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Jodi

sm00bs in family_recipes

Walnut and Brown Sugar Rugelach

This has to be the absolute best recipe I've ever found for rugelach. It's not a terribly sweet cookie but is quite rich with the nuts and cream cheese. They turned out so beautifully and weren't really that difficult to make at all. The only thing I don't like about the recipe is that it only makes 32 cookies. I felt I was being stingy on the rugelach when I made my Christmas cookie plates this year for gifts, but we didn't have any left over at all. I found the recipe in Everyday Food from December of 2007. Of course, I made a few changes to the recipe (when have I not?).

1 cup butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups flour (plus extra for rolling)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

In a food processor, blend butter, cream cheese, sugar, and salt until well combined. Add flour and pulse just until a dough forms. Divide dough in half; flatten into disks and wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days, or freeze up to 3 months (thaw before baking, of course). Preheat oven to 350° F, with racks set in upper and lower thirds. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl, combine egg with 1 teaspoon water to make an egg wash. Working one disk at a time, place dough on lightly floured parchment paper and roll out into an 11" circle about 1/4" thick, dusting lightly with flour as needed. Using a large dinner plate as a guide, cut around dough to make a perfect circle; trim off and discard scraps. Brush circles with egg wash; dividing evenly, sprinkle with walnuts and brown sugar. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut each circle into 16 equal triangles. Starting from the wide end, roll up each triangle of dough; place on lined baking sheets, seam side down. Brush rolls again with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 30-32 minutes. Transfer rugelach to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes: Our large dinner plates are exactly 11" diameter, so these were the perfect template as stated in the instructions. The dough can stand up to the plate being placed right on it. I just cut around the plate with the pizza cutter (that's what I used for the triangles as well - I think it's the easiest and cleanest option). I doubled the brown sugar (I know, traditionalists are probably cringing) and added more walnuts as well. It made for messier rolling, but the end result was worth it. There really weren't many scraps, but I did take a few of them and and sprinkle with some of the walnuts and brown sugar to make little sample cookies since we were working with such a small yield. The recipe suggests these cookies be stored in an air tight container. I used a zipper topped bag because I ran out of lidded containers, and these stand up to a plastic bag very well. They would be very good cookies for shipping in care packages.

Comments

Made a batch last weekend. They were very easy and tasty though I had to roll them in icing sugar (after filling with raspberry jam, chopped walnuts and semi-sweet chocolate chips) to make them sweet enough for my taste. They seemed a bit bitter.
Another option would be to use pecans instead of walnuts. I don't use walnuts often because they're so bitter. I tend to make baklava and various other items that call for walnuts with pecans to avoid the bitterness. I also don't think I would have liked these cookies much if I hadn't doubled the sugar.

Adding the raspberry jam and chocolate chips sounds absolutely divine! There's another recipe I made last year that called for raspberry jam, but I'm not sure if I posted it. The cookies are two colors (green and red) with raspberry for the red and pistachio for the green. I think they were the first cookies to disappear! So tasty!
I happened to have the walnuts in the freezer so I tested 1/4 of the recipe using the rasp jam etc. The next thing I want to try is an apricot jam base as well as the original brown sugar/walnuts eventually.

I may certainly try doubling the amount of sugar added to the dough the next time I make it.

(Anonymous)

Freezer

I should start keeping walnuts in the freezer - cool idea (literally)!

Re: Freezer

You can't go wrong storing all your nuts in the freezer as the oils in them make them very prone to going rancid.

For years my parents would buy walnuts in the shell, bring them home, crack the nuts open and take out the tasty nut meats. Some we would eat as we shelled them but part of the nuts were always ground immediately in one of those old hand cranked machines that you screwed onto the edge of your kitchen counter or table. And some of the nuts were frozen whole in 1-2 pound bags for future cooking endeavours. Of course, it helped that we've had a chest freezer in our pantry for the last 40 yrs. :)