Sunday, December 21, 2008


These delicate little cookies are a decadent, melt-in-your-mouth treat that I make once a year, for Hanukkah. They are such a wonderful indulgence that my Anglican-raised husband starts making filling requests for the Hanukkah rugelach as we sit down to the table for the Jew* and I to break the Yom Kipur fast.

Start with the dough - put the following in the mixing bowl of your food processor:

1 Cup flour
1/4 Cup confectioners sugar
1 stick butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into pieces

Pulse the processor for ten seconds at a time until the ingredients form a ball. Turn out onto a floured board and work into a ball. Divide into four equal pieces, work into balls, and flatten into discs about 6 inches in diameter, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is manageable. Do this three times to make 96 pieces. You want to end up with 12 disks of dough that will yield eight cookies each.

While the dough chills, make your fillings.

Cranberry Pecan Filling

1/2 Cup pecans
1/2 Cup dried cranberries
1/4 Cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

With the steel chopping blade in your food processor, add all the ingredients and pulse until the ingredients have a uniform texture. Set aside, and make the other fillings.

Date-Walnut filling

1/2 Cup walnuts
1/2 Cup chopped dates
1/4 Cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Process to uniform texture, set aside.

Chocolate Pecan filling

1/2 Cup pecans
1/2 Cup mini chocolate chips
1/4 Cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Process for a few seconds and set aside.

Flour a glass or marble surface and roll the dough out, one disc at a time, to between 8-10 inches diameter. The thinner you roll the dough, the more delicate the cookie - but the harder the dough is to work with - and you have to roll this delicate dough around chopped nuts, so don't go thinking you are the second coming of Marie-Antoine Carême. The first time you try this, go with a diameter that is closer to 8" than 10" and has a little thicker dough to work with.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface, use a pizza wheel to make eight equal wedges. Spread 1/4 of one of the filling mixtures over the dough.

Roll cookies into crescents and transfer to a glass baking dish and bake in a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes, then check them every couple of minutes until they look like this:



*The Jew - after several generations of agnostic, cultural, kitchen-table Judaism that makes your average Reform congregation look orthodox, God has delivered unto our family a real live, candle-lighting, face-the-wall-and pray Jew in the person of our youngest daughter.

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