Thank you all for your kind words & sympathy. While I’m back posting recipes, they’re recipes I had made and written up last week before my uncle’s passing. So my heart still hurts, and of course none of us are “over it”… but yes, I’m “back” to posting. My uncle loved to cook and loved desserts, even though he was on a strict diet, so he wouldn’t want me to stop posting or hold off on anything. So here’s a new delicious recipe I want to share with you all, and I also really wanted to share the photos of my friend John’s beautiful little baby girl, Angelina, in her Cupcake Rehab bib. So freakin’ cute!
Look at her, all ready to beat someone with her whisk! Or make cupcakes, whatever!
If you want cuteness like that, and by cuteness I mean the bib not the baby- I don’t think John is willing to share her… then you can go to my Cupcake Rehab webstore and buy stuff. I have an assload of things for sale from hoodies to bibs (duh) to coffee mugs to dog bowls! Seriously. Buy some stuff, take pictures, and send me the pics. I’ll add ‘em to the C.R.my page & you’ll be (quasi-) famous. But I can’t promise it’ll make you as cute as Angelina.
Back to the eats. What’s fair is fair, and while it’s Easter time for Christians, it’s Passover for the Jewish people. Each holiday & religion hold to their own traditional foods & desserts, as do the specific ethnicities and races within each religion, just as they hold to the traditions of the religions themselves. I myself am neither Christian nor Jew, but I certainly don’t discriminate against delicious food items. I embrace them all!
Hamentashen is more traditional around this time of year, but honestly, since when have I been traditional? Actually that’s not true, I’m very old-fashioned. At any rate, I don’t happen to like hamentashen at all, so rugelach it is!
Rugelach is one of my absolute favorite “cookies.” I like the chocolate ones, and I like the filling to have a touch of cinnamon. I also like the cinnamon sugar. I’m not into the fruit filled version. I used to love the ones from the 2nd Avenue Deli… Jay used to work right near it, but that was before the two of us got together (unfortunately). And back when my dad was still working, he’d randomly pick up a bunch in a 2nd Avenue Deli tin and I’d eat all the chocolate. Once he got them as a gift for someone, and I finagled it open, ate two chocolate ones and resealed it. Shh, don’t tell.
Rugelach aren’t difficult to make. It’s similar to rolling a croissant, or a chocolate croissant. This particular dough is made with cream cheese, although there are many different varieties.
Traditional rugelach are made in the form of a crescent by rolling a triangle of dough around a filling. Some sources state that the rugelach and the French croissant share a common Viennese ancestor, crescent-shaped pastries commemorating the lifting of the Turkish siege in 1793 (this could be a reference to the Battle of Vienna in 1683). This appears to be an urban legend however, as both the rugelach and its supposed ancestor (the Kipfel or Kipferl) pre-date the Early Modern era, and the croissant in its modern form did not originate earlier than the 19th century (see viennoiserie).
The name is Yiddish, the Jewish language of eastern Europe. The ach ending (ך) indicates plural, while the el (ל) can be a diminutive, as, for example, shtetlekh (שטעטלעך, villages) is the plural of shtetl (שטעטל, village), the diminutive of shtot (שטאָט, town). In this case, the root means something like “twist” so the translation would be “little twists,” a reference to the shape of this cookie. In this context, note that rog (ראָג) means corner in Yiddish, so it is possible that a more accurate translation would be “little corners.”
Alternatively, some assert that the root is rugel, meaning royal, possibly a reference to the taste. This explanation is in conflict with Yiddish usage, where the word keniglich (קעניגליךּ) is the dominant word meaning royal.
Finally, in modern Hebrew, they are known as roglìt (רוֹגְלִית), a postbiblical Hebrew word meaning “trailing vines”. The Yiddish word ruglach probably came first. The modern Hebrew is probably a neologism, chosen for its similarity to the Yiddish and its descriptive meaning.
Rugelach can be made with sour cream or cream cheese doughs, but there are also pareve variants with no dairy ingredients, so that it can be eaten with or after a meat meal and still be kosher. Cream cheese doughs are the most recent, probably American innovations, while yeast leavened and sour cream doughs are much older.
I’ve been wanting to make rugelach for a long time. I sort of combined 4 or 5 recipes I found to make one of my own. I think it turned out fantastic! Except one word of advice: if you don’t have a stand mixer, this dough is not going to happen for you. It’s so thick that it slowed Lola down and she made all kinds of “Rrrrrr” noises. But she can handle it. And there’s no way you can mix it by hand, you need to cream the butter and cream cheese together and even using a hand mixer isn’t gonna work out well for that. You know how cream cheese is… many a mixer has broken under it’s wrath.
- 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ vanilla extract
- ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ cup melted bittersweet chocolate, cooled but still “liquidy”
- 1 egg, beaten
- Beat softened butter and cream cheese in large bowl on medium speed of mixer until blended and smooth. Gradually add flour and ¼ cup sugar and vanilla, beating on low speed until well blended. Divide dough into 3 equal parts; wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate anywhere from 1 to 4 hours or until firm enough to roll.
- Heat oven to 375°F. On lightly floured surface, roll one piece of dough into 9-inch circle (keep remaining dough in refrigerator). Cut circle into 12 wedges. Place about 1 teaspoon melted chocolate at wide end of each wedge; spread about three-fourths of the way up wedge. Stir together 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon and cocoa powder; sprinkle over melted chocolate, sprinkle over melted chocolate. Starting at wide end, roll toward the point. Place cookies, point sides down, about 1 inch apart on a sheet of parchment paper covering an ungreased cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Repeat procedure with remaining dough and filling.
Cinnamon sugar rugelach
The dough I made is a sweet dough, if you’d like a not-sweet version just remove the sugar and vanilla. If you’d like to add a little something extra, sprinkle with some sugar after brushing the dough with the beaten egg. Other options for fillings are apricot (1 cup apricot preserves plus ¾ cup chopped walnuts), cinnamon sugar (4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, ½ cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon) or raspberry-raisin (1 cup of raspberry jam and ½ cup raisins). Or you can be totally rebellious and come up with your own filling!
(Psst… wanna know a sweet shortcut to the chocolate filling? Bosco chocolate syrup plus a sprinkling of cinnamon. Trust me, it works and it’s delicious. Just don’t use too much syrup, you’ll end up with a gooey mess.)
To me, they’re perfectly sweet, not too sweet, plus the cream cheese adds a little something special. I devoured way more in one sitting than I should’ve. A little basket of these is a perfect hostess gift.