Adapted from The Daily Cookie By Anna Ginsberg
A December cookie entry in celebration of Hanukkah, which traditionally begins on the eve of the twenty–fifth of the Jewish month of Kislev. Since it is based on the Jewish calendar, the eight–day celebration starts on a different date every year. Traditional Hanukkah fare includes fried foods such as doughnuts and potato pancakes, but it’s also a custom to eat dairy, which means rugelach is perfect for the holiday as well.
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (4.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup raisins or currants
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and finely chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons apricot preserves
1 large egg, lightly beaten, for brushing
Make the dough: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium speed until light and creamy. Stir in the salt and flour. Shape the dough into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the dough for a few hours or overnight.
When ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center. Line a large1 baking sheet with nonstick foil.
Make the filling: Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and nuts and set aside.
On a floured surface, roll the dough ball into a large circle about 12 inches in diameter. Lightly brush the circle with preserves. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough circle, and with a piece of nonstick foil or parchment paper, press it down lightly so that the filling sticks to the dough. With a pizza cutter, slice the circle into sixteen wedges. Working one wedge at a time, roll each into a tight crescent. Place the crescents on the prepared baking sheet. Brush lightly with the beaten egg. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.
Yield: Makes about 16
Baker’s Note: This is a small batch geared for beginners. Once you’ve mastered the first batch, make another.
Recipes: Desserts, Rugelach, Dairy, Kosher