Holiday Cookies: Rugelach

Posted November 23, 2007 1:30 p.m. EST
Updated November 27, 2007 1:31 a.m. EST

These traditional Jewish cookies wrap a tender, flaky dough around a filling of apricot jam and chopped nuts and raisins. This recipe calls for dusting them with cinnamon sugar, but a simple icing glaze would be nice, too.



Start to finish: 4 hours (1 hour active)

Makes 2 dozen cookies

2 sticks butter (1 cup), softened

8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup pistachio meats, pecans or other nuts

3/4 cup golden raisins

3/4 cup apricot jam

3 tablespoons sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the flour and powdered sugar, and mix until it produces a smooth, sticky dough.

Divide the dough in three. Form each piece into a circle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 3 hours, or overnight.

When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place the nuts in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the raisins and pulse again until chopped. Set aside.

Remove one round of dough from the refrigerator, unwrap and place on a lightly floured counter. Roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Spread a third of the jam in a thin layer over the dough.

Sprinkle a third of the nut-raisin mixture over the jam. Use a large knife or pizza wheel to cut the dough into 8 wedges.

Starting from the wide end, roll up each wedge. With the tip on the bottom, gently turn the sides of the roll inward, creating a crescent shape. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets.

In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the rugelach, then bake them for 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned. Use a spatula to transfer the rugelach to a rack to cool.

Repeat process with remaining dough as baking space is available.