Baking. I’ve been doing it wrong. When I asked Rich to cook for me for SeeMistress Cook, Rugelach was not what I was expecting his specialty to be.
Rich told me that his mother and grandmother taught him how to bake and he has been baking ever since. Rich came over to my Brooklyn apartment and we spent the afternoon making his family recipe for Rugelach. Thankfully, he already had the dough prepared, because this is a labor intensive recipe.
After we were done baking, Rich’s slave and Margot helped teach me how to use a rolling pin, I can’t believe I’ve been using it wrong all these years!
(original recipe lost due to server error)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup apricot preserves or raspberry jam
- 1 cup loosely packed golden raisins, chopped
- 1 1/4 cups walnuts (1/4 lb), finely chopped
- Milk for brushing cookies
- Special equipment: parchment paper; a small offset spatula
Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined well. Add flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Gather dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, then flatten (in wrap) into a roughly 7- by 5-inch rectangle. Chill until firm, 8 to 24 hours.
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom of a 1- to 1 1/2-inch-deep large shallow baking pan with parchment paper.
Cut dough into 4 pieces. Chill 3 pieces, wrapped in plastic wrap, and roll out remaining piece into a 12- by 8-inch rectangle on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer dough to a sheet of parchment, then transfer to a tray and chill while rolling out remaining dough in same manner, transferring each to another sheet of parchment and stacking on tray.
Whisk 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon.
Arrange 1 dough rectangle on work surface with a long side nearest you. Spread 1/4 cup preserves evenly over dough with offset spatula. Sprinkle 1/4 cup raisins and a rounded 1/4 cup walnuts over jam, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar.
Using parchment as an aid, roll up dough tightly into a log. Place, seam side down, in lined baking pan, then pinch ends closed and tuck underneath. Make 3 more logs in same manner and arrange 1 inch apart in pan. Brush logs with milk and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of remaining granulated sugar. With a sharp large knife, make 3/4-inch-deep cuts crosswise in dough (not all the way through) at 1-inch intervals. (If dough is too soft to cut, chill until firmer, 20 to 30 minutes.)
Bake until golden, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool to warm in pan on a rack, about 30 minutes, then transfer logs to a cutting board and slice cookies all the way through.