Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie—Rugelach

rugalach, rugalah, rugelach, rugelah, ruggalach, ruggelach, rugulah or ruggies

Oh rustic rugelach. It's fun to say (rug-a-la), delicious to eat, but mine weren't so pretty. Look at these dainty pinwheels from Deb at Smitten Kitchen. Or these pretties from Erica's Rugelach & Baking Company. And of course Dorie's look perfect sitting delicately on the plate.

Mine are brimming with filling making the dough work extra hard to wrap around all this goodness. I even watched a video of how to make rugelach from the culinary wizard Martha Stewart and the pros featured on her show before attempting this recipe. In any case, looks don't always account for taste, and these taste great.

Like me, rugelach doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up, but it has potential. It's destined to be a cookie, but dreams of being a hand pie with the filling hidden behind a curtain of dough, or a rolled and filled cinnamon bun, or better yet a fancy-filled French croissant served at a fine bakery in Paris. I had high hopes for my rugelach, including an origami-styled rugelach or a pinwheel, but my rugelach mojo was off.

Rugelach is a Jewish treat served at Hanukkah that means "little twists" in Yiddish. The dough contains cream cheese and butter, with some flour to hold them together and touch of salt for flavor. For comparison, I made one batch following Dorie's recipe, and in another I used the same amount of sour cream (4 ounces) in the dough instead of the cream cheese as Eliza did from notes from my food diary.

The filling is the fun, flamboyant part. While finding out more about rugelach this week, and saying this name so many times in my head and out loud because it's so much fun to say, I found just as many filling ideas. Although Dorie's sounded full of goodness with chocolate, pecans, currants, and raspberry jam, I thought it would be great to use up some of the apple butter I made last Fall. So, I tried half the dough with an apple butter, raisin, cinnamon-sugar filling and half with Dorie's chocolate version.

Recipe for Rugelach

Ingredients for RugelachYou can find the recipe for Rugelach in the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or here. Dorie also has a blog entry about it. To see how the rest of the TWD group fared with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger! Thanks to Piggy from Piggy’s Cooking Journal who chose the recipe for this week.

Recipe for Apple Butter

Makes 4-5 cups

7 pounds apples
3 cups unsweetened apple cider
2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt

Chop the apples, including the seeds, core, and peel. In large pan, bring the apples and cider to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and cook the mixture for about 30 minutes, or until the apples are softened.

Pass the apples through a food mill or a sieve, pressing on the solids with a spoon. Discard the peel, seeds, and cores. Return the puréed apples to a clean pan.

Add the brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, lemon zest, nutmeg, and salt. Simmer the mixture for 30-45 minutes, until thickened. Transfer to sterilized jars.

Seal and process the jars.
This apple butter would be delicious with Tarte aux pommes (Apple Pie). And just yesterday, Stef at Cupcake Project blogged about an apple butter frosting. Sounds delicious!
Apple Butter
Apple butter in the jar and
baked apple butter with a raisin that seeped out of the rugelach during baking

Tasting Notes
In side-by-side taste tests, we all liked the cream cheese version of the dough better. It was more crunchy and flaky than the sour cream version. As for the filling, we had mixed results. Some liked the chocolate version and others liked the apple version. I liked both so I'm set.

Since this was the first time I'd [heard of] tasted rugelach, I did some research. I now know where I can buy the best rugelach online in case I want to click for delivery. Chocolate gourmet in Chicago, Illinois sells Rugelach Gift Boxes. I can even join a Rugelach of the Month Club with Suzanne's Sweets in Katonah, New York. And if I need a bite-sized ruggie, I can click over to Ruggies, "cookies with a twist" located in Los Angeles, California.

But I think I'll keep practicing and someday my rugelach won't just be tasty; it will be pretty too.

Recipe for Next Week (November 11)
Kugelhopf on pages 61-63 chosen by Yolanda from The All-Purpose Girl.

An Award
I have to thank Karen from Something Sweet by Karen for a Kreativ Blogger award. You're so sweet. Her pictures are drool-worthy and inspiring. Plus she loves Rice Pudding/Creme Brulee, just like me! Thanks, Karen.


Engineer Baker said...

Yours look perfect in the traditional shape :) But origami-style has me thinking I might want to try them again...

Welcome to our crazy blessed life said...

They may not be beautiful but they sure are tasty! :) I will have to try your flavor combination!

Anonymous said...

Sounds good with sour cream too, I'll have to give that a shot. Very nice looking I'd say.

Melissa said...

I have apple butter in the fridge and I didn't even think to use it. What a great idea.

Sandy Smith said...

I think your rugelach are gorgeous! Just what they're supposed to look like - "yum"-inspiring!

chocolatechic said...


Kimberly Johnson said...

Your rugelach looks fabulous! I made an apple version too and preferred it over the chocolate version.

Anonymous said...

They look good to me! I really enjoyed the taste of the cream cheese in the dough too.

Maria said...

I am sure I would love the apple butter/raisin one! sounds super good to me!

kimberly salem said...

i love that close up! the apple butter sounds delicious :)

Jodie said...

I saw someone else used apple butter, too. Great idea!

Audrey said...

Ooooh...and I have some apple butter and never thought of using it! But homemade a.b. would be even better - I would love to try making your recipe. And I think your rugelach are very pretty (I'm proud of how homemade mine look, hee hee).

Cathy said...

Ah, the rugelach of the month club -- the gift that keeps on giving for the pastry-lover who has everything! Apple butter -- that sounds fantastic! I kept thinking about how to work apple into these, but I just couldn't figure it out -- now I know. I think that yours look plenty pretty!

vibi said...

Huh? No Picasso, no Dali, no Braque... just simple old little Shari! LOL
I do have to admit, these rugelach didn't need much to enhance them, but your great pastry chef's fingers! Bravo (isn't word getting redundant on your blog?)!!!

Anonymous said...

The apple butter sounds delicious. I'll have to try it. Your rugelach look perfect.

TeaLady said...

So many fillings, so little time. Apple Butter. Yummy!!! Great Idea.

Anne said...

Yum! They look great and I love the writing about rugelach (and you) not sure what they want to do when they grow up! I think professional chef/baker/blogger could work for you Shari. :) Keep up the excellent work- it's always wonderful to read your posts!

Jules Someone said...

The apple butter sounds really good. And don't worry about how they look. It's a rustic, homey treat.

Gabi said...

I think your Rugelach are very pretty- no need to improve. The filling with apple butter sounds like a fab variation. I loved your post- so thorough!

Megan said...

My friend gave me a recipe that contains both sour cream and cream cheese. I'll have to try that and compare the two -

Apple butter is certainly different than everything else I have seen today!!

Half Baked said...

I think they look great! I love the apple butter idea!

NKP said...

I was looking for the rugelach baked in a snail shell!
Yours look tasty and sweet, I love that you made your own apple butter.

Heather B said...

I think yours look very puffy and tasty! Great job!

Veronica said...

Oh I think your little twists look just lovely. I like the apple butter you put in there.

LyB said...

Well, the one you got a pic of sure looks great to me! I love the idea of apple butter in the filling. So many possible combos, we could make these every week! :)

Tammy said...

your rugelach look just perfect (as usual)

Manggy said...

You may not think it's pretty enough, but the most important thing is whether it screams "put me in your mouth NOW!" Which is what it does to me! :)

La Bella Cooks said...

Ooh, apple butter. Now that sounds delicious!

Pamela said...

I think they look wonderful. :o)

Anonymous said...

Rugelah can definitely be some finicky cookies, but yours look great to me, no matter what you say! :)

natalia said...

Ciao! I Always find your making beautiful !!! I'll have to try the apple butter !

Unknown said...

Dorie suggests using the food processor to bring the dough together. No utensils needed, and very little chance of overworking the dough. You can be really flexible with rugelach filling. You can use whatever jam you likedifferent nuts, different dried fruits. Dorie even adds chocolate. It’s important to chop up the chunky ingredients, like nuts and fruit, pretty well, because big bits can make the cookies hard to roll up neatly. These cookies are just lighty sweet from the filling, and really good with the warm beverage of your choice.

Guaranteed ROI

Peggy said...

They look perfect and the idea of applesauce. Yum. I have never even contemplated making my own applesauce. Great job. Congrats on your award also.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

awww--i think your rugelach looks cute! and your fall-inspired filling sounds delicious!

grace said...

it's nothing less than a stroke of genius to put delicious, scrumptious apple butter (a spread i can eat with a spoon) in your rugelach. fabulous. :)

Anonymous said...

Shari, Rugelach-beautiful-home made and tasty. What more could you want. Just this week ran across a recipe for Apple Butter on www.underthehighchair.com Aimee's blog where she writes how you can can (ha ha) without the formal processing step. Check it out and see what are your impressions. Grew up eating home made jellies, preserves, and jams. Store bought doesn't come close does it?

Marthe said...

Your rugelach look sooo cute! I had never heared of these before, let alone tried them... I loved these! Next time I'll try another flavour combo!

Passionate Baker said...

yummmm, they look beautiful.
great job!

mimi said...

what are you talking 'bout, your rugelach looks fantastic! maybe they were just filled too much? anyhoo, love the apple butter flavor idea!

Anonymous said...

mine didn't come out pretty but they tasted awesome anyway. your flavor combination sounds good, i might try that next time i make these.

Anonymous said...

Flavor combination looks great...and the cookies look great, too. We are all about taste around here...sounds like yours tasted just fine. On Holly's site she had a list of savory fillings...I am going there next with trying these again.

Mari said...

Shari, I love your new blog design! It's just lovely! I think your rustic rugelach looks good too! I'm a devout apple butter fan, so I'm adding your apple butter combo to my list of flavor combos to try in the future.

Shari said...

engineer baker - If you give the origami thing a try, let me know how it turns out!

karen - Apple butter is amazing!

rainbowbrown - The sour cream version wasn't as good as the cream cheese version.

melissa - Hope you use it. It's great in apple pie too!

sandy smith - Thanks!

chocolatechic - You're a sweetie!

kimberly johnson - If I had to pick, I'd choose the apple verison too.

candy - The cream cheese version was definitely the hands-down winner on flavor and texture!

maria - It was!

kim - Thanks!

jodie - Hope you can try it sometime.

audrey - Yes, mine definitely look homemade!

cathy - I'd never heard of a rugelach of the month club! A wine of the month club, yes!

vibi - Yes, simple me. The real me. ;)

pinksripes - Thanks!

tealady - The apple butter was nice in this rugelach!

anne - Aw, you're a sweetie!

jules someone - Rustic is good!

gabi - Thanks!

megan - I wonder if combining both cream cheese and sour cream would be better than just cream cheese.

half baked - Thanks!

natashya - A snail shell...there's an idea! :)

heather b - Thanks!

veronica - Apple butter and rugelach are great together.

lyb - The possibilities to flavor these are endless.

tammy - Thanks!

manggy - Taste over looks always.

bridgett - It was!

pamela - Thanks!

hannah - They are finicky. Anything with pastry seems to be.

natalia - I hope you do!

seno - Thanks for the tips.

peggy - I hope you give it a try. So much better than store-bought.

steph - Thanks!

grace - Stroke of apple butter = genius. I like you!!

amyruth - Homemade is so much better. Thanks for the link. Her addition of maple sounds great!

marthe - I hadn't either, but I'm glad I made them.

passionate baker - Thanks!

mimi - You're right that they were over-filled!

karen - The apple version were my favorite, if I had to choose.

kayte - Savory sounds like an interesting way to go with these!

mevrouw cupcake - Thanks! Nice to find other apple butter fans!

Thanks, everyone, for dropping by!