For some reason, I got on a baking kick this week. And I decided to make rugelach. Rugelach is a jewish pastry, sort of. Like all "jewish" foods, its a European thing, brought to America first by Jews, and adopted into Jewish culture. I like them, and I thought I'd try and make them.
Here I've only included the recipe for dough (and then the process for making the rugelach) because you can honestly fill them with anything you want. I think jams are best, but a cottage cheese/cream cheese filling also works.
Ingredients for Dough
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Making the Dough
Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light.
Add sugar, salt, and vanilla.
With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined.
Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Dough can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
Making the Rugelach
The second time we made rugelach, I found this great step-by-step set of instructions for making the rugelach. I will basically repeat their directions here (option 1) and include a different way of making it (option 2) if you don't like option 1.
Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F.
Roll each ball of dough into a 14-inch circle.
Spread filling evenly over dough. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Leave both the edges and a 2" hole in the center of the circle free of filling.
Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds.
Tuck in the corners of the wide end. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge.
Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake for ~30 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool. Dust with powdered sugar.
Roll each ball of dough into a 12"x18" rectangle. Arrange it on work surface with a long side nearest you.
Spread filling evenly over dough.
Roll up dough tightly into a log. Place, seam side down, in lined baking pan, then pinch ends closed and tuck underneath.
Make 3 more logs in same manner and arrange 1 inch apart in pan. Brush logs with milk or egg wash and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of remaining granulated sugar.
With a sharp large knife, make 3/4-inch-deep cuts crosswise in dough (not all the way through) at 1-inch intervals. (If dough is too soft to cut, chill until firmer, 20 to 30 minutes.)
Bake until golden, ~30 minutes. Cool to warm in pan on a rack, about 30 minutes, then transfer logs to a cutting board and slice cookies all the way through.