Saturday, November 13, 2010

Rugelach Soldiers

Chuck observed these look like rugelach soldiers 
(and I've been humming it to the tune of Buffalo Soldier ever since).

 FYI: that little string on the left is melted sugar (not a hair)

If you ask me, what makes rugelach so special is the cream cheese dough. I've had rugelach made without the cream cheese and I always think to myself that's not rugelach!  These freeze well after baking (in case you're wondering why I'm making them in November).  Although rugelach isn't just for Hanukkah (or the Jews) anymore!  (I can say that, I'm Jewish.)

(Yield:  4 dozen)

8 oz. cream cheese, slightly softened
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup (firmly packed) light brown sugar (or maple crystals)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
scant 3/4 cup currants (or 3/4 cup golden raisins)
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup apricot preserves (well stirred)

1.      Dough:  Place cream cheese in food processor. Cut the butter into a few pieces and add it with the motor running. Process until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla and process until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add flour and salt and pulse just until the dough starts to clump together.  Scrape dough onto plastic wrap and press together to form a ball. Divide into 4 portions and make shape each one into a disk.  Cover each disk with plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
2.      Filling:  In a medium bowl, combine sugars, cinnamon, currants, and walnuts and stir until well mixed.
3.      Before rolling out the dough, remove from the refrigerator and allow it to sit on the counter for about 10 minutes or until it is malleable enough to roll. 
4.      Preheat oven to 350° F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
5.      Using a floured rolling pin and board, roll out each disk of dough, one at a time, into a 9-inch circle (1/8-inch thick), rotating the dough often to be sure it isn't sticking.  (Keep dough circles flat in the refrigerator while you roll out the other disks.)
6.      Using the back of a tablespoon, spread the first dough circle evenly with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the filling over the preserves. Press the filling firmly and evenly to help it stick.  Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough circle into 12 triangles (like a pizza).
7.      Starting at the wide end, roll up each triangle one by one and bend the ends around to form a slight crescent shape. Place the rugelach, point underneath, about 1-inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until firm.
8.      Repeat (clean the excess filling off your work surface before each batch).
9.      Bake for 20-22 minutes or until lightly browned.  For even baking, rotate baking sheets from top to bottom & front to back halfway through baking. Using a silicone spatula, carefully remove rugelach while still hot (so the melted sugar gets left behind).  Let cool.
10.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature (5 days) or in the freezer (3 months).
A 9" cake circle works nicely

I use a pizza cutter

I like Polaner All Fruit

                 before baking

Sorry about the scattered photos...I played around with these for at least 40 minutes, but still couldn't get them to line up in order!  But you get the idea.

It's normal for some filling to ooze out during baking.  The melted sugar looks messy at first, but if you (carefully) remove the rugelach from the sheetpan while still hot (before the sugar cools and hardens), the rugelach come out clean.  If you get distracted and the sugar does harden, you can just break it off around the edges (but it's much quicker and easier to remove them while still warm).


Randi said...

Yours are so beautiful. Will definitely try the cake circle and pizza cutter tricks. There may be hope for me yet.

That smell of cooked cabbage and farts at grandma's was distinctive. Funny how it left such a strong sense memory.

Love the blog (and adore the name).

"The Teacher / Mommy" said...

So delicious!

Now I can stop pestering you for recipes because they'll be here! Super exciting.

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