Each year I go on a major cookie – baking bender. True story. It’s one of our yearly traditions that started when we were first married and hadn’t even begun having children. Back then it was easier to produce mountains of cookies in a shorter time span, but I still try my best to create a smorgasbord of sugary goodness despite time constraints.
Every year there are specific types of cookies which are a must. These are: Frosted butter cookies, frosted gingerbread cookies, chocolate – dipped macaroons, Rugelach, Linzer cookies, and Florentine cookies. In addition I try a few new types each year, and sometimes I will throw in some Hamantaschen for good measure. Those are better suited to Purim than Christmas, however. This year I am adding in Chocolate-Cherry Mandelbrot and Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints. I’ll let you know how they all turn out.
In the meantime, for your baking pleasure I am sharing my favorite Rugelach recipe.
8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
2 1/2 sticks of butter, divided
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup sugar
1 TBS cinnamon
2 TBS sugar
First, beat the cream cheese with 2 sticks of softened butter. You’ll have the best luck doing this if you have a stand mixer; a hand mixer works well, too. If you’re doing this by hand…..please put “Stand mixer” on your Christmas wish – list.
Once these two are well blended, gradually add the flour. Once it’s all incorporated, pat it into a nice round disk – shape and wrap it in plastic wrap. It need to chill in the fridge for about 4 hours (overnight is best; I find 4 hours to be a good minimum).
Once your dough is chilled, remove it from the fridge and separate it into fourths (you will roll out one fourth at a time). Rolling out can be done two different ways. More on that in a moment.
You’ll need to melt the remaining 1/2 stick of butter in a small dish and set aside. In another bowl, combine walnuts, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 tsp of the cinnamon. In yet another small bowl, combine remaining 1 tsp cinnamon and 2 TBS sugar. Set these aside, along with your raspberry preserves.
Rugelach can be made by cutting the dough into strips or triangles for crescents. I find I get more cookies if I cut strips, but crescent – shaped rugelach may be a bit more traditional. If you want to cut strips, roll out your dough into a rough rectangle shape and cut long strips into it. Each strip should be roughly 5 – 6 inches long and about 1 and a half to 2 inches wide.
For crescent cookies, roll your dough into a circle and cut it like a pie to make thin triangles for rolling.
Next is where it can get messy.
Brush each strip of dough with melted butter. Sprinkle with walnut – cinnamon mixture. At one end of each strip add a small dollop of preserves, then roll the strip up.
Brush the top of each cookie with more melted butter, and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture.
Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. They should be a light golden- brown.
Once you are done baking your cookies, you can plan a Cookie Exchange Party!
I invited my Book Club gals and families for one this year, and all involved had a lovely time. We are still enjoying the many different cookies brought by all the guests. (It’s a great way to get a large variety without baking 25 different kinds of cookies!)
Meanwhile, how about these cookies my mother made??? Hand painted Santas and Snowmen! I think she needs to sell those mail – order, no?????