Apple & Cookie Butter Rugelach
I absolutely love Holidays. Aside from the opportunity to gather with friends and family and celebrate, they're always an opportunity to bake something new, and usually something seasonal. Mmmmmm seasons.
For Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), traditional foods are apples and honey - apples because of the garden of eden, and honey to ring in a sweet new year. This year I decided to go super-jew and make a specifically jewish dessert that I've never made before - Rugelach! What's that you ask? Well I don't think you're here for a history lesson, so head over to our trusty friend Wikipedia for more info. Also, I had this big jar of apple butter in my cabinet that's been there for...longer than I want to admit.
And thus the decision was made to make apple rugelach. But also, cookie butter makes everything better, so I decided to do half and half. I used mostly powdered sugar with a little AP flour (2:1 maybe?) to coat the table and rolling pin before rolling the dough, because I remembered reading someone said they used powdered sugar and...why not? It's nice because if a little gets inside as you're rolling up the dough, it won't end up being a little icky pocket of flour. One final note - ask these bake, the filling will leak out a bit - that's okay! If they don't, you didn't use enough!
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Makes 32-40 Rugelach Cookies
260g AP Flour (2 cups + 2 Tablespoons)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 package cream cheese (8oz)
2 sticks butter (8oz)
1 cup apple butter (or 1 cup of your favorite apple pie filling - homemade or otherwise)
1 cup crunchy cookie butter
AP flour and/or powdered sugar for dusting
1 egg + 1 teaspoon milk or water for egg wash
Coarse sanding sugar and cinnamon for sprinkling (optional)
Cake lifter (or large thin metal offset spatula)
Cutting board + large knife
Two oversized (at least 20"x14") or four regular sized cookie sheets
Pulse 260g AP flour and 1/2tsp salt in food processor until combined.
Cut up 8oz cream cheese into cubes and mix in food processor until just combined.
Cut up 2 sticks butter into cubes and mix in food processor until a clumpy dough forms.
Press dough into a square or rectangle in waxer paper, wrap thoroughly, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24.
When ready to roll out the dough, liberally cover a clean surface and your rolling pin with flour and/or powdered sugar.
Cut dough into four equal sized pieces (weigh them to get them all as close to each other as possible, if you can), and place three of the pieces, wrapped, back in the fridge. This dough is pretty soft so you do not need to let it sit out before using it, and you should keep it in the fridge if you're not about to roll it out.
Roll the dough into a 12" x 7-8" rectangle, with the longer edge facing you. As you roll make sure to pass the cake lifter under the dough a few times and redistribute flour underneath to make sure it doesn't stick. If you end up with uneven edges, use the knife to clean them up, and put those pieces upside down in the middle of your doll and give them a few rolls to incorporate. If you end up with one uneven long edge that's fine, use that side to start your rolling (facing you).
Spread 1/2 cup of filling (cookie or apple butter) with an offset spatula, spreading all the way to the edges except for the long edge furthest from you - leave about 1/4"-1/2" clean there as it will make it easier to finish rolling. The cookie butter is thick and may be difficult to spread, so start by dollop-ing it all over the dough so you have to spread less. You could try microwaving it for 10-15 seconds to loosen it, but if you don't (I didn't) just take care to make sure you don't rip the dough as you spread. Though, if you do, it's not really a big deal since you'll roll it up anyway.
Starting with the edge closest to you, roll the dough starting with your fingertips, then using your full hand as it gets easier. Once rolled, use the cake lifter and your hand to carefully place it on a parchment/wax/aluminum lined cookie sheet or cutting board, and place in the freezer.
Repeat steps 7-9 with the other three pieces of dough, starting with the rest of your first filling, then moving onto to 1/2 cup each of your other filling. You'll end up with two rolls of cookie butter, and two rolls of apple butter.
If you're going to bake right away, set your oven to 350F. If not, freeze until your rolls can be picked up without bending, then wrap them well in plastic and then aluminum. They will keep in the freezer for up to one month, and whenever you're ready to bake them pick up here with heating your oven.
Whisk 1 egg with either 1 teaspoon of water or milk for your egg wash. If you want to use coarse sanding sugar (perhaps mixed with a little cinnamon for the apple ones) get that out and ready
Line two cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Assuming it's been at least 15 minutes since you put your first roll in the freezer, take that one out and place it on a cutting board. Cut off the ends to get cleaner cookies. Cut into 8-10 even pieces, and push them back together gently to apply the egg wash so it doesn't drip down the sides of each cookie.
Brush the log across the top evenly with egg wash, then sprinkle with sanding sugar (mixed with cinnamon if you want).
Place the cookies on your cookie sheet at least 1.5" inches apart. If you have regular sized sheets, put one roll on one sheet. If you have oversized, you can fit two rolls worth of cookies on one.
Repeat steps 14-16 with the second roll of that flavor.
Bake 20-25 minutes until the tops of the cookies are golden or just turning. It's okay if the filling oozes out! That's a definite with the cookie butter. If you know your oven bakes a bit unevenly, rotate/swap the cookie sheet(s) halfway through.
As your first flavor bakes, repeat steps 14-16 with the other two rolls, then bake accordingly.
Cool cookies on the baking sheets, and then try not to eat them all before they make it into some tupperware to last you a few days or travel to your special event.