Raspberry Chocolate Rugelach
Since I'm the youngest in my family (the youngest child of four), I have very fond memories running errands with my mom. She was an amazing stay-at-home mom who truly put her children first. Since there was no babysitter or nanny, wherever my mom went, we went along; especially me because I was the youngest. Often when we'd be running errands, my mom would stop at a local bakery to pick some treats up for my siblings for their after-school snack. When we'd go to the bakery, me and my older sister, Nadia, were always allowed to pick two or three cookies for ourselves. I can remember looking in the cookie case at all of the colorful cookies topped with chocolate, sprinkles, and decorative sugar. I think they were mostly butter cookies or sugar cookies just decorated differently, but I remember thinking that they each looked like jewels sitting under the lights of the cookie case. My sister always chose some jam filled cookie, and for whatever reason, I always chose these butter cookies that were twisted into the shape of a pretzel then dipped into white chocolate coating. Why would I choose a plain white cookie when there were fancy-pants decorated cookies? I have no flipping idea. I really think it was an inability to decide which fanciful cookie to choose that propelled me to choose the most bland, plain cookie in the entire place. Now whenever I go into an old-school American bakery and I see a sugar cookie pretzel dipped into white chocolate, I give into the memory of buying them in my childhood. But every time I bite into one, I'm disappointed. It tastes just as boring as it looks. My sister, on the other hand, still loves jam-filled cookies. So whenever I make a jam-filled cookie, there's always a nod to my sister, and she often gets a little bundle of cookies just for herself.
I originally made these raspberry chocolate rugelach cookies for the Mother-Daughter Cookie Exchange in 2009. Since then I've made them quite a few times. Since my sister loves jam-filled cookies, so I know I'll always have an appreciative audience. I always thought they were over-rated, but I have to admit, I really liked these. The cream cheese dough is not too sweet, and it's serves as a nice crumbly texture against the sticky, sweet jam filling. And of course, I think the chocolate only made it better!
The dough is actually quite sticky once it's made. So allowing the dough to chill thoroughly is very necessary. I made the dough the night before rolling them out, thus ensuring the dough was nice and firm.
The recipe specifies dividing the dough into half, wrapping them separately to chill and roll out. I made a triple batch of the recipe, thus resulting in six dough disks.
I wrapped them individually in cling-wrap before chilling. At this point, I've actually frozen the dough for up to one month. Defrosting it in the fridge over night before proceeding with the recipe, and it works perfectly.
If I were a true perfectionist, I would have rolled the dough out into a perfect circle, but alas, I obviously didn't take the time to do just that. I smeared the dough with raspberry jam an sprinkled it with mini-chocolate chips.
After cutting and rolling the rugelach, I thought they looked delectable (although, not perfect). Before baking, I brushed them with egg wash and sprinkled a mixture of cinnamon and sugar on top.
Here's the recipe. It's adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.
For the dough:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (5 ounces) flour
For the Filling:
1/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces) of sugar
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 cup (four ounces) mini-chocolate chips
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the dough:
Beat the butter, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt together until light and fluffy. Occasionally stop the mixer to crape down the sides of the bowl. Reduce the speed of the mixer and add the flour. Mix until just combined.
Turn the mixture out onto a floured counter, divide it into two equal pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap, an d refrigerate until firm, about one hour. Pre-heat the oven to 375 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment or a silpad.
Assembling the cookies:
Roll each piece of dough into an 11 inch circle, about 1/4 inch thick. Spread about 1/4 cup of the jam on top of each round. Then sprinkle each with 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon sugar.
Using a pizza cutter, cut each dough round evenly into 16 wedges. Starting at the wide end, roll up each wedge into a cookie. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, with the pointed end underneath. Place them about two inches apart.
Brush the melted butter over the cookies and sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Bake the cookies until pale gold and slightly puffy, about 20 min. Immediately transfer the hot cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving (about an hour).
Makes 32 cookies.