When I first moved to San Francisco I was a frequent patron of Rainbow Grocery. And they have this lovely pastry section, which is where I discovered rugelach. I also discovered that it was nearly impossible to resist these buttery little confections, and would leave having compulsively purchased one or three. Fortunately I have been able to curtail that habit now that I am a mature grown-up and am able to exercise restraint.
However, eaten in moderation, and prepared so that they’re extra small, rugelach are, perhaps, one of the best cookies out there. My goodness. That remarkable butter and cream cheese combo really makes for a magical, flaky pastry that tastes ridiculous. And I especially love pecan, cinnamon and brown sugar together, perhaps because it is vaguely reminiscent of the cinnamon toast of my youth. But these cookies are flexible so far as a filling is concerned – you can mix it up by incorporating jams, fruit butters or chocolate instead.
RUGELACH WITH PECANS, BROWN SUGAR AND CINNAMON
adapted from Lottie+Doof via Design*Sponge
For the dough:
1 stick butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
For the filling:
1 cup finely chopped pecans (or walnuts!)
1/3 cup brown sugar, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon cinnamon, plus more for dusting
Cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. (I always wonder how people did these things prior to electricity.) Slowly fold in the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Flatten into a round disc, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least two hours.
Meanwhile, combine the ingredients for the filling and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
When the dough is ready, remove from fridge and slice into four pieces. Shape each into a ball. Working with one at a time, flatten into a rectangle using a rolling pin. Remove uneven edges with a knife – you can set the extra dough aside and later form more cookies with it. Spread a layer of the topping across the dough, leaving the far edge of the dough untopped. Carefully roll into a log. Dust with brown sugar and cinnamon, pressing them gently into the dough. Slice into half-inch or inch-wide discs, depending on the size of the cookie you’d like. Place cookies on a greased baking sheet and repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake rugelach for about 15-18 minutes, until golden on top.
Yield: 32-48 cookies, depending on size