Welcome to the Christmas recipes! Or Festivus, Kwanzaa or Hanukkah, whatever you choose to celebrate. In actuality, rugelach (or rogelach or a zillion other possible spellings) is from Jewish origin, but the French are horning in and saying it was their idea. I'm horning in and saying it's delicious. So there.
My mom made rugelach (pronounced rug-lah) when I was growing up, and to me, it means Christmas. Finally this year I asked her for the recipe, and I'm so glad I did. I made them this morning, and they're just too good not to share. I eat these as a breakfast food, but they're good at any time of day. Promise.
The recipe in full is below, but I'll give you some photos to give you a rough idea of the process. Fair warning: it's a two day extravaganza, but it's easy. Time-consuming, perhaps, but again - so worth it.
So you make dough first, and roll it into balls the size of golf balls.
Aw, look. They're happy to see you.
Then you stick all the balls in the refrigerator and let them hang out overnight. After you dream about them, you can actually get to the time consuming part the next day.
Roll 'em out! Do yourself a favor and load up on the flour or else you'll have some unsticking to do. More flour is better than less. Trust me on that one.
Now, Mom said to make these into rectangular shapes. I'm here to tell you, short of some origami miracle, mine were not about to look like rectangles. That's what the majority of them looked like - above.
Slice them on the diagonal to make (sorta) wedges, then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling on top. I found it helpful to pat down the filling with the back of the spoon. Then it was more committed to staying on the dough.
Come to mama.
Then you roll 'em up, and stick 'em in the oven! Easy peasy, right?
Let me tell you. I think I'm good at this baking business. I thought they would look like these perfect little crescent roll-ish guys. I now bow to my mother's skill, because not one of them looked like a neat little crescent roll. Not one. I had a few flubs that sort of unraveled in the oven. So if you do too, don't sweat it.
Once they're done baking, let them cool for a few minutes, then go find a guinea pig.
I asked Matt if he would eat one of my "flubs." You know, one of the rugelach that didn't quite look right. They'd taste perfect, though. Matt yelled from the living room, "I don't want the flubs!"
I gave him a flub anyway.
Two minutes later, I hear, "Do you have any more flubs in there?!"
Yeah, they're that good.
Leftover filling carnage. It's ok. Sprinkle it on your cereal or oatmeal or something.
Ahh, Christmas is here. And it's tasty. A few more recipes forthcoming this week, including the elusive Breakfast Casserole!
1 8-oz cream cheese
2 c flour
1/2 lb (two sticks) butter
Cream butter and cream cheese. Blend in flour and sugar. Roll into balls about golf ball size. Refrigerate overnight.
On floured board, flatten and roll to 1/2 inch thickness. Try to make them rectangular shape -- I found they're easier to cut into triangles this way. Cut wedges.
1 cup ground walnuts
2 t cinnamon
1 c sugar
Sprinkle wedges with sugar/cinnamon/nut mixture generously. Roll each wedge starting from wide end.
Bake at 350 for 12 - 15 minutes. Less time if they're small.
ETA: Turns out Mom didn't always have perfect crescents - she admitted at dinner this evening that she ate all of her flubs! The secret is revealed! (Now I know where I get it from.)
She also added that she would take the golf balls, roll them into tube shapes or sausages, then roll them with a rolling pin - making a more rectangle shape. To add to the Martha Stewart-esque fabulousness of my mom, she would slice the wonky ends of the dough off to make a neat rectangle - which didn't occur to me. Duh. The leftover (wonky end) dough would be combined at the end to create more rugelach! Genius!