Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuesdays With Dorie: Rugelach

For our third Tuesdays With Dorie assignment, we got to make rugelach, better known as rug unlatch. Thanks, autocorrect! (I don't even know what that means. Rug unlatch? Really?) Since I've never made rugelach before, I was looking forward to getting under way with this recipe.

I started by making a batch of lekvar, the spread that's smeared over the rolled out rugelach. (Lekvar: Was that ever the name of an alien race on Star Trek? If not, why not?) I used apricots for my batch of lekvar as I'm not a big fan of prunes. The lekvar is basically dried apricots plumped in hot water, then pureed with a little brown sugar. To finish, you stir in some finely chopped toasted nuts (I used almonds).

Next up, the dough. It seemed pretty straightforward: a lot of butter, a lot of cream cheese, some sugar. I got that done and in the fridge to chill, then thought about fillings.

I suppose I could have just done a couple of cups of mixed fruit and some randomly assorted nuts for the fillings, but I decided to specialize. Since I had an open bag of pecans and an open bag of sliced almonds, they became my nut choices. I would do one-half of the rugelach with each nut variety. Then, I further subdivided. I knew I'd end up making four varieties of cookies, so I chose four different fillings:

• dried blueberry-toasted pecan
• chocolate chip-toasted pecan
• dried mango-toasted almond
• dried cherry-toasted almond

After I prepped all the fillings, I was ready to roll out my first batch of dough.  I was happy with the dough. It was fairly easy to work with and stuck only in a few places. Since the recipe was clear about not rolling it too thin, I did measure to make sure I was staying within the 10-in. by 14-in. rectangle size recommended.

Here, the dried blueberry version is rolled up, and the chocolate chip rugelach is ready to roll.

Next up, it was the dried mango and the dried cherry. I rolled the dried cherry dough a little thinner than recommended. I then learned why it's recommended to keep it on the thicker side as I ended up with tears in the dough. Fortunately, I saved the trimmings from previous batches of dough, and was able to patch the holes.

Here are the rolls of dough, ready to chill and rest for a few hours.

After the chilling and resting (and hey, who doesn't like to chill and rest?), it was time to brush the rolls with an egg wash, slice the rugelach, then coat the slices with cinnamon nut sugar. The ones above are ready to go in the oven.

They bake for a fairly long time in a fairly hot oven. While the recipe recommends double-panning to prevent overcaramelizing the sugar in the cookies, I didn't double-pan and didn't have a problem. Actually, the bottoms of the cookies caramelized nicely, and the bottoms are addictively crispy.

The finished product. They are like little crumb cakes with delicious fillings. The dried mango maybe wasn't the best choice. It stayed kind of tough in the cookies. I probably should have plumped it in some warm water before I sliced it, but it's still kind of fibrous. My favorite is the cherry-dried almond.

While these cookies taste great and look pretty good, I have to say that this recipe was really time-consuming and involved. It's definitely a special-occasion thing, or maybe a snow-day sort of undertaking.


Melanie said...

Love all the variations you tried. Too bad the mango one wasn't the best. I love to munch on dried mango pieces. Your rugelach look great! We also got nice caramelization on the bottoms and we loved it!!

Rebecca said...

Impressive! Sounds like it was fun to try all the combinations. I had enough trouble with one filling. ;-)

ryan said...

Very nice :)

PearlSugar said...

Your variations sound like fun!

Cher Rockwell said...

Nice filling variations!
It looks like your cookies came out great.

pinkstripes said...

I like all the varieties. :)

Julia said...

The dried cherry almond sounds amazing. I love dried cherries.

Jen said...

looks delicious, great job :)

Tammy said...

I'm starting to think most of the recipes in this cookbook will be time consuming and involved (read: Martha Stewart wedding cake). I guess that's the point of all this, though -- to get us to spend time on things we might not normally make. The fun is in figuring out which ones are worth the effort to repeat. nice post!

lauren said...

I made four different kinds too! Aren't they great? Nicely done!!