People, rugelach needs to be in your entertaining tool pack. They can sleep away, quietly tucked into the freezer, ready at a moments notice. At the last minute, you flick on the oven, whip out a baking sheet, and slice up a few frozen rolls of dough filled with jam, chocolate shards, coconut shreds, orange zest, and nuts, and you are ready to rock and roll. Your friends will be wowed that you were organized and talented enough to make such a high-end, gorgeous treat plus whatever amazing meal you’ve whipped up.
And then they’ll have a bite. Then two. Pretty soon they’re squirreling away little rugelach rolls in their purse so they can mainline a couple on the car ride home. Seriously. These cookies are that good.
And don’t tell me they’re too tricky to make. Not true. Both Dorie and I have your back on this.
A couple of months ago, I was contacted to participate in a joint promotion for Dorie Greenspan’s newest cookbook, Baking Chez Moi: Recipes From My Paris Home To Your Home Anywhere, her masterpiece (and I don’t use this word lightly) recipe for rugelach, and Driscoll’s raspberries. It was an easy sell:
- I have some other Dorie cookbooks, and love them.
- Rugelach is my husband’s favorite cookie in the whole world, and
- I always buy Driscoll’s berries.
Sign me up.
I can’t say enough about Dorie’s newest cookbook. Everything I’ve made so far has been foolproof. It sounds basic, and it should be always true, but it really is refreshing when a recipe works the way the author says it will. Dorie’s do. And this rugelach recipe is hands down the best I’ve ever made. I made a few tweaks, and I found her recipe very tweak-friendly:
- First of all, I made some super-quick, fruity refrigerator jam with Driscoll’s raspberries boiled with coconut sugar, lemon juice and chocolate liquor for the first layer smeared on the dough.
- Then I added some pumpkin purée and allspice to the dough.
- Both my husband and I are allergic to nuts, so I nixed them from the filling, and added orange zest to the coconut, chocolate, and dried currants.
The trickiest part of making rugelach is the rolling action. No question. So here are my top 10 tips to make it easy. Yes, I said easy.
- Don’t even think about eliminating the cream cheese from the dough. It’s crucial to having a pliable dough that’s much easier to work with.
- Don’t mix the dough ingredients long enough to form a smooth ball. Stop as soon as a dough is forming.
- Form the dough into a square or rectangle before chilling. This makes it much easier to roll into the shape and size you need.
- Roll out the dough on lightly floured parchment paper, but don’t sandwich it in two pieces of parchment paper — even if that’s what you usually do. Be sure to flip the dough on the parchment paper as needed during rolling, feathering a little flour over the surface each time, just as you would if rolling the dough directly on your countertop.
- Chill the rolled out dough in the refrigerator while the oven heats up.
- Leave a ¾” border all around the dough when smearing on the jam and sprinkling with the filling. As you roll up the dough, the filling is going to move.
- When rolling the dough, use the parchment paper to roll it by lifting the edge under the side you plan to start with. Fold the parchment over the dough away from you, forcing the dough into a roll. You may need to assist the first tuck with your fingers. If the dough is sticky at all, lightly flour your fingers before working the dough into its first tuck.
- As you roll the rugelach, smooth out the roll, lengthwise, to maintain the same size all along it’s length. You want a cylinder, not a huge pierogi.
- Freeze for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Bake on parchment paper. You can use the same sheet of parchment throughout.
Rugelach – Your New Go-To Holiday Cookie
- Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's recipe in Baking Chez Moi
Quick Raspberry Jam with Chocolate Liqueur
- 4 cups fresh Driscoll's raspberries
- 3 cups coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp Crème de Cocoa chocolate liqueur
- 4 oz cold cream cheese
- 4 oz cold unsalted butter
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
- 4 oz semisweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup Raspberry Jam with Chocolate Liqueur
- 1 large egg
- Splash of water
- 1 Tbsp turbinado coarse sugar
Quick Raspberry Jam
- Spill the raspberries into a large pot you'll use for cooking up the jam. Mash them until they're completely broken up, using a potato masher. Stir in the sugar and place the pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Pour in the lemon juice. Bring to a boil, and maintain a steady boil for 20 minutes. The jam should be thickened. Stir in the chocolate liqueur. The jam will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Cut the cream cheese and butter each into 4 chunks. Put the flour, allspice, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times and add the cream cheese, butter, and pumpkin. Process until the dough forms large curds, scraping down the bowl as needed. Do not continue to process the dough until it forms a ball.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gently gather into a ball using your fingers. Divide in half and shape each half into a square. Wrap in plastic or wax paper and chill for at least 2 hours. (The dough can also be refrigerated up to 1 day, or frozen for up to 2 months.)
- Lay down a sheet of parchment paper, and lightly flour. Place 1 piece of dough on the parchment paper, lightly flour, and roll into a square that's about 12 inches on one side. Don't worry if it's not exactly the right size or if it's more rectangular than square. Lift and turn and flip the dough frequently, reflouring the parchment paper with a dusting of flour as needed. Do not be tempted to place another piece of parchment paper over the dough and roll it between the sheets of parchment. The cream cheese makes this an easy dough to work with. I place the sheet of parchment paper on the bottom to make the rolling process easy. You'll end up with a very thin dough. If the dough becomes sticky, just slide it into the refrigerator to chill a bit while you roll out the other piece of dough.
- Cut one square in half to form 2 rectangles roughly 12" X 6". Place each rectangle on it's own sheet of parchment paper.
- Chill in the refrigerator while you make the Rugelach Filling.
- Using a sharp, dry knife, slice the chocolate into small shards and shavings. Place in a bowl and stir in the coconut, currants, and orange zest.
Rolling the Cookies
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, smear each dough rectangle with 1 tablespoon of Raspberry Jam with Chocolate Liqueur, leaving a 1/2" border all around the edges of the dough.
- Sprinkle 1/4 of the Rugelach Filling over each rectangle, and gently pat down.
- Starting with the ragged, long side of each rectangle, gentle tuck it over to begin the roll. Pull the parchment paper up and away from you over the dough to force the dough into a roll. If the dough roll appears to be thicker in the middle than the edges, gently smooth it out over the parchment paper. Don't try to do this directly on the dough, as you could tear it. Continue to roll until the straight edge of the dough is on the bottom of the roll.
- Slide into the freezer with the parchment paper while you form the remaining rolls of dough. (The rolls can stay frozen for up to 2 months.)
- Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- Place a roll on a working surface and unfurl the parchment paper. Using a sharp, dry knife, gently cut each roll into 1" slices. Transfer the dough slices to a baking sheet, and arrange the slices seam side down. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
- Mix together the egg and water, and beat well. Brush on the tops of the slices, and sprinkle with the sugar.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and from back to front at the midway point, or until the cookies are golden brown. It's better to over bake slightly than under bake to ensure the dough in the cookie centers is baked. Some chocolate will ooze out, along with the occasional dried currant. It's unavoidable.
- Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to room temperature.
It’s time again for the Food Network’s #FallFest, and this week’s theme is all about Holiday cookies. Go check them out if you’re looking for some new ideas this holiday season. And don’t forget to check out the Food Network #FallFest Pinterest board!
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