Cookie Calendar: Forest Fruit Rugelach


Yes, I did feature this particular rugelach recipe last year, but I thought rather than feature a recipe I haven't yet made that instead I would tell you how I altered this recipe to fit my taste and ingredients on hand.

The original recipe calls for walnuts and raspberry jam. That's fine and tasty, but why rest on my laurels? I honor traditions, but tweaks keep things interesting.

I substituted chopped pecans for the walnuts. We had half a bag leftover from salad making, true, but pecans are the superior nut. Less bitter, and these days, it seems, less expensive.


(Three-year-old A did a great job spreading the jam here, but I did forget to tell him to leave a small circle of dough empty in the middle. You'll remember.)

For the raspberry jam, I skipped both the suggested apricot jam and the cherry filling in King Arthur Flour's version in favor of forest fruit jam. I spied a jar at the local Aldi, and it brought me back to last Christmas in Europe. Forest fruit is a standard jam flavor in East-Central Europe, as common as strawberry here. This one featured raspberries and blackberries among other tasty woodland berries.

I've found that rugelach adapt well to any jam or nut you feel inspired to use. You can also sprinkle in dried fruit. Be creative!

I'd suggest using salted butter instead of the unsalted I used to get extra flavor into your cookies. I read a post on shortbread over at the Bakers' Banter blog that suggested as such after I'd already made my dough. Oh well.

rugelach01.jpgForest Fruit Rugelach
Source: Adapted from Kraft Foods
Yield: 64 cookies

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, preferably salted, softened
2¼ cups flour
1 cup finely chopped pecans
½ cup plus 2 tbsp. sugar, divided
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon, divided
¼ cup forest fruit preserves

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

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

No comments: