Recipes for Shabbat
By Eileen Goltz
Rugalach (or rugelach if you prefer to spell it that way) is a must have treat on just about every grandmothers cookie plate. Every family I know seems to have their own SECRET special recipe of butter/cream cheese dough crescents wrapped around nuts, spices, and sugar and rolled into tiny, flaky melt in your mouth crescents. (They are especially "apropos" at Chanukah as each cookie is virtually a gift to your taste buds). While classic rugalach can have fillings ranging from raisins (or other fruit) and nuts to poppy-seed paste or jam I'm all for adding chocolate and little bits of toffee just to keep things interesting.
Probably the most well know of the specialty cookies
associated with Judaism, this rolled treat was first made in Europe with
only butter in the dough. The addition of cream cheese to the mix is a
purely American tradition. Since unbaked rugalach freezes well, you can
prepare all the cookies you think you'll need and bake only what you need
when you need it. Wrap and freeze what you don't need and pull them out of
the freezer for fresh homemade cookies any time you like. There are slight
variations in every dough recipe but mine is so popular I've even started
using it to make some of my hamantashen.
In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor
combine the cottage cheese and 2/3 cup margarine and mix until combine. Add
in the flour and knead until dough is smooth, about 1 minute. Do not over
mix. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Flatten the balls into disks. Wrap each
disc in plastic wrap and freeze until the dough is firm enough to roll,
about 10 minutes.
In a small bowl combine the egg and milk and beat to
blend. Brush the milk glaze over the crescents. Bake until cooked through
and light brown, about 25 minutes making sure to reverse the baking sheets
after 10 minutes, front to back and top to bottom, to ensure even browning.
Transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool immediately. (Can be made ahead
and stored in airtight containers at room temperature or frozen for several
weeks.) Makes 3 dozen.
Place the cream cheese, butter, confectioner's sugar,
salt, lemon juice, and vanilla in a food processor or the bowl of and
electric mixer. Add the flour and pulse or mix until a very soft dough is
formed. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. For
the Apricot Filling: In a small combine the jam, bread crumbs and walnuts.
Mix to combine. For the Chocolate Filling: In a small bowl combine the
chocolate and sugar, mix to combine. Preheat oven to 350. After you have
mixed the ingredients for the filling of your choice divide the dough into 4
balls. Roll the balls out into 4 circles, about 1/2 inch thick and spread
with apricot filling or chocolate filling. Top with the apricot or chocolate
filling. Cut the disc into 16 wedges. Starting at the curved edge and
rolling toward the point, roll up the wedges. Bend ends in, forming
crescents. In a small bowl beat the egg and then using a small pastry brush;
brush it on the top of the rugalach. Sprinkle the top of the egg wash with
the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Place the cookies on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer the cookies to wire
racks and cool immediately. (Can be made ahead and stored in airtight
containers at room temperature or frozen for several weeks.) Makes about 50
In the bowl of an electric mixer or food processor
cream together the butter and cream cheese until the mixture is fluffy. Add
3 tablespoons of honey and mix well. Mix in the flour just until the dough
holds together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for at
least 2 hours or longer. Divide dough into 4 pieces. On a floured board roll
each portion into a 9-inch circle. In a bowl combine 2 tablespoons of honey
and the lemon juice; mix well. Brush dough with honey mixture; sprinkle 1/4
teaspoon cinnamon over entire surface. Combine almonds and dried cherries;
drizzle remaining honey over mixture and mix well. Spread 1/4 of almonds
mixture onto circle of dough, stopping 1/2-inch from outer edge. Cut into 8
triangular pieces. Roll from wide outer edge toward tip. Gently bend both
ends to form a crescent. Place on oiled parchment paper-lined baking sheet
and refrigerate 20 minutes or longer. Repeat with remaining dough and
filling. While the cookies are cooling in the refrigerator preheat oven to
350. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown making sure to reverse
the baking sheets after 10 minutes, front to back and top to bottom, to
ensure even browning. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool
immediately. Makes 3 dozen rugalach.
In the bowl of a food processor or mixing bowl combine
the almond paste, flour and salt and mix to combine Add the cream cheese and
butter and mix until mixture looks like a coarse corn meal. Pour dough out
onto a lightly floured work surface. Press and knead into a ball and divide
into 4 equal balls. Shape each ball into a flat disk, about 5", and wrap
well. Refrigerate while making filling. In the bowl of a food processor
combine the almonds, cranberries and rind. Process until very finely
chopped. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheets with parchment
paper or foil. On a lightly floured table, roll one of the disks into a 9"
circle, keeping other disks refrigerated until ready to roll out. Use an
inverted 9" plate or cake pan for a guide and trim edges neatly. Save
trimmings for 5th circle. Spread 3 tablespoon of marmalade over dough.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup of filling over marmalade. Press firmly into dough. Cut
circle into 12 equal pie shaped wedges. Beginning with the curved edge of
the wedge, roll cookie to the point. Shape into a crescent and place on
cookie sheets. Brush rugalach with egg and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20
to 25 minutes or until golden making sure to reverse the baking sheets after
10 minutes, front to back and top to bottom, to ensure even browning. Cool
on wire rack.
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in the large bowl of an
electric mixer and mix on low speed just to blend. Add the cream cheese and
butter and mix until all of the flour is combined, about 45 seconds. With
the mixer running, add the sour cream and vanilla and mix until all of it is
incorporated, about 15 seconds. The dough will be soft and sticky. Divide it
into 4 equal pieces, form each piece into a ball, then flatten to a 4" disk.
Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours
Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl of an electric mixer
combine the margarine and cream cheese. Blend in the vanilla extract. Mix in
the flour. Chill dough at least 1 hour. Filling: In a bowl combine the
chopped raisins, walnuts and cinnamon. If you have a food processor, place
the whole walnuts and raisins into the bowl, sprinkle with the cinnamon and
chop them together by processing in short pulses. Divide the dough into 4
equal portions. Roll out each portion into a 10- to 12-inch circle, 1/8-inch
thick on a lightly floured board or between two sheets of waxed paper.
Spread a light layer of spreadable fruit (approx. 2 Tablespoons) onto each
dough circle. Sprinkle each circle with approximately 1/4 cup of the chopped
raisin-nut mixture. Cut each circle into 16 wedges. Roll each wedge from
curved edge toward the point. Place point down on lightly greased or
parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until golden making
sure to reverse the baking sheets after 10 minutes, front to back and top to
bottom, to ensure even browning. Remove the rugalach to wire racks to cool.
Dietary Exchanges: 1/2 Starch; 1/2 Fat.
In a medium size bowl combine the pecans, cherries,
sugar and cinnamon. Mix well and set aside. In a bowl of a mixer or
processor combine the cream cheese, flour, butter and sugar and blend well.
Divide dough into 4 pieces. Dust each with flour, shaking off excess. Roll
each piece between sheets of waxed paper into 10" circle. Refrigerate 1
© Eileen Goltz 2003