Friday, December 14, 2007


I was watching the Food Network when I saw the Barefoot Contessa make rugelach. Rugelach are Jewish pastries. They typically consist of a cream cheese dough with various fillings such as walnuts, cinnamon, raisins, raspberry preserves, apricot preserves, or chocolate.

These reminded me of pastries that my mother-in-law makes that I love. The ones that she bakes are sour cream dough filled with apricot preserves. I haven't had the chance to get the recipe from her and these looked fairly simple, so I thought I would give it a try. I love these! They were probably one of the favorite things I made during my baking frenzy :)

The recipe calls for the dough to be divided into quarters. I made one batch just like Ina did on her show - I rolled the dough out into a circle and then cut it into 12 pieces and then rolled them into little crescents. I really didn't care much for their appearance that way, so the last three batches I made, I rolled the dough into rectangles and cut it into strips. I think they look much better this way (not to mention that it's much easier to keep the filling inside them by doing so).

from Barefoot Contessa

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped (I omitted these)
1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in a food processor (I used half apricot, half peach)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.

On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves (it seems really thin when you are spreading it out, but it's just the right amount) and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges--cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. (I rolled my dough into 12 x 4.5" rectangles and cut them into twelve 1" wide strips.) Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

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