Tuesday, November 4, 2008

TWD: Rugelach



One of my favorite insults ever was recently directed at me by my friend Julie, a fellow TWD-er. Julie and I work together in real life, and have been working together on a notsofun project that involves spending most of the day on the phone with lots of justifiably irate people. One day, there was a lot going on with this project, and I kept calling Julie, emailing her, and stopping by her office. I finally must have bugged her one time too many, because when I knocked on her door, she looked up at me and said "You again! I like you better online." Ah, Jules. Right back atcha, babe. I sure wish that "online Julie" made more regular appearances (although I get MORE than my fill of real life Julie, trust me).

Well, in contrast to the way that Julie feels about me, I could not get enough of this rugelach. So thank you, Piggy of Piggy's Cooking Journal, for picking this special treat. It's the kind of cookie (pastry?) that makes me feel like a real baker! I didn't want to disappoint Dorie, Dorie's mother-in-law, or Mrs. Strauss, so I made it a few different ways.

This is my kind of dough -- four ingredients that can be whipped together in no time. I was a little bit worried about overmixing, and I thought that I might have gone a few seconds too long with my first batch:




but it baked up just right. I felt more confident with my second batch and knew when to stop processing. My first batch sat in the fridge for days before I got around to topping it, and was a little bit easier to work with than my second batch, which was only refrigerated for a few hours.

Rolling out the dough was a bit stressful for me, since it required that I use judgment. I can no more reliably eyeball "10 or 11 inches" than I can solve Fermat's Last Theorem. So I used a ruler.


I realize that the shape that I rolled does not even remotely resemble a circle. What can I tell you? I'm just not very good at this.

I remember taking a standardized test in high school that measured your aptitude in various subject areas, and then based on your score, provided a narrative analysis of careers that may be suited to your academic strengths. In addition to the usual math and reading, there was a section on "spatial relations," which tested how well you perceive sizes and shapes. I scored abysmally on the spatial relations section, and my narrative said something like: "Whatever you do, we beg you, please don't be an architect." And as you can see based on my efforts to cut my dough into 1/16ths, this analysis was spot-on.

Big Daddy rugelach and teeny tiny rugelach:




Filling the rugelach was the fun part. The sky's the limit in terms of what you can put in these. I liked Dorie's classic combos and figured that they would serve as a good starting point.


I made some with raspberry jam and some with apricot jam. Half of my raspberry ones had chocolate (I used semisweet rather than bittersweet), the other half did not, only because I love my husband. For the apricot ones, I used pecans, golden raisins and white chocolate chips.

Four-ish ounces of chocolate, give or take, according to my flimsy, antique and not-very-accurate kitchen scale:




Dear Santa Claus,

I have been a really, really good girl this year. I did not fight with my sister, and I have tried extra hard to watch my language. All I want for Christmas is this digital kitchen scale, which was recommended to me by my blogger friend Nancy. Can your elves make that? If not, I'm told that the website that I linked for you is THE PLACE for all of your weighing and measuring needs. Thank you, Santa. We'll have lots and lots (and lots) of cookies for you if you stop by our house this year. And tell Rudolph that we'll save him a carrot!

Your friend,
Cathy


After topping and cutting these, it's time to roll them. I was prepared for things to go very poorly for me at this stage of the game. But to my relief, they rolled up fairly easily. The longer the dough sits out, the harder they are to roll. Incidentally, just a couple of days before I made this rugelach, my son gave me this for my birthday:



I had no earthly idea what it was -- I thought that the "other part" of it was in a different gift bag, and when I put the two pieces together it would all make sense. But no, David said that he let our 6 year old loose in Williams-Sonoma and told him to pick out a gadget for me, and that's what he picked. I just held it up and said "it's a metal thing! I LOVE it, honey!!" Well, imagine my delight when I sniffed around a bit on the WS website a few days later and realized that it was a pastry scraper, perfect for this:



It really did make the rolling easier, especially after the dough had been sitting out for a while.

Well, what can I say? We just loved this rugelach. I loved the rugelach. David loved the rugelach. David's parents were in town and they loved the rugelach. I am a gusher, you know that I'm a gusher, and I'm sure that my gushing rings hollow by now -- but these are definitely some of the best cookies (pastries?) that I've ever had. Dorie makes a passing reference to buying rugelach in a German bakery, and since David lived in Germany for several years as a small child, I was eager to ask him how this rugelach compared to the rugelach of his childhood. He said that he remembers being chased through the apartment building by a 10 foot tall St. Bernard, and remembers having the bejeezus scared out of him when he had to ride a log down into the salt mines on a trip to Salzburg -- but has no recollection whatsoever of rugelach. Okay, so that wasn't helpful. But he did love these! As for whether I preferred the raspberry or the apricot, well, that's sort of like the eternal "George Clooney or Brad Pitt?" question. Personally, I'm a George woman myself, but I'm not going to kick Brad out of bed for eating crackers. The raspberry and chocolate combo was pretty close to cookie nirvana as far as I'm concerned, but the apricot was awfully good too. And there are several other combos that I've got in mind that I am dying to try, such as apple jelly with walnuts, and orange marmalade with dried cranberries, and I can't even imagine the abundance of additional brilliant ideas that I'll collect from my fellow TWD bakers. In fact, all of this yapping about rugelach is cutting into my rugelach-making time. Gotta run! Thanks again, Piggy, for a great pick!

59 comments:

n.o.e said...

OK, the 10 foot St. Bernard and the big-and-little rugelach had me laughing, but the prize goes to the sweet letter to Santa. How could he refuse? And the mystery metal present does indeed turn out to be something you can't live without - which you learned within a week of receiving it. How fab is that?
Nancy
p.s. We loved the rugelach too.

Laurie said...

Your rugelach looks wonderful in every size. I'm a gusher too, so your comments made me laugh. Great blog!

I'm a Yankee too, but even though I love visiting my daughter in Charleston, I just can't imagine living in the South because I adore snow too much.

Hope Santa grants your wish...

Mara said...

looks fab...!! i have a roll sitting in the fridge still, it lasts which is great. i can't roll a circle either.

natalia said...

Ciao Cathy ! I totally agree with you they are/were great !!!

Lisa said...

Yummy! I love the big and little rugelach.

CB said...

You know what I call my dough when I can't roll it in a perfect circle? Rustic! HAHA. Your rugelach dough is perfectly rustic. Glad you and D enjoyed the recipe! PS. If we're making Dear Santa lists, I would like to add "bigger kitchen" to my list. Is that asking too much? ;)
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Audrey said...

I liked my tiny little baby rugelach (the ones that were tiny little babies)...it seemed rude not to eat four of them instead one of the big ones! It was almost impossible to roll this dough into anything resembling a circle...but as long as you resort to stuff from the garage it all works out. Um, I'm not sure you have to worry about whether your dough is precisely level...but I'm sure your rugelach were better than anyone's because of it (hee hee). They look wonderful. I'm glad you enjoyed making these, and thanks for your nice visits! I'll be driving past (if not thru) Fairfield County on Thurs.,so I'll wave to it for you.
Audrey

Jamie said...

I am so glad you enjoyed these! They look yummy!

Flourchild said...

I couldn't agree with you more on the great tasting rugelach. I loved it! I hope Santa brings you the digital kitchen scale you asked for!
Your rugelach looks fantastic!

Jules Someone said...

I rolled a "circle". You'll notice my clever use of quotes. I really loved these as well. Nice work!

Karen said...

I think I have said it before but you crack me up! :) I hope Santa brings you everything you wish for! :)

Anne said...

I hope Santa brings your wish list, too! Funny the things you want the more you delve into the kitchen (my gadgets are accumulating at a scary pace!) Your rugelach look great. Don't worry about the circle rolling... I think it gets easier with time. I had to laugh at the part about the aptitude test, though (I took one of those in H.S. to get out of class and got calls from the Navy forever afterwards!)

Engineer Baker said...

Okay, this post was probably the funniest I've read so far - love the daddy and baby rugelach :)

Peggy said...

Cathy you should have brought me a rugelach since I did not get to make them. How could you keep them all to yourself. Oh wait, they were great that's why! :) I'll make them soon. I like your pastry scraper. I'm thinking the four of us here should draw names for Christmas and get each other some wonderful kitchen gadget to try!! You did a great job on the rugelach and loved your post as always. :)

Mary Ann said...

Your dough does look absolutely perfect! It did come together quickly. I had a wierd shape too, but it still seemed to make pretty nice shapes.
I love my digital kitchen scale. I sure hope that Santa gets your letter :)
Glad this was a fave with everyone, that always makes you feel a little bit better!

Amanda said...

Cathy, I love your blog!! Also, thank you for convinving me to make this last night- I really did love it. I also used a ruler and ended up with huge rolls and then cut some into halves again.... I hope you get the scale for Christmas!!

chocolatechic said...

My 'circle' was more like a trapezoid.

Yours look great. I wholeheartedly suggest that Santa get you a digital scale. They are fabulous.

Di said...

I wish I'd thought to combine raspberry and chocolate in mine--sounds absolutely delicious! And kitchen scales are definitely the way to go. I have a spring one kind of like yours that I still use for things like pasta, but I love my digital Salter one. I couldn't live without it anymore.

Melissa said...

I love my scale, I found an inexpensive one at Target. Have fun making more rugelach! Glad you liked this.

HoneyB said...

LOVE your request to Santa! :)

Piggy said...

Glad that you like the recipe, and I like the story about your colleague too. :-)

Thanks for baking with me this week!

Cristine said...

You are too funny! Great post and great rugelach!!! And I think I may need to ask Santa for that scale, too!!!

peggy said...

cathy you are killing me. I went with the tropic brown countertops. A chocolate color with black flecks in it. Maybe it is like yours??

Jess said...

Love the log ride into the salt mine story...but also the delicious-looking rugelach. And getting off subject, love your countertop - is it a particular branded color name of granite? I have white Corian (no, I did not choose it) that I dream of replacing.

Cathy said...

Hey Jess -- our granite is "St. Cecelia." I picked the slab out of the quarry in 100 degree heat when I was 8 months pregnant, but despite the conditions I was working under when I chose it, I have been happy with the choice! The kitchen in the house we bought had blue Corian -- the Corian itself wasn't bad, but the kitchen was stuck in 1982, and since we had a chance to redo it before we moved into the house, we did. It would have been a nightmare to live through! We did do just a cosmetic countertop/backsplash switcheroo in our old house, and that was only a 3 or 4 day mess!

Bridgett said...

I love the big and little rugelach as we had quite a few of those with my kids helping. They got a little too "cut happy" and we ended up with some thin slices! These were so addictive and I am happy to hear your family enjoyed them as well. When Brad eats those crackers in your bed, can you take a pic? I have to see that one...

The Blonde Duck said...

I think it's so cute that they picked that out for you and you were able to use it!

When are they going to fix these comments?!?!?

kim said...

glad you liked them and that your new toy came in handy! :) lol about the daddy/baby rugelach pic :)

Cathy said...

Hey Blonde Duck -- I tried to leave you a comment last night, and again this morning. I love ya, I swear, I'm just technically unable to comment you about it.

Teanna said...

Hahaha love Big Daddy and Little rugelach!! SO CUTE!

And didn't you just HATE those aptitude tests! I'd have become and architect just to spite them! hahah!

pinkstripes said...

I think I'm a Brad Pitt woman, but definately older Brad with kids. The younger Brad is just too pretty looking. But like you say, George and his lake "house" in Italy would rock my world too.

I'll have to try the apricot white chocolate combo. It sounds delicious.

Spike said...

my rugelach always comes out a million different sizes!

Amanda said...

And, your gushing will NEVER ring hollow to me!!!

Katrina said...

Daddy, baby, whatever the size, these are REALLY good. Yours look yummy. Your posts are fun to read.

SUGAR BETTY said...

HAHA! I love this entry! So amusing. I also love your rugelach detailed-step pics. Thanks for sharing and I hope one of these days you will invite me out to lunch with you and Jules. ;)

Pamela said...

Ah...the George and Brad scenario. LOL!

By the way, I have the same flimsy kitchen scale that I have just about worn out thanks to weighing everything for WW. Time to get my name on the list for that digital one.

I loved the rugleach, too. I shared my bounty with Marc's gym friends and the library staff. Hope everyone likes it as much as I did!!
Thanks again for always making me smile, Cathy!!

Beth said...

Wow! They look great! 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

Proud Italian Cook said...

Hi Cathy, Another great post that I enjoyed reading. I swear you should write a book!!Did you and Julie make up? I bet if you brought a dozen of those big daddy's to the office, you'd have everybody smiling!!

Gudrun from Kitchen Gadget Girl said...

In addition to loving this post about making rugelach, I am also certain that we have the same pattern of granite counter tops!

Now what is TWD?

n.o.e said...

It's me again, with some further info on the digital scale front. I saw on someone's blog (it's all a blur now, unfortunately) a scale that not only weighs but also measures volume. I'm pretty sure it's this scale:
http://www.scale-it.com/17-991.htm
It appears that our good friends at OldWillKnott don't carry that brand. (Although I did see another Salter scale there that gives you the calories of everything you weigh - now that's just too depressing)

If you haven't already posted that letter to Santa you might want to investigate the weight-and-volume scale. btw, I think I chose my scale because it was the same model as the King Arthur blog people have.
Nancy

AmyRuth said...

Always enjoy stories from your baking adventures....BTW Linens n Things is going out of business. Sounds like a perfect opportunity to pick up that scales. I use mine ALL the time. Don't know if you have one nearby?
Rugelach....its delish and I too am looking forward to trying out a world of different combinations. Wow, Christmas is coming and we will all be baking ourselves into oblivion. Yippee Happy Scrapping (with your shiny new kitchen toy) Happy Birthday : )
AmyRuth

Alwayzbakin said...

I love your combinations. Your rugelach looks delicious! And your post is funny, as always!

Cathy said...

Gudren of Kitchen Gadget Girl -- thanks for visiting! TWD is "Tuesdays with Dorie" -- www.tuesdayswithdorie.com -- and online baking club where people take turns choosing recipes from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking: From My Home to Yours," and then all three hundred or more of us bake it and post about our experiences.

Nancy, thanks for the scale info.! It does seem that the ability to measure volume would be helpful. I'll come over to your blog to discuss further!

Lisa magicsprinkles said...

I so needed a laugh right now. You, my dear, didn't just use a ruler - it looks you used a carpenter's level that just so happened to have a ruler attached. If you break out the slide rule, I'm outta here.

Cathy said...

Lisa, why, yes I did indeed break out the level. Don't you head straight to your tool box when you bake? And I didn't want to toot my own horn in my post, but I'll have you know that my dough rhombus was a VISION of levelness.

Barbara Bakes said...

Great idea to write a letter to Santa - I may have to borrow that idea! I too would love the raspberry chocoloate combination!

n.o.e said...

Cathy, the calorie thing really is TMI for me, too. And lest you have visions of an omniscient, omnipotent scale, the calorie one - and the volume one also - depend on the user inputting the correct code for the ingredient being measured. So, you can tell the scale that you're weighing celery but only you need to know that it's really dark chocolate, or pure butter for that matter. Keeping up with the list of ingredient codes would be my biggest challenge.
Nancy

bakingwiththeboys said...

Your dough looks so good. I am definitely jealous. I think i took that same test in high school with the same results. When people reference things by measurements I am completely lost (so I am now considering my home to be 35,000 sq. feet. so there).

I hope you get your scale. I am using my great aunt's postal scale from 1968. no joke.

Jacque said...

Aaaah, they look like they were made with love (how's that for trying to make you feel better about your spatial issues? LOL) They sure SOUND yummy.

A couple of tips for rolling a circle (believe me, I've rolled my share of unintended shapes in my time)... first, the Wilton cake dividing wheel is the perfect tool for A) getting the right size, and B) cutting the pieces. It has concentric circles with inch markers so you can more or less hit your desired size, plus the "dividing wheel" part shows you where to make your cuts so you get all the same size pieces. It's based on how many pieces you want. If you want 12 pieces, you follow the lines with a 12 at the end, if you want 16 pieces, do likewise. Here's mine, you can basically see
http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_2J0uuh6QUQk/SQ-6ZcIqiiI/AAAAAAAABFc/0bXysJtrBm0/s1600-h/DSCF5182s.jpg

Next, make sure you use plenty of flour, then shape it basically into a circle with your hands and give it one or two passes with your roller, then turn it 1/2 turn and give it another couple of passes with the roller, then maybe 1/4 turn, roll, 1/2 turn, roll. So you aren't always pushing it the same way.

THEN, once you have it basically a circle, take your pizza cutter and trim off the really out of whack parts. Use the excess to patch up the areas where you're deficient.

And that's all! Easy, huh? :)

Laura said...

Oh Cathy, amazingly funny post! I feel terrible for not getting around to reading it til now (and now I am waaaaaayyy down here at the bottom of the list). You most certainly deserve that scale - I'm sure Santa will come through for you :-)

Marthe said...

Glad you liked the rugelach!! I was so happy with these: absolutely loved them!

Maria said...

I hope Santa comes through! We have a digital food scale and LOVE it!! The rugelach looks awesome!!!

Natashya said...

I am a George girl too, although I have to supress the goofy, big hair, 80's tv George Clooney memories.
So happy you and your family were pleased with the rugelach. And wish you luck on the scale - it is the least Santa can do!

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I'm sure Mrs. Strauss would be proud, and I hope Santa brings you that digital scale. I pull mine out for almost everything I make! I scored abysmally in spatial relations too, and have been known to ask my 10 year old how to put something together, which is so embarrassing! Great post, and glad you liked the rugelach!

n.o.e said...

I'm wondering who's winning: the kugelhopf or you? It sounds like everyone is having an epic battle.
Nancy

n.o.e said...

Thanks for your comment on my blog re: kugelhopf. I'm glad you had success, and I'll bet that cute pan would make a mean molded jello salad!

At this point I don't know if I will attempt it or not. I have been up late a lot and will be up most of tonight as well. Also pretty much poor planning on my part. Ugh. But I have a tiny bit of time freeing up Sunday afternoon to Monday, so I might take it on. I will look forward to reading of your adventures!
Rice pudding should be a snap after this!
Nancy

Cathy said...

Nancy, I've got to be honest -- I am not sure what distinguishes my "kugelhopf pan" from a regular bundt pan. I am sure I will use it for jello molds more than kugelhopf!

I made the rice pudding this morning -- it is definitely easier than kugelhopf, but I still had my share of issues -- don't I always? For example, 30 minutes on low definitely didn't cut it. After 30 minutes, I turned it up to medium and went another 20 minutes at least. We'll see how it turns out.

Good luck if you end up finding time to make the kugelhopf (and if not, good luck with everything else you've got going on!)

n.o.e said...

Ah, a unitasker joins the world of mulitasking baking pans! I'm going to use an old pudding tin for my kugelhopf, which is rising right now. The dough came together great; I ended up using instant yeast. Why not forge new ground on my first-ever yeast baking?

Rice pudding might end up being last minute again because my #1 rice pudding fan - my husband LOVES the stuff - will be out of town from Wednesday until Sunday. And we'll (theoretically at least) have the kugelhopf until he leaves. I really like being ahead in the TWD baking, although the P&Q has saved my neck a few times.

Nancy

Matt said...

George? Brad? Just when did Santa lose his desirability as a romantic ideal? He gives great gifts, loves children... Oh yeah. I forgot about the fur trimmed red suit, the "nose like a cherry" and the belly "that shook like a bowl full of jelly"...

 
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