Tuesday, November 4, 2008

{TWD} Mix and Match Rugelach

To me, rugelach is a perfect TWD choice. I've never made it before, and it's a slightly more involved recipe than I would choose on my own. At the same time it is a classic baked good, and and interesting one that's nice to have in the arsenal. Dorie tells a lovely story about how she learned the recipe from her mother-in-law, although she has significantly changed the filling ingredients. Dorie's version sounded quite appealing.

I wasn't too sure about the chocolate in these, however. I DO LOVE chocolate, but not really mixed in with dried fruit and nuts (which is part of the problem I had with all those cookies we baked a month or two ago). But I really do like fruit and nuts. I figured it would be easy enough to bake some with and some without the chocolate since it's just sprinkled on at the end.

cook's notes:

- I used 4.7 oz to equal 1 cup flour

- filling variations
I made half a batch following Dorie's recipe pretty closely. For half of these, I used chocolate and the other half I used a second kind of dried fruit.
1. grapefruit marmalade with cinnamon sugar and also with
--- pecans
--- dried sour cherries
--- and mini semisweet chips or currants

For the other half batch, I used wonderful fig preserves that were left from my daughter J.D.E.:
2. orange fig spread with walnuts with a tiny sprinkling of brown sugar and also
--- with and without currants

- I usually roll out dough on top of a silicone mat. I did that with the first disc, then realized that I was going to be cutting with a sharp knife. Uh oh, I have a slit in my other mat from a previous bout with a knife, and didn't want to slice this mat. I cut really carefully, and the mat was fine. With the second disc, I just rolled on the counter.
Grapefruit marmalade + pecans + dried cherries. With chocolate mini chips on the left and currants on the right.
- My rolled dough wasn't very circular, but it didn't affect the cookies since the wedges were so narrow. Some them were a little fatter rolled up than the others.

- After choosing the prettiest 6 to bake (1 of each variation and 2 extra), I labeled and wrapped the rest of the cookies, and put them in the freezer.

- I was so excited to have rolled my rugelach successfully that I pulled the cookie sheets out of the fridge and popped them right into the oven. Then I sat down to read the P&Q and saw Amanda's comment about decorating sugar. Oops! I had totally forgotten the egg wash and the sugar (although I had it all ready on the counter...) So I had to dig the carefully packed rugelach out of the freezer, pull out 4 more, prepare and bake them properly. All the while keeping track of the different flavors.

- Since I only baked off a few, I didn't want to waste a whole egg for the glaze. I poured a small quantity of Eggbeaters in a ramekin and mixed with a few drops of water. Some rugelach recipes call for a milk wash.

With and without the egg wash + sugar. It made a huge difference in the appearance and the taste of the cookies.
- I sprinkled the tops with demarara cane sugar.

the verdict

My, my, these cookies are beautiful, in a "did I really make that?" way. And SO GOOD! I baked them in the evening, but waited until the morning to photograph. I finally got to taste them for breakfast. I saved the rest for my husband (who also thought they were great). Boy am I glad I only baked a few! I plan to bake the remaining cookies for book club on Thursday evening.

The crust was light and flaky, and the egg wash + sugar added a crunchy finishing touch. I love that they're not too sweet; in fact our favorite is the grapefruit/pecan/cherry/currant. The ones with the tiny bit of chocolate were also good - the semisweet chocolate mellowed the bitterness of the grapefruit. And, actually, the fig ones were tasty. The fig spread was plenty sweet, and I'm glad I didn't add much sugar to them. The ones with the nuts only should have had more nuts - the filling was a little sparse.

A big thanks to Piggy of Piggy’s Cooking Journal for such a fabulous choice this week. The rugelach recipe can be found on pages 150-151 of Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours, or in Piggy's blog post. Visit the Tuesdays With Dorie blogroll to see how more than 300 TWD bakers baked this recipe!

My schedule for the next 2 weeks is bordering on the crazy, so I'm not sure I'll be able to bake the kugelhopf. If not, I plan to bake it closer to Thanksgiving, and will post it then.

TWD Updates

Just in case
you don't obsessively check all of my past TWD posts looking for updates, here's the current status of some of my former TWD efforts:

Pumpkin Muffins
The muffins wore their best game face to the Pumpkin Muffin Taste Challenge at our book group, but were roundly beaten by the darker, denser, oil-based muffins. Of the two variations on Dorie's muffins, the ones with currants were preferred to the plain ones. I forgot to take photos of the big show-down.

Galettes
I made these as minis and froze some of them unbaked for later. My husband loved them, and enjoyed the final one on Sunday. (I had a chocolate cupcake!) I'm sad to see the end of the galettes, but I now know that they do freeze extremely well. Whenever we were ready for a special dessert, I popped one into the oven - still frozen - and added a few minutes to the bake time.

Dimply Plum Cake
This is still my favorite TWD recipe. I've made this cake 8 or 9 times, but never the full recipe. Most often I bake a 2/3 recipe, which serves us for a few breakfasts and a weeknight dessert or two. My favorite combination is pluot/lime zest/cardamom. I've adapted the recipe to make it healthier (but just as delicious), and my final recommendations can be found at the end of this update post. The weirdest thing is that the fruit only got "jammy" - as Dorie describes it - once, and boy, was that delicious.

Chocolate Chocolate cupcakes.
After baking and photographing these, I sampled one and put the rest immediately into the freezer. Last Thursday I pulled them out and brought them to book club, where they made a big hit. They went from very good to amazing! The fine, dense crumb got softer and very deeply chocolate in flavor, and the ganache was firm and fudgey. I have to say the mocha filling was a really good complement.

Biscotti
I finished the last of the cherry biscotti yesterday. I love that these cookies aren't fazed by staleness.

54 comments:

Cristine said...

Your rugelach looks wonderful! I totally forgot the egg wash on mine... probably why they don't look very pretty! Great job!

Cathy said...

Grapefruit marmalade and fig preserves! Wow, those sound great. Your rugelach look beautiful indeed! I also had a of "did I really make this?" moment with these. I hope that these are a hit at your book club (how could they not be?). I say that you ask for a rugelach rematch of your book club's pumpkin muffin bakeoff -- I have no doubt that your rugelach would whip those other rugelach wannabes.

n.o.e said...

The funny thing about the pumpkin bakeoff is that both of us had baked from "assigned" recipes - neither was our respective old favorites. We're already talking about a pumpkin rematch.
Nancy

natalia said...

Ciao ! They were great and fun to make isn't it ?! I was eager to see your post you are always so good !

Mike Spoodles said...

Love your variations! A lot of care must have been placed into choosing your flavor combinations!

Audrey said...

Great figgy minds think alike! And grapefruit marmalade...I didn;t know there was such a thing, but I love how easy it is to switch out the flavors. I'm so glad you were happy with your first rugelach experience...and I liked your updates from the TWD field. I'm just going to sign off admiring your self-control in only baking four at a time...

CB said...

Oh wow. Adding the egg wash+sugar does make a huge appearance difference. Too bad I wasn't reading Amanda's post to remind me about my sugar too. I totally spaced on that part so mine are naked rugelach. Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Piggy said...

Glad that the recipe works for you, I like the cookies too!

Thanks for baking withe me!

Karen said...

I don't think I have ever had grapefruit preserves before! That sounds like an interesting addition. I need to start thinking about freezing some of this stuff! Your Rugelach looks beautiful!

Jamie said...

Your rugelach looks delicious! Your combos sound perfect!

Engineer Baker said...

They look wonderful, and I love all the variations! Too perfect.

Jules Someone said...

Those combinations sound amazing! Your rugelach looks so yummy. Nice work!

Peggy said...

Forgetting the egg wash is something I would do too! Yours will be a great hit at your book club. I've always wanted to be IN a book club so I am jealous of that. I picture those clubs as a group of really nice people sitting around discussing what they read and giving suggestions of new reading material, all the while sipping a great wine and eating . . . . .maybe rugelach!!! What a great idea. Great job Nancy. (and I am a bit intimidated by the upcoming yeasty beast also). :)

Peggy said...

Oh, and I really want to try the grapefruit preserves!

Kimberly Johnson said...

I admire your self control - I just keeping eating mine! I don't like chocolate and fruit co-mingling either so I didn't really care for the original recipe but I did enjoy my apple-nut variation. Great job on these!

Melissa said...

Wow, they look great. Wonderful photos! The fig sounds so delicious.

chocolatechic said...

Grapefruit marmalade??? That sounds really interesting.

I put chocolate in mine.

Carla said...

Grapefruit marmalade? Now that's new to me! Is it homemade? I am also skipping a few TwD challenges because of time and money. I'm excited to bake the pie though! Your rugelach looks yummy! Glad to know the egg wash does matter :)

Kristin said...

Just beautiful! I don't like chocolate with fruit so I left out the chocolate with all of mine. I love all of your variations!

ostwestwind said...

Your rugelach looks beautiful. Unfortunately I have never tried real rugelach


Ulrike from K├╝chenlatein

Maria said...

Wow, yours turned out great. I love all of the photos. I am sure these would make the perfect breakfast:)

Di said...

Your rugelach look wonderful! And I love the fact that you gave updates on some of the earlier TWD recipes. The thing I like best about this group is seeing everyone else's ideas and experiences.

Mary Ann said...

The grapefruit marmalade sounds really delicious to me! All your versions turned out beautifully. I am sure these will be a hit at book club.

Sandy Smith said...

Your rugelach are just gorgeous! Like, bakery-perfect, I tell you! And what inspired combinations of flavors. How I look forward to seeing what you come up with each week!

Sweet Charity said...

I like that you made so many different flavors!
They look super yummy- they make me wish I hadn't baked off my second batch of dough yet...

Flourchild said...

Lovely rugelach. You did a fine job. I loved this recipe!

Anne said...

Beautiful photos and I love the flavors! Thanks for the updates on the other recipes... I'm going to try the changes to the Dimply Plum Cake (which was also one of my very favorites).

spike. said...

I love that Dorie gives info on freezing- I never knew you could freeze rugelach and get good results

kim said...

wow, they look amazing!! i love the golden color you got. your fillings sound yummy! great job :)

Karleen said...

I forgot the egg wash on mine too- it looks like it's wort it. And your mango and orange fig spreads sound delicious!

Bridgett said...

Wow, your rugelach just look perfect!

Amy said...

These look (and sound) amazing!!! I bet your book club is going to love you for bringing these babies!!

-Amy
www.singforyoursupperblog.com

pinkstripes said...

Your rugelach look perfect. The fig preserves sound yummy.

Tammy said...

I agree - a perfect choice!!

Fit Chick said...

Your rugelach look delicious! And thanks for the eggbeater idea for a wash, I hated to waste an egg for just 12. Great job!

The Blonde Duck said...

It's like a bakery in your house! Yum!

MacDuff said...

Oh good lord, fig? I'm on my way over! That sounds too good to be true!

Candy said...

Grapefruit jam? Sounds intriguing! They look great.

Beth said...

WOW! They look amazing, great job! I'm a fellow TWD baker, and I was thinking that it would be nice if we all could chip in and get Laurie some small token/gift for all the work she does. Would you be willing to contribute? If I can get enough people, it would only be about $1 per person. No pressure :-) Let me know! bethberg12@yahoo.com

Pamela said...

My dough wasn't very circular either, but the finished product was mighty fine in my opinion! I really want to try these with just cinnamon, sugar and nuts. I'm sure I'll be doing that soon. Great job! They all look so pretty.

Steph said...

Thanks for the updates! I learn so much whenever I read your blog, Nancy. Too bad I missed this week, but I'm definitely making these for Christmas. Have you frozen baked goods in the past? I read that it tightens the crumb, but the last time I threw a cake in the freezer, the texture got a lot denser and rougher..

The pics are great! I like that plate you have.

Nancy said...

I can't believe the eggwash made such a big difference, but side by side you definitely can see it! It does seem to add a nice crunch to the outside though. Your rugelach looked great! I also didn't care much for the fruit, nuts, and chocolate altogether and wish I had substituted something else. The grapefruit marmalade sounds delicious! That is a great idea to freeze the cookies, cupcakes, etc. I was wondering what I was going to do with all the baked goods from joining this group. (But I bet it's not too hard to give away!!)

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

I love your filling choices! So unique!

Cathy said...

Hey Nancy, thanks for the additional scale info! It would be highly out of character for my Santa Claus to hop to it immediately to fulfill such a request, so I should have plenty of time to send him the scale-it link. I would think that the ability to measure by volume would be extremely helpful. Yeah, I think I'll skip the scale that tells you the calories. That would be right up there on my scales-from-hell-o-meter with the people-weighing scale that says "will one of you please get off me?" (Seriously, though? HOW does it weigh calories? How does it know if I have carrots or fun-size Hershey Bars on it? My little brain can't process that!)

Peggy said...

Nancy I better not hear of you backing out on next week's cake. You can do it! Don't make me come give you a piece of my mind! Just joking, but you know you are going to be sorry if you don't try that cake.
Isn't it nice getting to know each other this way? :)

AmyRuth said...

Grapefruit and fig...I would have never thought of that pairing but it sounds so good and you liked it best? Yummy, again, wish I had a chair in your kitchen. You continually amaze your reading audience with great variations and information to make a baking project run more smoothly. Awesome! I too forgot the egg wash. Oh well....thats why God made powdered sugar and for my kids as well. They really look great!
AmyRuth

n.o.e said...

Hi all-
The grapefruit marmalade is from Stonewall Kitchen. I find their jams pretty sweet, so even this one wasn't too bitter for the rugelach.

steph, I throw cakes in the freezer quite a bit, and usually am happy with the results (but if it has sugar I'm often happy!). For the chocolate chocolate cupcakes, I think the crumb got softer, and maybe a bit finer, which was really nice. Also the ganache got fudgier.

peggy, I might not be making the kugelhofp this week, but not because I'm a fraidy cat. I mean, I am quite leery of yeast, but I joined TWD for (mild) challenges (notice I did not join Daring Bakers?). I'm simply buried in deadlines and entertaining for the next 2 weeks. TWD, especially a time-consuming one, probably isn't going to fit. My mold is ready and out on the counter, however.

Nancy

natalia said...

Ciao Nancy !!!I was reading that you are not to eager to use yeast so I thought that maybe we could bake the next recipe "together" ! How many hour/change do we have ? (I know we have 6 with NY and 9 with LA)maybe we'll find a spot for us to bake together !!(I know I'm crazy)

Audrey said...

Hi, Nancy, I left some pumpkin bread for you on my blog (you probably won't remember but you were nice enought to ask!)
Audrey

Prudence said...

Awesome job!! Looks SO yummy. I missed this week and regret it! I would have been up for the challenge!

n.o.e said...

Hi Natalia! I don't think you're crazy at all; what a sweet offer to cook 'together' even though we're partway around the world! I'm the same time zone as New York, so it would be 6 hours. But, I don't think I can bake this week because I am so busy with other demands on my time. Maybe we can do it on another tricky recipe? I'm sure we could set it up somehow.

And, Prudence, make the rugelach sometime when you have a spare minute - almost everyone liked it, it seems.

Audrey, I replied on your post. Thanks for making me bread. I wish I could eat it through the monitor, it looks so yummy!

Nancy

Marthe said...

Your rugelach look perfect!! I actually enjoyed these more than I thought I would: bittersweet chocolate just isn't my thing... But I later found out that I only added half the ammount of chocolate indicated in the recipe.... Oops...

Kayte said...

That leaf plate looks so great with those rugelach in them...how clever of you to think of that! I have leaf plates and I never know what to do with them...now I know! Thanksgiving these are so going on the dessert table on leaf plates...thanks! Also...WHERE DID YOU FIND GRAPEFRUIT MARMALADE? That sounds incredibly delicious and I have never even heard of it before. OMW...need to score some of that soon. Your cookies look great and I always enjoy your posts each week!

Liz said...

Your rugelach looks great, with that perfectly crisp, crackly crust.

And you always have the best flavor combinations. I love your creativity.