Brown Butter Rugelach with Nutella and Peanut Crumble
2020 has inarguably been a major dumpster fire, and yet also the best year of my life given the birth of my baby boy. A day before Rosh Hashanah as my mom was telling me her menu plan for our smaller-than-average holiday gathering, I realized she was making an apple pie...and only an apple pie. Now - don't get me wrong - apple pie is excellent, especially if my mom has made it. But one dessert? Only one?? Now that's just not tradition!
Tradition in my family is to have a gluttonous dessert option to people present ratio, and if one thing is known about us Jews, it's that we looooove tradition. I've also really missed baking as much as I used to, and I can't remember the last time I didn't contribute to our Rosh Hashanah dinner. A Serious Eats email had landed in my inbox recently, and I remembered it featured a Rugelach recipe they'd published a few years back, and I knew it had Nutella in it. Perfect! My mom loves Nutella. These aren't hard to make (8 ingredients) but they are a little involved, so make sure to set aside enough time for all the steps.
L'Shana Tova, and Happy Baking!
Adapted from Serious Eats
Makes 16-18 Rugelach Cookies
INGREDIENTS & SUPPLIES
1 stick (4oz) unsalted butter
4oz cold cream cheese, cut into cubes
120g All-Purpose Flour (1 cup)
1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt (or a pinch of table salt)
1/2 cup Nutella (~4oz)
1/4 cup salted peanuts, finely chopped (~1oz)
2 Tablespoons oats, old fashioned or instant, finely chopped
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon water
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons milk of your choosing (whole, oat, soy, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Small metal mixing bowl, nested inside an ice bath in a larger mixing bowl
Extra AP flour
Wax paper or plastic wrap
12"+ Cutting Board
Pizza or Pastry Cutter (or a sharp knife)
Two cookie sheets that can stack with each other (you're using two, nested, to prevent the bottoms of the cookies from burning)
Small mixing bowl
Brown the Butter:
Unwrap your butter, but keep the wrapper close by. Place your butter in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat.
Swirl the saucepan as the butter melts to evenly distribute.
Keep an eye on it, swirling every minute or two, and once the foam begins to subside start whisking it slowly but consistently, to keep any of the milk solids falling to the bottom of the pan from burning too quickly.
After about 5-10 minutes, once you start to see the color of the butter turn brown (you can also check to see if your whisk has any little brown pieces on it), pour it into the small mixing bowl in your ice bath.
Let the butter cool, whisking it every few minutes to help it come into contact with the cold sides of the bowl. After about 10-15 minutes your butter should be returning to a solid state, but still be soft enough that you can scoop it out with a spatula.
Scoop the butter back into a log-ish shape on its original wrapper, and press it into whatever shape you need to be able to close the wrapper around it. Put it back in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes or more (you could do this step days in advance, really), so that it's solid enough to cut into pieces again.
Make the Dough:
Once your butter is cut-able, add your 120g (1c) AP Flour, 1/8tsp kosher salt, and 4oz cubed cold cream cheese to the bowl of your food processor. Cut your browned butter into small pieces (it's fine if it ends up pretty crumbly) and add it as well.
Pulse your food processor 10 or so times until all the cream cheese and butter is coated in flour, then run it for 20-30 seconds until all the ingredients come together in a ball of dough.
Lay a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap on your cutting board, and generously add a coating of flour to the middle. Put your dough onto it, then - with floured hands - press it into a ~5" round circle. Wrap the dough tightly, then roll/press its sides into the cutting board gently to try to smooth out any cracks that may have formed.
Chill the dough for at least one hour (moving on to the next steps while it's chilling). The dough can also be wrapped a second time and frozen for a few months. If frozen, let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight before moving on to the next steps.
Fill, Cut, and Roll the Cookies:
While your dough is chilling, finely chop 1/4 cup salted peanuts and 2TB oats (old fashioned or instant). Measure out your 1/2 cup Nutella, and have a small offset spatula handy. If your cookie sheet is a size that can fit in your freezer, prepare it now with a piece of parchment. If not, grab one that can and line it with a piece of parchment or wax paper.
When your dough is ready, generously flour your cutting board and roll the dough into a 10" circle. Use a ruler or a plate to measure out the exact circle and cut off any excess from the edges. But don't throw the scraps away!
Spread 1/2c Nutella evenly onto the dough with your offset spatula, leaving about 1/4-1/2" clear at the edges.
Sprinkle your peanut/oat mixture evenly across the Nutella.
Use a pastry or pizza cutter (or a sharp knife if you don't have one), cut the circle into 16 equal sized wedges.
Starting at the wider end, roll up each wedge, leaving the pointed end tucked under the cookie. Place the cookies onto the cookie sheet that will go into the freezer, and chill for 20-40 minutes.
Bake the Cookies:
Heat your oven to 375F.
Finish preparing your cookie sheet(s) - if you're not going to bake with the one in your freezer, nest two cookie sheets together, lining the top one with a piece of parchment. If you are baking on that one, just get the second cookie sheet out and ready to go under the one in the freezer.
If you haven't already, get your egg wash (1 egg yolk + 1tsp water) whisked together and your pastry brush ready.
Once your cookies are chilled, make sure they are at least 2" apart and brush each lightly with the egg wash. If you're using a different cookie sheet to bake them on, brush them with the egg wash before you transfer them to the other cookie sheet.
Bake the cookies 22-25 minutes until golden brown on top.
Let the cookie cool on the baking sheet 10-20 minutes, until you can handle them and move them to a cooling rack. Alternatively, if your cookie sheet doesn't have an edge, you can pull the whole sheet of parchment onto the cooling rack.
Cool the cookies until they are no longer warm to the touch, ~30-90 minutes, depending on the indoor temperature.
Glaze the Cookies:
In a small bowl, whisk 2/3 cup powdered sugar, 2tsp milk, and 1/2tsp vanilla extract.
If the cookies are no longer on the parchment, place them back on the parchment, or on a cutting board or a piece of wax paper.
Using a fork, drizzle the icing on top of your cookies in whatever pattern you'd like.
Let the icing set for about 10 or 15 minutes before transferring, or eating.