Rugelach are one of my most favorite cookies, without question. I love the many combinations of flavors, the delicious cream cheese dough, fruit and toasted nuts. Despite their visual wow factor, they are some of the easiest cookies I have attempted.
As I've said here before, rugelach are originally a Jewish pastry; the word means "creeping vine" in Hebrew, something to do with their sweet crescent shape. Traditionally they are kosher (without dairy) but this cream cheese dough has become just as common.
My last batch of rugelach appeared here more than a year ago. Today I used toasted walnuts and Mom's homemade Olallieberry jam for the filling. The jam has seeds, so I pushed it through a sieve before using. I recommend this step if you are using a jam containing seeds, like raspberry or blackberry.
The filling possibilities are endless- use any combination of fruit jam, nuts, chocolate, or spices.
I LOVE nuts in cookies but if you don't, leave them out. I don't get it, but to each his own.
I intended to add chocolate to today's batch, but forgot! No matter, this combination turned out wonderfully.
Since Walnut-Olallieberry is a mouthful, let's be cute and name these Walnut-Olallie. :-)
fluted pastry cutter (a knife or non-fluted pastry cutter is fine, but the fluted cutter gives the cookie pretty edges)
2 baking pans lined with parchment paper
Walnut Olallie Rugelach
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 stick very cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
4 oz (half a block) very cold cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces
1/4 cup olallieberry jam, strained of seeds
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, chopped fine
1/4 cup baker's sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
In a food processor, combine the flour, cream cheese, and butter.
Be patient, this takes a little while. Continue to pulse and the dough will slowly come together. Remove the dough and place on a floured work surface. Divide the dough in two and form into six inch disks. Wrap tightly and separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate while getting the fillings ready. (You can also make the dough a few hours in advance.)
Place the jam, nuts, and sugar with cinnamon in separate bowls. Have a pastry brush handy to spread the jam.
Place the first disk of dough on a floured work surface and roll until the dough is thin and about 10 inches in diameter. Spread the jam evenly to the edges, followed by a sprinkle of walnuts (a bit less than half of each). Finally, sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
Using a pastry wheel or knife, cut the dough into twelve wedges.
Starting from the wide edge, roll the dough into a small crescent shape, tucking the end under the bottom. Place them on the prepared pan. Repeat the process with the second disk of dough. There should be extra cinnamon sugar and walnuts, for topping the cookies.
For the topping, beat the egg in a small bowl and brush each cookie with the egg. Sprinkle with the extra sugar and chopped walnuts. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden and caramelized.
*These cookies are best the day they are baked, but their will keep for a few more days in the airtight container.
Oh, and try to resist eating them before they are baked. I know they are pretty, but probably won't taste as good. :-)