. Hello yum. Because this was my first time making this recipe, I needed to stick closer to the rules. Holly calls these Raspberry Rugelach but I did have to bend the rules a bit and make Blackberry Rugelah because blackberry jam is all I have in my house. A woman named Linda who lives on Lopez Island makes positively transcendent jam so we always stock up every summer. The fact that Lopez jam lives in these Lopez cookies seems just right.
These little cookies are not the most beautiful things I have ever made but the smell matches the taste. Delicious. Buttery, flaky, sweet and spicy. They are also really fun to make. If you are a person who is afraid of working with dough, this is a great one to start with. It is very forgiving and does just what you want it to.
You can buy Holly B’s wonderful cookbook by visiting this site.
Raspberry or Blackberry Rugelach
With Love & Butter
Makes 18 small pastries
Definitely keep these little treasures on the small side – they look much better that way. I have large cookie sheets so I crammed them all onto one pan. A lot of jam leaked out and I just transferred them immediately to a wire rack to cool. I didn’t bother with the two fork option described below.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
7 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/3 cup raspberry or blackberry jam
6 tbsp. raisins
6 tbsp. sliced almonds
6 tbsp. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Cream the butter with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the cream cheese and combine until smooth. Mix in 1 tablespoon of the granulated sugar and the vanilla. Gradually stir in the flour, blending until just combined.
Scrape the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and wrap loosely. Shape the dough into a disk about 6 inches across and 1-inch thick and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours. (DT: I refrigerated mine overnight.)
Preheat the oven to 375°F with the rack in the center position. Line 1 large or two small baking sheets with parchment paper.
Unwrap the dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Begin rolling the dough into a circle, keeping both sides lightly floured and free from sticking to th rolling pin and work surface. Continue rolling the dough into a circle about 18 inches across and 1/8-inch thick. (DT: Because I seemingly incapable of rolling dough into a circle, I just did the best I could and trimmed the edges to make it circular.) Brush off the excess flour on both sides of the pastry. Smear the jam over the dough, right up to the edges of the circle.
Combine the raisins, almonds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and remaining 6 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small bowl. Distribute this mixture evenly over the jam. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, gently cut the wheel of dough into 18 wedges.
Starting at the wide base of each wedge, roll the dough into a little tube. It will look like a tiny croissant without the curve. Place the pastries 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet(s). One pan at a time, bake 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake 5 to 10 minutes more. The Rugelach will be done with light golden in color. Remove the pan from the oven and use 2 forks to relocated each pastry to a clean place on the parchment for cooling.
Cool thoroughly, then dust lightly with powdered sugar if desired. Store at room temperature for up to 2 days. Rugelach dough can be frozen for up to 1 month without any adverse effects.