There’s something very comforting about baking during the holidays. I think much of it has to do with connecting to times past and, in some cases, bridging the gap between loved ones long gone. This weekend I set out to make something to bring to a friend’s Hanukkah party, and was reminded of how my husband talks of his grandmother’s rugelach. His mother doesn’t care much for cooking, so it was no surprise she didn’t have the recipe. I wasn’t going to let that get in my way, though, and headed to the kitchen.
Turns out, the dough is only three simple ingredients: cream cheese, butter and flour. I opted for a raspberry walnut filling over raisin, and added a dash of cinnamon for an aromatic twist. At first, it may seem the cutting and rolling is time consuming, but I found after doing the first few, the rest flew by quite quickly. They may not be my husband’s grandmother’s, but he seemed happy as a kid munching away on them.
Raspberry Walnut Rugelach
The dough needs some chilling time, which is fine for me because there's always laundry that needs folding.
For the Dough
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces butter, softened
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Filling
1 cup raspberry jam
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
To make the dough, beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt and beat on low speed until completely mixed. Increase speed to high and beat for 30 seconds. Wrap dough tightly on plastic wrap or waxed paper and freeze for 30 minutes or refrigerate for at least one hour.
Meanwhile to make the filling, add the jam, nuts and cinnamon to a small bowl and stir until combined; set aside, covered, until ready to use.
Divide the chilled dough into 4 equal pieces. With lightly floured hands, shape one piece of dough into a ball. Flatten slightly on a lightly floured surface, then roll out to 1/16" thick circle. Cut the dough into 16 equal triangles (you can use a pizza cutter and the same technique for slicing pizza to do this step).
Spread a small amount of filling—about a scant 1/2 teaspoon, on each triangle. Roll, starting with the thicker end of dough, towards the tip. Place on a silicon or parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes, until golden. Let cool on sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a rack and cool completely.