Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Proud Baker Moment

So Saturday night Oscar had a holiday party for his job and "we" needed to make something to bring along. I searched my recipes for something that would be tasty and impressive...without TOO much work. Considering I had a list of 100 things to do that day on top of my transcription, time was short. I chose a recipe for raspberry/chocolate/pecan rugelach and dug in. With only 2 hours until party time....I was pushing the limits to get this task done. Considing the dough needs to chill for an hour....I was insane to attempt this as I had never made them before and they are tricky. However, I was very proud to complete the task and get them to the party and myself without any hiccups (except for the flour handprints spotted on my jeans just before entering the party ....whew!!). The rugelach were a big hit and several people asked for the recipe. I AM BAKER....hear me roar....HA!!!

Raspberry Rugelach (from the book Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America, 2004, John Wiley & Sons)

2 cups All Purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

8 oz cream cheese at room temperature

1 and 1/2 cups pecans, toasted

1/3 cup chopped semisweet chocolate (optional; I used mini chocolate chips)

1 cup raspberry jam (I used seedless)

1/3 cup cinnamon sugar (1/3 cup sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon)

egg wash (1 large egg, beaten with 2 Tbsp. milk or cold water; I used water)

Sift the flour and salt into a bowl and set aside.

In a mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream together the cream cheese and butter on medium speed for about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients just until combined, scraping the bowl as needed to evenly blend. Tightly wrap the dough and chill it for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it's firm.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it's 1 inch thick all over. Fold the dough over into thirds, like you'd fold a letter. Wrap the dough and chill it for at least 1 hour, and up to 24 hours.

To prepare the filling, combine the pecans and chocolate in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse repeatedly until the mixture forms a coarse paste. (I pulsed until a bit of it held together when I pressed with my fingers; it was not truly like "paste" for me, but it worked just fine the way it was.) Dump it all into a bowl, add in all of the jam, and stir until it's well combined.

When you're ready to assemble and bake, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. Divide the chilled dough into 4 equal pieces. Return three of them to the fridge while you work on the first one.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 10" circle. Spread 1/4 of the filling evenly all over the circle, extending almost right up to the edge. Sprinkle 1/4 of the cinnamon sugar evenly over the filling. Cut the circle evenly into wedges; 16 if you want very small rugelach, 12 if you'd like them slightly larger (I used a sharp pizza wheel to cut them; I made mine into 12 wedges and they were still small). Roll the wedges up, starting at the wide end. Curve the ends in slightly, like a crescent, if you wish.

Place them on your lined cookie sheet. Brush them gently with the egg wash, and sprinkle each one with cinnamon sugar. Bake them until light golden brown, for approximately 25 to 30 minutes (mine only took about 22 minutes). Transfer the finished rugelach to wire racks and cool them completely before storing or serving them.

Makes 48 to 64 cookies.

1 comment:

  1. I have to say that it is completely satisfying to start thinking of yourself as a baker! It is so fun to make something that would have intimidated you previously and now you have the skill, tools and nerve to not only attempt it, but hit it out of the park! I am proud of you girl! Keep it up! Maybe I can come intern with you someday!
    Love ya!