Can you believe it's almost Thanksgiving! Woohoo! I am very excited, not because of actual Thanksgiving (because I'm Italian and we don't really celebrate that, like, at all), but because I will finally get to see my boyfriend after 3 looong weeks. I'm a loser, it's alright. :) I'm also excited because it means we are just that much closer to Christmastime, and if you know me at all, you know I am absolutely obsessed with Christmas. I wish it was Christmas allll year long! I love the cold and the cute boots and scarves and the (occasional) snow and the holiday music in stores and decorations everywhere and aaahh, I just love everything about it! So, to force myself to stay in the present and not get carried away with this Christmas thinking, I thought I would squeeze in a couple more autumnal recipes pre-Thanksgiving. I found this recipe in the Christmas edition of Good Housekeeping, but it seems more fall-ish than wintery to me... whatever. One thing I think we will all agree on is that they look adorable and delicious!
These look like little crescent rolls, but they're much smaller and much crunchier than the kind you buy at the store... I guess that's why they're rugelach and not croissants. :) They're a little bit more labor-intensive than a regular cookie, but they're more time-consuming than difficult. Once you get the hang of it though, you can crank them out pretty quick! They're called apple-pie rugelach because they're filled with apple jelly, walnuts, dried apples, and brown sugar, but I imagine you could make these with any filling and they would be delicious! And there isn't any sugar in the dough, so if you were feeling daring, you could even attempt making savory ones! Mmm. That sure does sound yummy! These rugelach belong on your Thanksgiving table in any variety you can imagine. These are delicious. Make them. I rest my case!
Apple Pie Rugelach Cookies
Adapted from Good Housekeeping, December 2011
Yields: 64 cookies
For the dough
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 8oz. package fat-free cream cheese
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 tbsp heavy cream (if needed)
For the filling
4 oz. dried apples (the soft kind, not the crunchy kind), finely chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
*For the spice sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
3/4 cup apple jelly (more or less as needed)
powdered sugar for dusting
First of all, make the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together butter and cream cheese on medium speed until creamy, scraping the bottom and sides occasionally. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the flour and salt until just blended. If the dough seems too dry (it will happen if you're using whole wheat flour and not just white), drizzle in some heavy cream until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces, flatted each piece into a disk, and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight, until dough is firm enough to roll.
Prepare the filling by combining the chopped apples, chopped walnuts, and brown sugar, and mixing them until everything is evenly dispersed.
Make the spice sugar by mixing together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. (*I had a bunch of spice sugar left over after I was done with the recipe, so I advise making half this amount to start with, then making more if necessary).
Once dough is ready to be worked, preheat oven to 340F, and line (at least) 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners.
Sprinkle your work surface with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon sugar. Place 1 unwrapped disk of dough on top of the sugar, pressing down so sugar sticks, then turn over to coat both sides. Roll dough into a 10-inch round, turning dough over a few times and sprinkling it with 2 additional tablespoons of spice sugar on both sides as you work it. Spread top of round with roughly 3 tablespoons apple jelly (just use as much as is needed for a thin coat over the whole surface), then sprinkle with 1/2 cup filling, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. With a knife, cut dough into 16 equal wedges. Starting at the wide end, roll up each wedge in a jelly-roll fashion, then place on prepared cookie sheets with the point side down.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until dough is browned and cooked through, then immediately transfer to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough, filling, and sugar.