i never realised how good rugelach can be until i bought an individual one for 90¢ at sarabeth’s bakery inside of chelsea market one weekend. and i think therein lies the issue. as a child, my mom would treat us to rugelach every so often, but they came in the form of 5lb costco sized buckets. they weren’t particularly good, but not bad either. and when you’re staring down 5 lbs of the stuff, it also doesn’t seem particularly special. eating a single rugelach at a time, however, is a whole different matter! savor each morsel, feel your palate delighted with the sweetness of jam.
naturally, my next thought turned to making rugelach at home, having never done so. i consulted a few cookbooks and decided to use flo braker’s cream cheese pastry as the base. my rugelach’s aren’t exactly perfectly formed, but i thought they tasted quite good. unlike store-bought rugelach (sarabeth’s included), homemade rugelach (especially when fresh from the oven) has a certain flakiness and lightness in the crust that the commercial kind can’t match — making me well, the biggest fan of fresh, homemade rugelach!
Grape Jam Rugelach with Pecans and Chocolate Chips
(makes 32 rugelach cookies)
|Cream Cheese Pastry|
|AP Flour||2 ¼ cups|
|Lemon Zest||1 tsp|
|Butter||2 sticks cut into ½ inch slices, cold|
|Cream Cheese||6 ounces, cut into cubes, cold|
|Grape Jam||½ cup (you can use any jam)|
|Chocolate Chips||1/3 cup|
|Egg||1 large egg|
Make the Cream Cheese Pastry
- Combine flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt in a food processor. Pulse 4 times to blend.
- Then, scatter the butter over the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture is the consistency of cornmeal.
- Next, add the cream cheese and pulse until a dough just begins to form. Do not over work (or the pastry won’t be flaky).
- Pour half of the dough on top of a sheet of plastic wrap. Form into 1 inch disc and then wrap with the plastic. Repeat with other half of dough. Let dough chill in refrigerator overnight or up to 3 days.
Forming the Cookies
- Take dough out of the refrigerator and let it rest on the counter as you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Combine sugar & cinnamon in a small bowl and set-aside
- Pour jam into a small saucepan and heat until it turns back into a spreadable liquid.
- Pour chocolate chips and pecans into food processor. Pulse a few times until chopped into small bits.
- On a clean, well-floured workspace, or on top of a piece of parchment paper (which is what i did), roll out the dough until it is 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. It should be about 15″ in diameter.
- Cut the dough into 16 slices using a pizza cutter or knife.
- Using a pastry brush, spread half the jam all over the dough.
- Then, sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips and pecans over the dough (trying to keep the chips and nuts towards the outer perimeter of the dough).
- Starting at the base of each triangle, gently roll each piece of dough towards its tip. Then, slightly bend the dough to form a crescent shape. Place the shaped cookies on a parchment sheet lined tray.
- When both discs of dough have been formed into cookies, place the two trays in the freezer for 30-45 minutes.
- While rugelachs are in the freezer, pre-heat oven to 350°F. Then, make the glaze but beating together the egg and the water.
- When ready to bake, glaze each rugelach and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the rugelachs are a rich golden brown.