Rugelach. Say it with me. Rooogehlahh. There’s no “a” in front, because that would be Arugula, which is pretty much the exact opposite of these jewish pastries. Arugula: green, wet, bitter. Rugelach: golden, flaky, sweet. It’s like how laughter and slaughter are one letter off. I think they do it to fuck with us.
So. Rugelach. Kind of a lot of work. But so so worth it. I’ve made them before from a much more complicated recipe, and I can’t say I remember if these are on par with the last ones. All I can say is I thoroughly enjoyed the first ones I made and I thoroughly enjoyed these, so everybody wins. (And now mentioning the word slaughter has me thinking of Slaughterhouse 5 and Billy Pilgrim and all that crazy time shit that goes on, and I can’t help picturing myself existing at these 2 separate moments in this stream of time, enjoying rugelach at each moment in a very similar way and suddenly my mind feels all woozy)
I don’t know, what else can I say about rugelach? Have you ever had them? They’re real good. Basically you make a dough and then top it like a pizza of deliciousness and cut it into triangles and roll them up. The best part about rugelach is that they get better like a day or two after you make them. When they’ve kinda cooled and condensed they’re downright phenomenal, and I appreciate a pastry that doesn’t have to be eaten right out of the oven (because that usually means I eat them all within 30 minutes of making them because They Won’t Taste As Good Later and goodness knows I do not need any more reasons to finish off 30 croissants by myself, you dig?).
Also you can vary the filling depending on your taste. For these I used raspberry jam, chopped walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips, cinnamon, and sugar. But you could go apricot jam, no jam at all, dried currants, just chocolate, rolled in cinnamon and sugar, whatever. It’s basically open to anything that you feel might be delicious wrapped in a buttery, cream cheesey, flaky pastry dough.
Of which there are many things. Oh so many, many, many, many things. Now. You do it!
from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
For the dough
4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into pieces
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling
2/3 cup raspberry jam, apricot jam or marmalade
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped nuts (i used walnuts)
1/4 cup plump, moist dried currants (i used raisins)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips
For the glaze
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cold water
2 tablespoons sugar, preferably coarse sugar
For the dough
1) Let the cream cheese and butter rest on counter for 10 minutes. It should be slightly softened but cool.
2) Put the flour and salt in a food processor, scatter over the chunks of cream cheese and butter and pulse the machine for 6 to 10 minutes. Then process, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, just until the dough forms large curds. Do not work the dough too long that it forms a ball on the blade.
3) Remove the dough from the food processor, divide into half, shape each half into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to a day. (Wrap airtight, the dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.)
To make the filling
1) Heat the jam in a saucepan over low heat, or microwave until it liquefies. Mix sugar and cinnamon together.
2) Line 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
To shape the cookies
1) Pull one packet of dough from the refrigerator. If it is too firm to roll easily, leave it on the counter for about 10 minutes or give it a few bashes with your rolling pin.
2) On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into an 11- to 12-inch circle. Spoon (or brush) a thin gloss of jam over the dough, and sprinkle over half of the cinnamon sugar.
3) Scatter over half of the nuts, half of the chopped chocolate and half of the currants. Cover the filling with a piece of wax paper and gently press the filling into the dough, then remove the paper and save it for the next batch.
4) Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 wedges, or triangles.
5) Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough up so that each triangle becomes a little crescent.
6) Arrange the roll-ups on one baking sheet, making sure the points are tucked under the cookies, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (The cookies can be refrigerate overnight or frozen for up to 2 months; don’t defrost before baking, just add a couple of minutes to the baking time.)
Getting ready to bake
1) Position the racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
1) Stir the egg and water together. Brush a bit of the glaze over each rugelach. Sprinkle the cookies with sugar.
2) Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until they are puffed and golden.
3) Transfer the cookies to racks to cool to just warm or to room temperature.