A Rugelach Variation Featuring Cognac Plumped Apricots
If you are a classic rugelach fan, this adult version might intrigue. You don’t have to use the cognac – you could just use water or even orange juice – but the apricot and cognac combination is fabulous. Note that I suggest a 100% fruit spread as opposed to a jam. You don’t need the sugar content that is in most jams and preserves. I used Polaner brand.
Apricot Cognac Walnut Rugelach
Author: Dédé Wilson
Makes: Makes 24 rugelach
Rugelach Cream Cheese Sour Cream Dough:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- 4 ounces full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cognac Apricot Filling:
- 1 cup (5 ounces) minced dried apricots
- ¼ cup cognac
- ¾ cup walnut halves, finely chopped
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup apricot all-fruit spread
- 2 tablespoons cup milk
- 2 tablespoons cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Dough:
- Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl to aerate and combine; set aside.
- In standing mixer's bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with flat paddle until light and creamy on high speed, approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Add sugar gradually and continue beating until fluffy. Gently beat in sour cream and vanilla extract by pulsing machine on and off a few times.
- Add dry mixture in 2 to 3 batches, beating briefly between each addition, scraping down the bowl once or twice. Beat until just combined.
- Divide dough in half and wrap each piece in plastic wrap, shaping into a flat, round disc. Refrigerate at least two hours, or overnight. Dough may be frozen at this point up to one month, if desired. Defrost in refrigerator overnight.
For the Filling:
- Place the apricots and cognac in a small saucepan and heat gently until hot. Take care not to ignite the alcohol. Remove from heat and allow to plump for about 10 minutes. Stir in the walnuts, sugar and brown sugar; set aside.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and coat paper with nonstick spray. Roll out each piece of dough on a floured board into a 9- or 10-inch circle, approximately ⅛-inch thick. Spread half of the fruit spread over each disc thinly and evenly using a small offset spatula. Scatter half the apricot/nut filling evenly all over dough.
- Using a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, divide each circle into 12 wedge-shaped pieces (like cutting a pie). Starting at the broad, outer edge, roll each piece up and place 2-inches apart on baking sheet with center point underneath each rugelach. Shape gently into a crescent shape, if desired. Repeat with second dough disc. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
Make the Topping and Bake:
- While the rugelach is chilling, pour milk into a small bowl and combine sugar and cinnamon in a separate small bowl; set aside.
- Fifteen minutes before baking, preheat oven to 350°F. Brush rugelach with milk and top with a sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar.
- Bake for approximately 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans front to back halfway through. The rugelach should be puffed and very lightly golden brown. These bottoms burn easily, so be careful not to over bake. Remove from oven, place baking sheets on rack and let cookies cool on pan.
- These are best eaten the day they are made, but may be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Most jams and jellies are very high in sugar. I like to use 100% fruit spreads, which are fruitier, less sweet. Read about Fruit Spreads for more information.
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