Raise your hand if you’ve eaten rugelach before. I don’t know why in my thirty-something years I have never had this cookie! I got the opportunity to not only finally sink my teeth into one, but try my hand at creating my own version, Raspberry Rugelach. I believe the more traditional version uses apricot jam, raisins, and walnuts, but this cookie is so versatile, you could really get creative with the filling. For the cookie recipe, I was sent a copy of Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere written by Dorie Greenspan. Yeah, no intimidation there! This cookbook is full of recipes that I can’t wait to make, like cannelés. She refers to her rugelach recipe as The Rugelach That Won Over France, so I set out to give it a try, but came up with my own recipe for a raspberry filling using fresh raspberries.
So, how’s it taste?
Y’all, I’m going to be honest, making rugelach is time consuming and not easy. At least it wasn’t for me. It was probably made a bit harder seeing as I haven’t ever had the cookie and unfortunately there weren’t any pictures of what it was supposed to look like in Dorie’s cookbook. After some internet searching, I found there are two ways to shape rugelach. One is the method where the cookies look like tiny croissants and the second method is to roll the dough and filling into a log and slice it into cookies. Dorie uses the second method for this particular recipe. As you can see, my cookies turned out really really small. Hey, that just means I can eat more, right?! I had a hard time rolling out the dough to the right measurements, so that most likely played a part in my small cookies as my dough is in thicker layers.
But speaking of layers, look at that flaky, buttery cookie! I couldn’t believe how crisp and flaky the dough turned out. I was pretty proud of my filling, even though it spread out from some of the cookies during baking. It had such a nice, fresh raspberry flavor. The cookie dough isn’t sweet at all, so the sweet/tart raspberry filling was perfect. I even added some mini chocolate chips to a few of them and that was even more decadent! That flaky dough makes these cookies so addicting. I can see why it was the rugelach that won over France!
Since I had never made rugelach before, I thought I’d try another recipe to see how it compares. I also baked Ina Garten’s rugelach and used her recipe for the dough, but changed the filling. I wanted to see if using store bought jam instead of my version would keep the filling from running (it didn’t). I used seedless red raspberry jam, but added chopped fresh raspberries and walnuts as well. Ina’s recipe really differed from Dorie’s. Although I found Ina’s dough much easier to roll out to size, it didn’t bake into those beautiful flaky layers. I baked one batch at a much higher temperature and they started to get those layers, but not quite. You can see the finished cookie wasn’t quite as appealing, even though it tasted good. Dorie’s dough was the best with its flaky, buttery layers.
I loved the addition of fresh raspberries and walnuts though! The fresh raspberries brought this tartness that played so well with the cookie and sweet jam. The crunch of walnuts was a really nice addition, too. I think my perfect rugelach would be Dorie’s dough, my homemade raspberry filling, fresh raspberries, and walnuts rolled into the croissant shape. See what I mean on how you can get really creative and fancy with rugelach! Plus even if yours don’t turn out pretty, they’ll still taste fantastic. That’s a win in my book!
Yield: about 48 cookies
4 oz. cold cream cheese
4 oz. (8 tbsp.) cold unsalted butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
12 oz. fresh raspberries (I used Driscoll's)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. Chambord liqueur
2 tsp. cornstarch
1 large egg
sanding, granulated, or sparkling sugar
1. For the dough, cut cream cheese and butter each into 4 chunks and let sit out of the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
2. Put the flour and salt in a food processor and add the cream cheese and butter chunks. Pulse until the flour coats the chunks. Process, scraping down sides of the bowl if necessary, until the dough forms large curds. You don't want the dough to form a ball.
3. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Gather into a ball and divide in half. Shape each half into a square and wrap squares in plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours and no more than 1 day.
4. For the filling, combine all the filling ingredients (except cornstarch) in a saucepan and simmer about 10 minutes, breaking down the raspberries with a spoon. Strain mixture and return to saucepan.
5. Mix the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water and add to raspberry mixture in saucepan. Boil 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then stirring constantly for the last minute. Let cool completely.
6. Working on a floured surface, flour the top of one square of dough and roll into a larger square that's about 12 inches on one side. Lift and turn the dough frequently, flouring the counter as needed so it doesn't stick. You'll have a very thin dough.
7. Cut one square of dough in half. (You should have two pieces about 12x6 inches each.) Spread 1/4 of the raspberry filling mixture over each piece of dough, leaving a slim border on both long sides. (If you want to add fresh raspberries or mini chocolate chips, you can do so at this point over the raspberry filling.) Starting from the long side, carefully roll the dough up tightly, ending with the edge on the bottom of the roll.
8. Slide the roll into the freezer and fill and roll the other rectangle. Repeat the process with the remaining dough and filling. Leave the dough rolls in the freezer for at least 1 hour.
9. To bake, preheat the oven to 400F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
10. Beat the egg lightly with a splash of cold water.
11. Remove rolls from freezer, brush the top of each roll with egg glaze, and sprinkle with sugar. Using a very sharp knife, cut each roll into slices at least 1/2 inch thick. Place slices seam side down on baking sheets.
12. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. It's better to overbake than underbake, so you don't have a bit of undercooked dough in the center. Transfer cookies to racks and allow to cool to room temperature.
dough from Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan
raspberry filling by Leah Short | a So, How's It Taste? original recipe