Sunday, December 20, 2009
The Best Christmas Cookies EVER!!
I love making rugelach as Christmas cookies...
...because they are so delicious...
...and also, because it seems a little subversive, somehow. Grin.
The word rugelach means "little twists" in Yiddish and they are very popular treats during Hanukkah.
To me, this is the definitive rugelach recipe...
...and it's well worth the work.
Just start the dough the day before so it can chill (this part takes 10 minutes)...
...and all will be well.
I often use chopped dried cherries or dried cranberries in place of the raisins...
...and use any kind of jam that strikes your fancy. (Today it was Loganberry and Kiwi for me!)
My daughter L has been home from college mere hours...
...and her friend has already called to ask whether I've made the rugelah yet. :)
Seasonally Appropriated Rugelach
1 c unsalted butter (not margarine), softened
1 pkg (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
2 and 1/4 c flour
1 c finely chopped pecans
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c golden raisins, softened (soak in warm water for 20 minutes...then drain)
2 tsp cinnamon
(separately--1/2 c raspberry or apricot preserves--I end up using more)
(also 1/4 c butter, melted, to use while rolling and for the topping)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar
Cream 1 c butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in flour to make a soft and sticky dough.
Divide dough into 4 pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate.
When ready to proceed-
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or 'release' foil.
Mix pecans, 1/2 c sugar, raisins and 2 tsp cinnamon for filling.
Mix 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon for later use as topping.
On floured surface, roll each chilled fourth of dough into an 11-inch square.
Melt remaining 1/4 c butter and brush surface of dough with some of it.
Spread each square of dough with 2 tbsp (or more) preserves, sprinkle evenly with nut mixture and roll up gently into a log.
Cut into 1-inch pieces. Brush tops with remaining melted butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (check bottoms for doneness).
Just try not to eat more than you should!!