Wednesday, December 5, 2012

chocolate raspberry rugelach.

Something you should know about me is that I love the month of December.  I love the holidays and the twinkling lights on every tree and building I pass.  I love the never-ending stream of Christmas music that is played in every single store.  I love listening to “All I Want for Christmas Is You” on repeat (much to the chagrin of Tyler who can’t stand the song.  I still think he is lying to me WHO DOESN’T LOVE THAT SONG.)  I love the act of picking out a Christmas tree and spending a Saturday afternoon decorating it and mentioning to Tyler that every single ornament that I put on the tree is my favorite ornament.  I love a lot about the month but what I love most is the fact that I can eat cookies for breakfast (and pretty much every meal of the day) without feeling guilty because cookie calories don’t count around the holidays (or so I decided).  Let’s also be honest, I started a blog so I could make an excessive amount of sweets and use the cover of “This will be so great on my blog” in order to validate making them.  So without further ado you can now look forward to the 12 Days of Cookies.   (If I am going to make cookies let’s go big and make 12 types of cookies since I short changed you all on Thanksgiving recipes last month.  I still feel so sad about it but I blame Sandy!)  We are going to make December a very food filled month starting with cookie #1 being these Raspberry Chocolate Rugelach from my newest cookbook acquisition The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (thanks Carrie!).  These are a tender, flaky cookie that are filled with a combination of my three favorite things - jam, chocolate, and nuts.  It's kind of like a rugelach on steroids since you never see all three of these ingredients in one cookie.  These are over the top in the best possible way.  

Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach
Recipe from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Makes 48 cookies

For the Dough

16 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour

For the Filling

2/3 cup (215 grams) raspberry jam (preferably seedless)
2/3 cup (135 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 41 grams) pecans toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup (3 ounces or 85 grams) finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

For the Glaze

1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon water
Coarse sanding sugar for sprinkling

Make the dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese together until they are light and fluffy.  In a medium bowl, combine the salt and the flour, then pour the flour mixture into the mixer.  Beat on a lower speed until the flour just disappears   Scrape dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and shape as best as you can into a flatish package,  Wrap well in plastic and chill in the fridge for two hours or up to 3 days.  The dough can be frozen for up to 2 months.  

Prepare the fillings: Heat your jam in a small saucepan until it simmers.  This will loosen it so it will be easier to spread thinly.  Set the warm jam aside.

Grab four small dishes.  Stir together your sugar and cinnamon in one and set it aside. In your second dish, put the pecans.  In your third dish, put the chocolate.  In the last one whisk together the egg yolk and water until it is smooth.  At this point you will also want to take out a rolling pin, flour the counter, get an offset spatula or small butter knife to spread the jam, a knife for cutting the dough, line a baking sheet with parchment, and grab a spoon for the dry toppings.  

Assemble the rugelach:  Divide the chilled dough into thirds.  On a well floured counter, roll the first third (the remaining two-thirds can remain in the fridge), into a large thin circle, about 12 inches in diameter.  

Spread 3 tablespoons jam thinly over your dough.  Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons cinnamon sugar, 2 tablespoons chopped chocolate, and 1 tablespoon chopped nuts.  Use your knife to divide the dough into 16 wedges.  Roll each wedge tightly from the outside to the center.  Transfer the rugelach to a baking sheet, keeping the pointed end of each rugelach tucked under and space them 1 inch apart.  Place the baking sheet in the fridge while you prepare the rest.  

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while you are preparing the rest and chilling the already made rugelach.  

Bake the rugelach:  Before baking, brush the rugelach with the egg wash yolk.  Sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake the rugleach for 20 - 25 minutes until they are puffed and golden brown.  Transfer the rugelach to to cooling racks while they are still hot - this is important because the jam that spills out will harden as it cools, making the cookies harder to remove from the paper.  Serve cold or at room temperature.  

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