Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Adventures with Rugelach

As usual, I made this week's recipe early. Does this mean that I'm not baking enough? Perhaps I should make something from Baking with Julia every week? Aw, that wouldn't work - there's no one here to eat the output! But I digress..

Recipe number three from the book; recipe number three that I wouldn't make again. This doesn't mean it wasn't tasty - it was (is - there are still two dozen in my freezer) - but it was a complicated recipe and all you get out of it is....cookies. This feeling of disappointment has led me to re-examine my assumptions about cookies. So, let's talk about cookies.

Cookies are, to my way of thinking, sweet little things that you have with a cup of tea after dinner, or a mid-afternoon snack. There are so many cookies that you can make in literally 18 minutes from start to finish (I know, I've timed myself making chocolate chip cookies), that I cannot understand why one would want to spend a couple of hours making a single batch. NO cookie is good enough to merit that much time - it's just not possible. Perhaps I am unfairly biased against cookies, but there you have it. This attitude obviously influenced my assessment of the rugelach.

The recipe requires multiple steps - I am still confused by it, despite having read it at least ten times. This confusion was compounded by the frustration created by having to flip back and forth to the recipe for lekvar, the recipe for dough, and the instructions for putting them all together. I will admit that I listen to audiobooks while baking, so perhaps my mental processing capability was compromised but surely the instructions could have been written more clearly. I actually misunderstood the recipe and ended up with not enough nuts for the filling. So, what the heck - I left them out; my husband hates nuts in things anyway. The only nuts I included were those that were finely chopped and mixed with the cinnamon sugar for the coating. I figured he could brush those ones off, if he wanted to.

I made the apricot lekvar, which is pretty tasty. I didn't use all of it, so have spread some of it on previously-made stollen. It tastes like a low-sugar jam. Yum.
For the filling, I used a combination of golden and Thompson raisins, dried cranberries, blueberries, and cherries, with a few prunes thrown in. I did the "plumping" as suggested.
The real star of this recipe is the cream cheese dough. It has been described as a cross between pastry and dough; it is rich, almost flaky and flavourful. I intend to make it again in an attempt to replicate Mary's Bread Basket cinnamon rolls (these are legendary where I live). I found it rolled out easily, a little messy but the cookies were fairly forgiving. I think it would have been challenging to fit all the filling in, if I had added nuts, but since I didn't - it was fine.

The only real difficulty was trying to determine when the cookies were baked. Because of the cinnamon sugar coating, they were already dark. Consequently, I over-baked (big surprise) the second batch a tad. Nevertheless they tasted fine. They aren't the best looking cookies I've ever made, though!

So, bottom line on this recipe:

- the recipe itself is not written in a user-friendly manner
- there are several steps involved, making it a somewhat time-consuming and messy endeavour
- the cookies are very tasty (even the nut-averse Official Taster liked them) - just not tasty enough for this distracted baker to make again
- BUT the cream cheese dough rocks

Jessica at http://mybakingheart.com/ and Margaret at http://www.theurban-hiker.com/ are the hosts this week and their posts will have the recipe. Also, their final products look waaaay better than mine :)

Next up is soda bread. I'm skipping this one but will make something else from Baking with Julia - perhaps the brioche - mmmmmmmm


  1. they look good! i found it a long drawn out process myself, though. :) i changed what i put in it to chocolate butter and cherries. i skipped the cinnamon. but mine looks like your. not pretty! but tasty.

  2. I am totally with you on the cookie making process. I like to eat them, but I really don't have the patience to give them individual attention.
    Re: the soda bread. I was totally unenthused about that one, and was totally surprised at how good it was. But it was way too much to eat within it's very short shelf life.

  3. this was a high-maintenance recipe indeed, but very tasty :)