If there were just one sweet treat in the world, would that it were rugelach. The comfortingly soft yet crisp and flaky cinnamon-imbued dough—with the sticky tang of caramelized apricot, juicy plump chewiness of raisins, and earthy crunch of walnuts, all rolled into each and every bite—is utterly irresistible.
|bleached all-purpose flour|
|fine sea salt||.|
|cream cheese (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C)|
|unsalted butter (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C)|
|pure vanilla extract||.||.|
|light brown Muscovado sugar, or dark brown sugar|
|golden raisins (see Note)|
|walnuts, coarsely chopped|
|Apricot Lekvar Filling or apricot preserves|
Two 15 by 12 inch cookie sheets, lined with aluminum foil | Two wire racks, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
Handheld Mixer Method In a mixing bowl, on medium speed, beat the cream cheese and butter until blended. Beat in the sugar and vanilla. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture just until incorporated, no more than 30 seconds.
Food Processor Method Have the cream cheese and butter chilled. Cut the butter into ½ inch cubes. In a food processor, place the cream cheese. With the motor running, add the butter and process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the sugar and vanilla and process for a few seconds to incorporate them. Add the flour mixture and pulse in just until the dough starts to clump together.
Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and press it together to form a ball. Divide the dough in half, about
In a medium bowl, with your fingers, mix the granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon until evenly combined. Divide the mixture equally between two small bowls. Combine the golden raisins and the chopped walnuts and divide them equally between two additional small bowls.
Remove a piece of the dough from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter for about 5 to 10 minutes, or until it is malleable enough to roll.
Using a floured rolling pin, on a floured mat or lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into about a 9 inch circle, ⅛ inch thick, rotating it often and adding flour as necessary to be sure it is not sticking. If the dough becomes too soft or sticky at any time, briefly refrigerate it until it is firm enough to roll.
Mark the center of the dough with the tip of a knife. Using the back of a tablespoon or small offset spatula, spread the dough evenly with
Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture over the lekvar. Sprinkle evenly with half of the raisin and walnut mixture. Press the filling gently but firmly over the dough. Slip a large spatula under the dough disc to loosen it from the work surface. Using a pizza wheel or long sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 triangles. (Cut the dough first into quarters, and then cut each quarter into thirds.)
Use a thin knife or spatula, if necessary, to loosen the triangles from the work surface. Starting at the wide end, roll up the triangle and bend the ends around to form a slight crescent shape, turning them toward the point. Place the rugelach, point underneath, about
In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Divide the mixture equally between two small bowls.
Lift each rugelach with your fingers and, with a pastry brush, brush it with the milk. Holding the rugelach over a medium bowl, use a sugar dredger or your fingers to sprinkle the rugelach evenly with the cinnamon sugar, letting the excess fall into the bowl. Set it back on the cookie sheet.
Refrigerate the rugelach, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight, or until firm. Repeat with the second disc of dough.
Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and
Set the cookie sheets on uncoated wire racks or on a heatproof surface and let the rugelach cool for a few minutes to firm slightly. During baking, a little of the apricot always melts out onto the foil. It is therefore necessary to remove the rugelach from the foil before the apricot hardens. Use a small pancake turner to transfer the rugelach to the prepared wire racks to cool completely. The apricot filling that leaks onto the foil liner can be peeled off and makes for a delicious baker’s treat!
Airtight: room temperature, 5 days; frozen, 3 months.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.