Monday, March 05, 2007

Mondays with Maida - Rugelach

Page 201 in the old book / page 188 in the new book

I used to include Rugelach (with apricot jam, currants and pecans) in my assortment of Christmas cookies quite regularly. I've gotten out of the habit recently, partly because I think of them as one of the more difficult cookies to make (by now you must know of my aversion to rolling cookie dough), and partly because I've also fallen out out of the habit of making apricot jam each year (one bad batch put a damper on that). Well now that I've tried Maida's recipe, I may have to put Rugelach back in the starting line-up at Christmas. They were much easier to make than my usual recipe, they don't require any apricot jam, and they were delicious!

The dough for Maida's version of Rugelach is rolled into 12-inch circles, brushed with melted butter, and sprinkled with walnuts, currants, cinnamon and sugar. You then cut each circle into wedges and roll each wedge from wide end to small. This method is quite forgiving of ragged/lopsided circles and uneven wedges - thank goodness! The other recipe I've used, from Rosie's Bakery Chocolate-Packed Jam-Filled, Butter-Rich, No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book is more exacting. The dough is rolled very thinly into large rectangles which are rolled and sliced - much more work. The other problem I always had with that recipe is that the middles always seemed undercooked - not so with Maida's recipe. They were wonderfully crunchy through and through.

These cookies went quickly and were obviously a hit. Even a coworker who only reluctantly eats nuts told me that they were the best nut cookie she'd ever had. She was quite enthusiastic, so this was clearly intended as a complement, though I guess you'd have to say it was a qualified complement. :)

Suzanne will be out for the next couple of weeks doting over her new granddaughter, Victoria. Congratulations Suzanne! Here's the panel ...

Laura: "Light, flaky and crunchy - very tasty! Rating - 4.5"

Denny: "Golden brown delights. Reminds me of my Mom's and Grandmom's holiday baking. And what's better than that?! Baked to perfection with just the right amount of crunch. Cookies like these make it a pleasure to be on your Cookie Committee. I wish they had a little chocolate so I could them a 5, but to be consistent I'd give them a 4.0 with the -1 no chocolate penalty. Rating - 4.0"

Terri: "These are a delicious treat! I love the buttery taste of the cookie and the amount of walnuts and currants is perfect. These would be great with vanilla ice cream. Rating - 5.0"

Overall rating by the panel - 4.5

Next week - Danish Coffeehouse Slices

Nutrition Facts


Amy said...

They're beautiful! That method does seem to make a lot more sense.

Anonymous said...

Rugelach! Oh of my favorite cookies and yes -- I imagine that they're a bit of work although I have never attempted to make them myself. Someone always gives us a tin of commercial-made rugelach each xmas but I bet homemade can't be beat!

Madam Chow said...

Like Rowena, I've never made them, but they are one of my favorites! I can't wait to try my hand at them.

Cathy said...

Hi Amy - thanks! Yes, I'm sold - I don't think I'll ever go back to the other way!

Hi Rowena! With all that gingerbread man experience under your belt, these would surely be a snap for you!

Hi Madame Chow! They are definitely worth a try and really not all that difficult.

Nupur said...

Cathy...what perfect little bundles! They look like they would just melt in the mouth. These are my favorite cookies too, and I love the method of rolling one circle and then creating them from wedges. That Maida is clever :)

Cathy said...

Hi Nupur - that she is! Though I think this might be a traditional way of shaping these cookies. It would be fun to play with other fillings - this is just one of many hits I got on the word "rugelach" and has oodles of ideas!

Anonymous said...

I've seen several references on your blog to your not liking to have to roll dough. While I don't know YOUR particular reason(s), I wanted to pass this along: I use a simple device that makes rolling dough pretty easy -- a top and bottom round of thin, flexible plastic connected by a zipper that runs all the way around it, save for a couple if inches. Dust the inside with flour, put the dough inside, zip it up, and roll. It's easy to get it all even, and to transfer it to a tart pan or pie dish. Comes in different sized rounds. Unfortunately, there's no manufacturer's name on it, but I purchased the two sizes I use at a professional chef's equipment store.

Cathy said...

Hi mmm! Thanks for the tip... I wonder if it's big enough for cookie dough? Actually, for some reason I don't mind rolling pie crust. Cookie doughs (or at least some cookie doughs) are another story. Pie crust dough is soft and easy to roll. Cookie dough is usually rolled after chilling and often has to literally be beaten into submission. My old rugelach recipe that I mention in this post requires that I roll the dough ultra thin - which takes a lot of muscle when the dough starts out like a brick! Anyway, I am curious about this gadget you've got. If you ever run across a name for it, please do let me know!

Darwin said...

Love your blog! Could this be the device that "mmm" was talking about:

Plastic Pie Crust Bag?

I would love it if they made one big enough for rolling out cooking dough and tart pastry as well.

Cathy said...

Hi Darwin - I'll bet it is! Thanks! I found it on other sites too under the name "pie crust maker". Still no luck finding one for cookie dough, though there is a 14-inch version of the pie crust maker that would probably work in many cases. Also found this which looks interesting.