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Lora Brody's Rugelach

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese (8 ounces = 227 grams)
1 cup unsalted butter (8 ounces = 227 grams)
1/4 cup sugar (1.75 ounces = 50 grams)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (4 grams)
2 cups (sift into the cup and level off) bleached all-purpose flour (8 ounces = 228 grams)
1/4 teaspoon salt* (optional)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (2.5 ounces = 75 grams)
1/4 cup (firmly packed) light brown sugar (2 ounces = 54 grams)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup golden raisins (3.75 ounces = 108 grams)
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (3.5 ounces = 100 grams)
1/2 cup apricot preserves (well stirred) (4 ounces = 113 grams)
1/4 liquid cup milk (2 ounces = 60 grams)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (0.75 ounces = 25 grams)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*Lora does not use salt in the dough. It is not strictly necessary because the cream cheese contains salt. I like a little extra.
cookie sheets lined with parchment or foil; rolling pin.


Into a food processor with the metal blade, place the cream cheese. Cut the butter into a few pieces and add it with the motor running. Process until smooth and creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and process until incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl. Add the flour and the optional salt and pulse in just until the dough starts to clump together. Soften the cream cheese and butter. In a mixing bowl, cream the cream cheese and butter until blended. Beat in the sugar and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in the flour and the optional salt until incorporated. Scrape the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and press it together to form a ball. Divide the dough into 4 portions and cover each with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. In a medium bowl, combine the sugars, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts and stir with a spatula or fork until well mixed. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow it to sit on the counter for about 15 minutes or until it is malleable enough to roll. Place 2 oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Using a floured rolling pin, on a lightly floured board, roll out each dough portion, one at a time, into a 9-inch circle to a 1/8-inch thickness, rotating the dough often to be sure that it isn't sticking. A great method that keeps additional flour to a minimum is to roll out the dough between two sheets of plastic wrap, well floured on the bottom. Flip it over, remove the bottom sheet of plastic wrap, and dust off any excess flour. Using the back of a tablespoon, spread the dough evenly with 2 tablespoons of the apricot preserves. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup of the raisin-walnut filling over the preserves. Press the filling firmly and evenly over the dough. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough circle into 12 triangles or pieces of "pie." Use a thin knife, if necessary, to loosen the triangles from the board. Starting at the wide end, roll up the triangle and bend the ends around to form a slight crescent shape. Place the rugelach, point underneath, about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap, for at least 30 minutes or until firm. Clean the work surface of excess filling before rolling each batch. For the topping, brush the rugelach with milk. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle the rugelach with it. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking period. Use a small, angled metal spatula or pancake turner to transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely. In an airtight container at room temperature or in the freezer. 5 days at room temperature, 3 months frozen. If the raisins are not soft, soak them first in 1/2 cup of boiling water for 1 hour and drain them thoroughly. The apricot is stirred instead of strained because straining thins it too much and it tends to ooze out the sides of the rugelach. Unbaked rugelach dough freezes brilliantly. This is a great dough to have on hand in the freezer. Simply add on about 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time. The rugelach are especially delicious still warm from the oven and are at their best when freshly baked. The dough is chilled before baking to maintain the most even shape. Lining the cookie sheets with parchment or foil keeps the sticky filling from baking onto the pan and makes cleanup easier. Allow the cookie sheet(s) to cool completely before using for the next batch. Distribute the cookies evenly around the cookie sheet. Avoid crowding the cookies into one section of the cookie sheet, leaving a large area bare.

Source: www.epicurious.com