I love this time of year when I can bake to my heart’s content – and give it all away. Who doesn’t love a beautiful box of homemade treats? This year, I took on a new challenge and WOW! I’m glad I did. I love rugelach!
Rugelach is a traditional, tasty Hanukkah treat. Made with a cream cheese dough, and filled with either nuts, dried fruits, or chocolate and fruit preserves; crescent-shaped rugelach are a pretty (and delicious!) addition to any dessert tray. Since I was initially intimidated by the challenges of working with such a soft dough, and frustrated with the complexity of some of the recipes, I started by doing a little research. Using a recipe from Epicurious, I incorporated many of the tips and techniques from the recipe reviews, and then made a few adjustments of my own. The result? Giddy satisfaction! Now I’ve got a great Chocolate Strawberry Rugelach recipe. I’m looking forward to delivering the cookies to Mary to serve at her Hanukkah dinner on Wednesday night.
|Chocolate Strawberry Rugelach||
- 1 8-ounce package light cream cheese
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 cups (sift into the cup and level off) bleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup strawberry preserves (well stirred)
- 1/4 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp. Demerara sugar or coarse decorator sugar
- Let the cream cheese and the butter come to room temperature while preparing the rest of the ingredients. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until blended. Beat in the sugar and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in the flour and salt just until incorporated. Do NOT overmix!
- Divide the dough into 4 balls and place each ball in the center of it’s own gallon size Ziplock bag (4 bags total). Roll out each dough portion, one at a time, into a 9-inch by 1/8-inch thick circle inside the bag. Seal each bag, lay flat and freeze overnight.
- Remove the dough from the freezer. Leave one on the counter and lay the rest in the refrigerator.
- Using a pair of scissors, carefully cut and peel the top of the Ziplock bag away from the disk of dough. Lay the disk, bottom part of bag in tact, on a cutting board. Stir the strawberry preserves to thin them slightly (if too thin, it will ooze out the sides of the rugelach). Using the back of a tablespoon, spread the dough evenly with 2 tablespoons of the strawberry preserves leaving a 2” diameter circle clear in the middle and a 1” border clear around the outside edge. Sprinkle one portion of the mini chocolate chips over the preserves. Press them firmly and evenly over the dough.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough circle into 8 triangles or pieces of “pie.” Use a lightly floured off-set spatula, if necessary, to loosen the triangles from the bag. Starting at the wide end, tightly roll up the triangle and bend the ends around to form a slight crescent shape. Place the rugelach, point underneath, about 1 1/2 inches apart on the parchment covered baking sheets.
- Clean the work surface of excess filling before rolling each batch, one disk at a time. If the disks are too soft, place them in the freezer, again, for 15-20 minutes. Freeze rolled cookies, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 30 minutes or until firm.
- Place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Remove the rugelach from the freezer and quickly brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until lightly browned. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking period.
- Use a small, offset metal spatula to transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.