Cookie Calendar: Rugelach

I'm kind of late to the party on Hanukkah, but I kept debating whether to save these cookies for the end of the Cookie Calendar because they are just. So. Good.

I concluded that not only must I allow you time to make and enjoy these properly this month, but that since this is a cookie that is sometimes associated with Hanukkah you should get the recipe now, during the Festival of Lights.

Though if you could consider a latke a cookie in that it is small and round, I do think I would anoint that my favorite Hannukah cookie.

Anyway, rugelach are truly delicious. They're a cross of a cookie, a pastry, and a teeny-tiny pie. You roll out the dough in a circle like pie crust, then paint on some jam and sprinkle on some sugar, spices, and nuts.

But then you cut it like a pizza and roll it like a crescent roll, which kind of goes against my dessert analogies. Whatever. The result is a ton of delicious cookies that are a big favorite of the family every year.

My family prefers this version, made with raspberry jam, but a little searching will lead you to a variety of other fillings based on dried fruits. Personally, I love the kind made with dried cherries in my King Arthur Cookie Companion. You can also use this particular recipe with different flavors of jam -- whatever's in your fridge.

Cookie Tip #10: Though some recipes may say margarine is an option, DON'T DO IT! Always make your cookies with butter, not margarine, for the best flavor and predictable results. Also, unless otherwise specified, you should use fresh, unsalted butter. Most recipes include added salt, and you don't want the cookies to end up too salty, true. But mostly, salt is added to butter as a preservative, meaning your salted butter is probably old butter.

Source: Kraft Foods

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened

  • 2-¼ cups flour

  • 1 cup finely chopped PLANTERS Walnuts

  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided

  • 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon, divided

  • ¼ cup raspberry preserves

BEAT cream cheese and butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gradually add flour, mixing well after each addition. (Dough will be very soft and sticky.) Divide dough into 4 portions; place each on sheet of plastic wrap. Pat each portion into 1-inch-thick circle, using floured hands. Wrap plastic wrap around each circle to enclose. Refrigerate overnight.

PREHEAT oven to 325°F. Cover baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. Mix walnuts, 1/2 cup of the sugar and 2 tsp. of the cinnamon; set aside. Roll each portion of dough to 11-inch circle on lightly floured surface, lifting dough occasionally to add more flour to work surface as necessary. Spread each circle evenly with 1 Tbsp. of the preserves.

SPRINKLE nut mixture over preserves. Cut each circle into 16 wedges. Roll up each wedge, starting from wide side. Place, point sides down, on prepared baking sheets; shape into crescents. Sprinkle with combined remaining 1 tsp. cinnamon and 2 Tbsp. sugar.

BAKE 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately remove from baking sheets. Cool on wire rack.

Size It Up

Sweets can add enjoyment to a balanced diet, but remember to keep tabs on portions.

Great Substitute

Substitute PLANTERS Pecans for the walnuts and/or apricot preserves for the raspberry preserves.

Nutritional notes:
For two cookies:
Calories 150
Total fat 11g
Saturated fat 4.5g
Cholesterol 25mg
Sodium 70mg
Carbohydrate 13g
Dietary fiber 1g
Sugars 6g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A 6%DV
Vitamin C 0%DV
Calcium 0%DV
Iron 4%DV

Download Rugelach into MacGourmet.

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