Friday, August 26, 2011

Rugelach Pinwheels

Meet one of my top 5 favorite cookies, the rugelach pinwheel. Growing up, chocolate chip rugelach were my favorite variation, but now I love this one, which is filled with raisins, nuts, and jam. What makes these rugelach stand out from other cookies is the cream cheese based dough. The dough is very easy to make and it produces great results every time. It does require a couple rounds of chilling, but you can work around it. I sometimes make the basic dough a day or 2 before I use it. What's best though is that you can freeze the rolled up cookie logs for a few days or a couple weeks, which is really handy if it's just me in the house and I don't want to slice up both logs at once.

This is a really versatile cookie when it comes to the fillings. You can use almost any dried fruit and nut combination inside the the cookie, as well as different jams. I've used cranberries, currents, raisins, and pecans. When it comes to jams I usually stick with apricot since it's a mild flavor that i really enjoy in these cookies. I haven't tried a chocolate chip variation since the fruit and nut combo is my favorite, but I'm sure you would have a delicious result. I make these almost every time I visit my parents since my dad loves them (and I am never opposed to eating rugelach). They've always been a hit and have a flavor that works with every season. I'm sure people will be asking you for the recipe once you start sharing these.

Recipe adapted from Sweet On You Bakery via Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 40 to 50 cookies

For the Dough:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks/225 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

For the Filling:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins (or dried fruit of choice), chopped
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (or nut of choice)
1/2 cup apricot preserves

For the Topping:
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

To make the dough, mix the cream cheese and butter in a food processor until smooth. Add the sugar and mix until incorporated. Next add the flour and pulse the dough until it just comes together. Divide the dough in 2 equal pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours to chill.

To make the filling, combine all of the ingredients, except the jam, in a small bowl.

After the dough has chilled, remove the first piece from the fridge. Roll it out to about 1/8-inch (.3 centimeter) thick, trying to keep the shape as rectangular as possible. Take half of the apricot preserve and spread evenly over dough. Next, sprinkle half of the filling over the preserves. Roll the dough into a log (see picture below). Wrap in plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least 2 hours. Repeat with the second piece of dough. If you are making these ahead of time, make sure you wrap each log in plastic twice before place in freezer.

Preheat your oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Line cookie sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

To make the cookies, begin by mixing together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping. Cut1/4-inch cookies from the dough log. Toss the cookies in the cinnamon sugar and place on a baking sheet. Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes. I let mine cool on the silicone mats, but you can also transfer them to a cooling rack.

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