Friday, November 8, 2013
I'm breaking my self-imposed no-Christmas-talk-before-Thanksgiving rule to bring you some Christmas treats. Over the coming weeks, I'll be sharing some goodies that I made for last year's Christmas trays. I go kind of insane with my Christmas cookie trays every year; I just can't help myself, so I have lots of delicious things to share.
I thought I'd start off the Christmas cookie talk with my number one, very favorite Christmas cookie of all time: rugelach. Rugelach is a flaky pastry filled with walnuts and cinnamon sugar, and if you've never had it, you are really missing out. The nuttiness of the walnuts, the sweet spiciness of the cinnamon sugar, and the buttery pastry are such a delicious combination. These cookies keep for a long time stored in an airtight container at room temperature, and both the raw dough and the baked cookies freeze very well, making them ideal for preparing ahead of the Christmas baking rush.
Some versions of rugelach call for raisins, chocolate, or raspberry or apricot preserves. I prefer a simple version with just nuts and cinnamon sugar. If you're not a fan of walnuts or you just want something different, try using almonds, pecans, or cashews instead; I think those would be delicious substitutions.
slightly adapted from Allrecipes
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1. Cut cold butter and cream cheese into bits. In a food processor, pulse flour, salt, butter and cream cheese, and sour cream until crumbly.
2. Shape crumbly mixture into 4 equal-sized discs. Wrap each disc and chill for 2 hours, or up to 2 days.
3. Combine sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts in a bowl.
4. Roll each disc into a 9-inch round, keeping the other discs chilled until ready to use. Sprinkle the rolled disc with the walnut mixture, pressing lightly into the dough.
5. Using a chef's knife or pizza cutter, cut each round into 12 wedges. Roll wedges from wide to narrow, ending with a point. Place on ungreased baking sheets and chill for 20 minutes before baking.
6. After chilling, bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks.
Makes 4 dozen rugelach