When I was young, I remember my dad would frequently buy rugelach cookies. I first thought they looked curious and assumed they probably weren't that delicious. I was proven wrong when I tried one and ended up eating the entire package, leaving only one for my dad. He was not pleased. I haven't had a rugelach in quite a while so I decided to make my own. To make mine a step better than the packaged ones, I jammed in two of my favorite flavors to make chocolate cranberry rugelach. Look out, dad! I got a special treat coming just for you.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
There are many reasons why rugelach is so delicious. First, the crust. Made from equal parts cream cheese and butter, the pastry is incredibly flaky and buttery. Fill that flaky pastry with a chocolate cranberry walnut filling and it's game over.
To make this chocolate cranberry rugelach, start by making the dough. A food processor comes in handy for this recipe but you can also use a mixer. To make the dough with a mixer, use softened cream cheese and softened butter (as opposed to using cold ingredients for the processor). Beat the cream cheese, butter, and sour cream until light and fluffy, then add the sugar, salt, and flour. Mix the dough until well combined then chill in the fridge until firm.
While the dough is chilling, make the filling. There are many different types of fillings for rugelach including raisins, dried figs, apricot jam, and raspberry jam. I even made a variation with peach jam, white chocolate, and hazelnuts (which was amazing!).
We're going to re-hydrate the dried cranberries with water, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla until the water has evaporated and the cranberries are plump. Blend the cranberry mixture with strawberry jam until well combined then stir in toasted walnuts and the chocolate. We want the chocolate to melt so add it while the mixture is warm.
Go ahead and give that filling a taste. Wonderful, isn't it?
Now it's time to actually make the chocolate cranberry rugelach. To prevent the dough from getting too soft, work with one batch at a time. Dust your counter with flour and roll out the dough until it's about 12x7 inches. Spread the filling in an even layer on top, leaving a small border on one end. Leaving a little exposed dough will help keep the seams close.
Roll the dough lengthwise into a tight log and return it in the fridge to firm up. This will help make it easier to cut later on. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
While the rugelach is chilling, preheat the oven. I wait to preheat the oven until the last minute so that my kitchen isn't too warm. The warmer the kitchen, the quicker the dough will soften when rolling out, which will make it harder to roll.
Cut the logs into 1 ½ inch pieces and place them on a lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle coarse sugar for that finishing touch. Bake the rugelach until golden brown and let it cool for about 2 minutes on the sheet before transferring them to a wire rack.
My o my these chocolate raspberry rugelach are delicious! They are, without a doubt, better than the ones sold in the market. I can't wait to share these with my dad or at least I hope there'll be some left to share! I just might eat them all in one sitting...
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