Introduction: Sweet or Savory Rugelach Cookies
today I am going to show you how to make rugelach cookies in two versions: sweet and savory. Rugelach is a soft and flaky pastry filled with all the goodness you can imagine, traditionally baked in crescent form, sort of a mini croissant. It is a family favorite, I prepare it quite often. Last time I made it I was running out of time and ended up rolling it up like a log and then I just sliced it to arrive at little swirl rugelach cookies instead of the usual crescent form. It tasted just as good.
I normally make sweet rugelach, filled with nuts, chocolate, jam, dried fruits and the like, but as the dough itself is free from sugar, it’s very easy to turn it into a savory bite. Just wrap the dough around tapenade, cream cheese, spinach, ham, ricotta, herbs, sun dried tomatoes, or bacon. Possibilities are endless. Whatever you find in the fridge, more or less.
In this Instructable I will guide you through a number of easy steps to end up with a salmon - fresh goat cheese - spinach version on the savory and a chocolate - blackberry jam - dates - candied orange - almonds version on the sweet side. I hope you'll like it.
Step 1: Ingredients
- 300g cream cheese (Philadelphia)
- 300g butter
- 350 g flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
Filling – sweet version:
- 4-5 tablespoons blackberry jam
- 60 g ground almond
- 8-10 dates
- 60 g chopped dark chocolate
- 3 tablespoons candied orange peel
- 4 tablespoons sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons decorating sugar
Filling – savory version:
- 50 g Philadelphia
- 80 g spinach (fresh baby spinach or frozen but thawed and squeezed)
- 80 g fresh goat cheese (or feta)
- 80 g smoked salmon
+ 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of milk for the egg wash
Step 2: Making the Dough
Cut the cold butter into small cubes.
Put flour into mixer bowl, add salt and butter. Using the paddle attachment, mix until crumbly.
Add cream cheese add all at once. Beat until the dough starts to form chunks but little pieces of butter and Philadelphia are still visible.
Don’t beat until the dough is homogenously, completely combined. Little pieces of butter and cream cheese help the dough stay flaky after baking.
Step 3: Dough - Balls and Rest
Transfer the dough onto the counter dusted with flour (or use a piece of parchment paper) and divide it in half. Pat both into a cuboid-ish form, wrap them into parchment paper or Ziploc bags and place them in the fridge for at least two hours (or overnight).
From my experience it is easier to form the dough prior to chilling to the form close to what we need as a start for rolling, that is the reason for not simply making it into a ball.
In the meantime, if you use frozen chopped spinach, don’t forget to take it out of the freezer, let it thaw and squeeze dry.
Step 4: Rolling
Place the chilled dough on the countertop. Make sure it does not stick there by either applying generous amount of flour or rolling it between two lightly floured pieces of parchment paper.
Roll each one it into a roughly 30 x 40 cm rectangle (the dough should be about 3 mm thick). For me this is the hardest part in fact, rolling the dough and maintain the rectangle form, I normally end up with one or two awkward slices at both ends.
Step 5: Savory Log
Then, for the savory version:
Cut the smoked salmon into small pieces.
Spread a thin layer of Philadelphia on the pastry (just to help the rest of the toppings stay in place) leaving 1-2 cm border along the far edge.
Sprinkle it with chopped spinach, fresh soft goat cheese and the smoked salmon cut into 1x1 cm pieces.
The aim is to lay a nice even layer of the filling.
Step 6: If You Love Sweets
For the sweet version:
Remove the pit and chop the dates
Spread blackberry jam (or your favorite) in a thin even layer, then, top with ground almonds, dark chocolate chopped, candied orange peel and dates cut into small pieces.
Step 7: Roll and Freeze
Roll it into a log starting from the long edge close to you, you may use the parchment paper to help lift the dough. Wrap them into the parchment paper.
To make slicing easier, put the logs into the freezer for half an hour.
Slice the logs into roughly 2 cm thick slices, apply egg wash, scatter the sweet version with sliced almonds and decorating sugar.
Step 9: Enjoy
All you have left to do is to bake your cookies in the preheated oven (175 Celsius) for approximately 20-25 minutes – depending on your oven – until golden brown.
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