Okay, so let me just start off by stating the simple fact that my rugelach are better than yours. no, no no- don’t argue. I really believe it. I have a lot of faith in these little dears. They are remarkably easy to make, and freeze beautifully so you can make them in advance and bake them as needed. Imagine the sense of security you will feel knowing that these are in the freezer, ready to be baked. It seems dangerous not to make these.
Rugelach (adapted from Ina Garten)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in a food processor
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
Beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Divide the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small bowl combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.
On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. A pizza cutter is good for this. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.
***Since this recipe makes 4 dozen rugelach, you can freeze the little darlings and bake them as needed. Allow them to come to room temperature before proceeding with egg wash and baking. It works quite well!