January 29, 2013

Pin It Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach - Cook the Books

Taken From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
I'd been holding out on this recipe all month since I knew February was going to be very baking heavy. I've waited long enough and decided to take this one on over the weekend. Definitely a weekend activity and not something you should try and fit into a week night, too many steps and too much prep!

This recipe starts out by making the dough, which needs to be made ahead of time so it has time to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.

The dough calls for:
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces (1 brick) of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

See what I mean about prep?  Not only do you have to make the dough ahead of time but you have to get all the fats to room temperature first.  This recipe is totally worth it, just make sure you have everything organized before you start, or it has the potential to take over you entire day.

Start by beating the butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy then add in the flour and salt and mix at a lower speed until the flour just disappears. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge (2 hours - 3 days).
I made my dough the day before and let it chill overnight.

The next morning I started by getting organized and prepping all the parts for these cookies.

For the filling you'll need:
2/3 cup raspberry jam
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons pecans, toasted and finely chopped (walnuts and almonds work too)
1/2 cup finely chopped bitter-sweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips

You will also need to the following for the glaze:
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
Coarse or sanding sugar, for sprinkling or additional cinnamon-sugar

Start out by heating the jam over medium heat until it simmers.  This thins it out a bit and makes it easier to spread.  Set the jam aside and let it cool slightly.

I mixed together the cinnamon and sugar, and put everything in separate bowls to have it easily accessible, and because Deb told me to. At this point I also mixed together the egg yolk and teaspoon of water until smooth and set it aside for later.

The recipe says to divide the chilled dough into thirds and return the unused dough to the fridge while you are working.

Here is how the rest of this process goes/how I did it.

Roll out one third of the dough onto a floured surface into about a 12 in "circle."
Dough, with bowls of jam, mini chocolate chips, cinnamon-sugar and chopped walnuts.
Spread 2-3 tablespoons of jam onto the dough, right to the edges.  Sprinkle on 3 tablespoons of cinnamon-sugar (I found this to look like a lot, 2 tablespoons would probably be fine), 2 tablespoons of chocolate and 1 tablespoon of nuts. (I only put nuts on half my cookies to please the non-nut loving cookie eaters I know, plus I'm not the biggest fan either). Using a piece of parchment paper, press the toppings into the dough so they are less likely to fall out when you roll each rugelach.
I used my fancy pizza cutter (a sharp knife works too), to cut the circle into 16 "even" wedges. 
Roll each wedge, staring with the wide end, into a little crescent and place it on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, with the point of the cookie tucked underneath (to pin it closed).  Preheat your oven to 350 and place the tray of rolled rugelach into the freezer for 15 minutes before baking. I didn't bother trying to bake these all at once (because I don't have that many cookies sheets that I trust) so I just assembled/baked in 3 separate batches.  While the first batch was chilling in the freezer, I started on the second chunk of dough and repeated the same process.
Before baking, brush each cookie with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar/cinnamon-sugar.
I baked these at 350 for 22 minutes (the recipe says 20-25 minutes) until they were golden brown. These get really messy in the oven which is why parchment paper is highly recommended.  It's also important that you remove them from the baking sheet and move them to a cooling rack while they are still warm, as the hot jam and sugar caramelize and can make it hard to get them off the baking sheet.  I also found that moving them when they are hot makes it easier to remove the excess goo that leaks out while they were baking.
Since my dough wedges weren't all exactly even, I got final products of varying sizes.
This was was mini, and adorable.
I continued with my other two chunks of dough, and baked each batch for another 22 minutes.  You end up with 48 beautifully delicious rugelach. I have to say there were never actually 48 all at the same time since kept eating them right off the cooling rack. I had to make sure they were good, and then I just couldn't stop myself! They were so small and bite sized and just begging to be eaten.
These are awesome! The pastry is light and delicate and the filling is rich and delicious. Love them. Kind of involved to make but with an amazing outcome. 

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