A Rugelach Variation Featuring Chocolate
I love a classic rugelach with cinnamon and raisins but the rich, flaky dough is so delectable I was inspired to create other versions. My mind always goes to chocolate, and I love it paired with cherry. Then I realized that there are so many jam flavors that the rest of the recipe just formed in my mind in a flash. Note that I suggest a 100% fruit spread as opposed to a jam. If you can find a cherry jam or preserve, use that. Raspberry, which is easy to find, would be the next choice as it is a “red” color and flavor.
- 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
- 1 cup dried cherries, finely chopped
- ½ cup boiling water
- ⅔ cup whole pecans, finely chopped
- ½ cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate or mini chips
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup cherry or raspberry fruit spread (See Tips)
- 2 tablespoons cup milk
- 2 tablespoons cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 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.
- Place the cherries in a bowl and pour boiling water over and stir to combine. Allow to plump for about 10 minutes; most of the water should absorb. If not, drain any excess away. Stir in the pecans, chocolate, 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 cherry/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.
- 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.
Image: Peter Muka