The first time I tried rugelach, I just thought how perfectly flakey the dough was and how nice the sticky jam coats the bits of nutty crunch and raisins. I knew at some point I would attempt a batch myself and I recently did with the help of Gwyneth Paltrow, Ina Garten and the CIA. I have half a batch of the dough in the freezer waiting to be baked whenever I have a craving.
Adapted from GOOP, Ina Garten and CIA
This recipe makes at least 24 cookie-sized pastries
- 4 ounces cream cheese or neufchatel, at room temperature
- 1/4 pound (4 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/8 cup granulated sugar plus 4.5 tablespoons
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cups sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/8 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup toasted walnuts or pecans, chopped
- 1/4 cup apricot preserves, heated in microwave for a few seconds to make it spreadable
- 1 egg beaten with 1 T milk
Set aside and cube butter and cream cheese and let reach to room temperature Toast pecans. Cream the room temperature cream cheese and butter until it is light and fluffy. The fluffier the lighter and flakier the final pastry will be. Add 1/8 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla.
Add the sifted flour and mix just until ingredients come together into a dough. Put the dough on a floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, flatten slightly, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate 60 minutes.
Combine 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and toasted nuts. Create flakey layers by folding dough in thirds and again. Then chill again for 60 more minutes.
Divide into balls dough into a 9-inch circle and after rolling. With a pastry brush, brush the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves almost to the edges, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the filling. With a rolling pin, press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 6 equal wedges.
Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge, place the cookies, point side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes. (They will not hold their shape if they are at room temperature.) The rugelach can also be frozen at this point for up to 2 months and left in refrigerator to defrost before baking.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush each cookie with egg wash. Mix 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.