The adult in me ( no matter how small an influence she has on my day to day) is pleading the universe for a few extra hours, days, minutes…whatever it can spare. I have procrastinated the past few weeks away with watching and re-watching Christmas episodes of ER ( they really are the best) and White Christmas because! Bing Crosby. I have spent a decent amount of time performing snow dances that haven’t been effective except to produce a decent flurry last Friday and since the 10-day forecast is predicting 50 degree weather on the 25th, I have little hope for snow this week. Dancing has never worked for me…rain, snow, or hip-hop.
Is this what Christmas feels/looks like below the Mason Dixon Line?
And then there is ….
The overgrown child within me who CAN NOT WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS. Can. Not. Wait. I don’t really care if all the lights are hung or the proper baked goods baked or if all the gifts have been bought. I don’t even care about the lack of snow. Just bring on Christmas day, already. I often side with my niece and nephew who get in trouble with their over excitement and I can not but agree with them. I, too, want to shout with glee, ‘Is it Christmas, yet?’
An activity that keeps me and the kiddos out of trouble for most of the days leading up to Christmas is baking – the more we keep those minds and hands busy the less we are told to ‘pipe down‘ and threatened with Santa and such. Years previous, it was sugar cookies and buckeyes and while those will undoubtedly make an appearance…I am voting for rugelach from here on out. While the dough needs a bit of rest and there is quite a bit of spreading of jam and sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar, and not to mention the tedious rolling of each cookie….they really are worth the effort and perfect for small tiny hands of children.
We made a farm house variation of these while growing up with leftover pie dough and simple cinnamon and sugar and they were really the best thing to emerge from grandma’s kitchen. These aren’t those but the similarities are striking.
Happy Christmas to you and yours!
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 8 ounces unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup jam (raspberry or apricot)
- ⅔ cup white granulated sugar
- 1+1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- ½ cup roasted pecans, chopped small (or walnuts)
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
- a bit of cinnamon sugar mixture from above
- Beat cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy - about 3 minutes. Scape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add salt and flour and beat until all the flour is incorporated.
- Scrape dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a flattened disk. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill dough in fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When dough is chilled and you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together sugar and cinnamon
- Divide chilled dough into quarters. On a lightly floured surface, roll one quarter of the dough out into a 9 inch round circle (don't fret if the edges are ragged or if it is more square like...it works all the same).
- Spread 2-3 tablespoons of jam onto dough, leaving about a ½ inch border around edges clean. (if the jam is difficult to spread, warm gently in the microwave until spreadable). Sprinkle dough with 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture and a small handful (about 3 tablespoons) of chopped pecans. Gently press the nuts into the dough.
- With a pizza cutter or a knife cut the dough into 12 -16 wedges (like a pizza) - depending on the size of cookie you want ( I did 16 to make them more bite sized).
- Starting with widest edge of each wedge, roll each one up. Place on prepared baking sheet, with the narrow tip on the bottom.. Brush each rugelach with egg wash and sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
- Repeat with remaining dough.
- Store cooled cookies in an airtight container.
**the dough can be made a few days ahead of time and kept in the fridge/freezer until you are ready to roll and bake.
***You can also make the dough in a food processor. You will want to use COLD butter and COLD cream cheese cut into chunks. Place flour and salt into processor and process the butter and cream cheese into the flour until clumps begin to form. Transfer to plastic wrap and form into a disk. Place in fridge to chill as above.
****Jam will ooze out as they bake, as it should. But please use parchment paper or you will be cursing me later.
recipe adapted from Ina and Martha and Dorrie Greenspan…all of which are nearly the same – the filling being where you can spread your creative wings and fly.