Monday, December 12, 2005

Rugelach makes things better...

Sometimes I just get overwhelmed by the holidays. It gets frankly a little depressing, all this scurrying around, and cranky people swarming in the shopping districts, more cranky people driving poorly downtown... I could go on.

Anyway, last week I was pretty much at the end of my rope. So, "Damn the torpedoes, we're making some rugelach." Because warm cinnamon is such a comforting smell in the house.

The dough takes a day to chill, so you have to plan ahead, but what's nice is to make the dough at night and then make the rugelach in the morning. My friends at work appreciated the pick-me-up to start the day. Oh, yes. They did.

Butter Bomb Rugelach

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1-8 oz package of cream cheese at room temperature
1 tsp. lemon zest, fincely minced

2 cups AP flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. gound cinnamon
pinch of salt

3Tbsp melted butter
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
Sugar for the top

Cream the butter, cream cheese and zest together with a mixer until light. Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the butter/cheese mixture. Using a wooden spoon, blend until just incorporated.

Shap the dough into a thick log, divide into 3 parts and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk. Then chill overnight.

Combine the cinnamon sugar and salt. Prep a baking sheet with a Silpat or a sheet of parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350F.

Dust a work board with flour and roll out one of the disks into a 12 inch circle. Don't worry about any ragged edges. Lightly brush the dough with melted butter , sprinkle 1/4 cup of the cinnamon sugar over the entire surface. Then sprinkle 1/3 cup of the chopped walnuts on top of the sugar.

With the rolling pin, gently press the nuts into the dough all the way across the circle. This is to help keep the nuts in place as you roll the cookies.

Cut the circle like a pie into 16 wedges (in half, then quarters, then eighths then 16ths.) They'll be pretty skinny slices. Starting at the wide end of the wedge, roll towards the center like a crescent roll. Place on the baking sheet about an inch apart. Brush the cookies with egg wash and then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake 20-30 minutes or until browned. You should rotate the baking sheet halfway through to be sure they bake evenly.

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