Jane’s Sweets & Baking Journal -- http://janessweets.blogspot.com -- December 2010

Chocolate Walnut Rugelach

(This recipe is adapted from Chocolate American Style, by Lora Brody; 2004, Clarkson Potter; see pp. 156 - 157.)

For the dough:

8 oz. full-fat cream cheese, chilled and cut into small chunks

1/2 lb. (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small chunks

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tsp. sugar

For the filling:

1 cup finely chopped walnuts

3/4 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips (Definitely use the mini-morsels or, if you can't find those, chop regular size semisweet chips evenly into small bits. Because the filling provides almost all the sweetness, you might want to stick with semi-sweet versus trying dark chocolate; I considered substituting dark chips--just because I adore dark chocolate--but realized that could make these rugelach simply not sweet enough.)

1 tsp. ground cinnamon (Optional, per the cookbook, but I included this and I recommend it.)

1/3 cup apricot jam/preserves

 

For the top:

1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 Tbsp. cold water

1/4 granulated sugar, mixed with 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

 

To make the dough, in a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar.

In the large bowl of your food processor (fitted with the metal blade), place the chilled cream cheese and butter chunks, along with the flour mixture. Process until the dough comes together to just form a ball.

 

Divide the ball of dough into equal quarters, then flatten each quarter into a disk and wrap it securely in plastic wrap. Chill the dough for three or more hours, or overnight (I chilled mine overnight; it was very easy to work with the next day--not too soft or sticky).

 

When you're ready to roll out and form the rugelach, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line one or two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

 

In a medium bowl, mix together the chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, and cinnamon.

 

Heat the apricot jam in a small bowl; do this slowly in the microwave, or in a small saucepan over a low flame. The jam needs to be fluid enough for you to brush it onto the dough. Keep the jam warm.

 

Work with just one piece of dough from the fridge at a time. On a well floured work surface (I used a thin plastic mat designed for rolling out dough or fondant, with measured circles on it--very helpful, but of course not necessary!), roll the dough into a circle that's no more than 8 to 9 inches in diameter. If you roll it too thin, it may tear when you try to roll it up. Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the circle into eight equal wedges.

Brush the cut wedges with a thin layer of the warm jam. (I used a small paint brush--dedicated to food use only!--because of its soft bristles. This dough is tender and a coarse brush can mangle it. A soft silicone brush works well too.)

Sprinkle about 1 tsp.--not much more or it will just spill out the sides--of the filling mixture onto each dough wedge.

 

Starting at the wide end of each one, roll the wedge up snugly without stretching the dough and place it on your cookie sheet. Brush the top of each with the egg wash and sprinkle with a pinch or two of the cinnamon sugar.

 

Bake the rugelach for 10 minutes; check to see how quickly it's browning (not a bad idea to peek at the bottom of one piece as well), and reverse the cookie sheet from front to back. Bake another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove the rugelach as soon as they appear lightly golden. Allow them to cool on the cookie sheet, set on a cooling rack, for five minutes before removing them to cool on the rack on their own.