Cherry Almond Rugelach
Tender, flaky cream cheese dough is wrapped around tart cherry jam and roasted almonds for a cookie that’s a bit like a delicious two-bite rolled up tart.
I’ll take one anytime, but I especially love to eat rugelach early in the morning when the house is still quiet, steaming mug of coffee in hand, cuddled under a blanket next to the Christmas Tree. The cream cheese dough is super easy to work with and produces gorgeous layers of flaky pastry that’s buttery and not overly sweet. Rugelach can be filled with anything you like, but I especially love them with a shmear of tart cherry jam and a sprinkle of salty roasted almonds.
It goes without saying (and yet, here I go saying it anyway) that the quality of jam is important here. I’m a big fan of Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves, but use whatever you brand you love.
These will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for up to a week, and in the freezer for up to 6 weeks. Or course, this information assumes there will be any leftover to store. A tremendous assumption on my part.
Used in this recipe:
FOR THE RUGELACH DOUGH:
- 1 cup (8oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp salt (preferably sea salt flakes or kosher)
FOR THE RUGELACH FILLING:
- 1 cup cherry preserves
- 1 cup roasted, salted almonds
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons turbinado or sanding sugar
- Add the butter, cream cheese, and sugar to the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Beat on low speed just to combine, then beat on high speed, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times, until very light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to mix.
- In a separate bowl, use a wire whisk to mix the flour and salt. Add to the mixing bowl and beat on low speed just long enough to incorporate the ingredients together.
- Spread two pieces of plastic wrap out on the counter. Scoop half the dough on each piece of plastic wrap, shaping each into a disk that’s approximately 8-inches in diameter. Wrap dough tightly and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Lay a sheet of parchment paper that’s approximately the size of a cookie sheet (half sheet pan) out on a work surface and dust the surface of the parchment with flour. Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator and set it in the center of the parchment. Dust the top lightly with flour and roll out into a rectangle that’s approximately 14 inches by 10 inches and 1/4-inch thick. To keep the dough from sticking, periodically, dust the surface with flour, lay another sheet of parchment paper over the top, and flip the whole thing over. Peel off the top sheet of paper, dust with more flour and continue rolling. Alternatively, run a large flat metal spatula under the dough every once in a while to keep the bottom from sticking.
- Slide the dough, still resting on the parchment, onto a cookie sheet and cover with another piece of parchment paper. Repeat with the other half of the dough, sliding it on top of the first rolled out sheet of dough. Cover the top sheet of dough with another piece of parchment paper and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
- While the dough chills, dump the almonds into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until there are no pieces larger than a pea.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the sheets of dough from the refrigerator.
- Work with one piece of dough at a time. Using a pizza wheel or pastry wheel, trim the edges of the dough so you have (mostly) straight sides. Spread half the cherry preserves over the surface of the dough and sprinkle evenly with half the chopped almonds. Cut the dough in half lengthwise so that you have two long strips of dough.
- Working with one strip of dough at a time, cut the dough vertically into rectangles that are approximately 2-inches wide. Aim for 10-12 rectangles per strip of dough. Using a spatula, separate one rectangle away from the rest of the dough and roll it up. Place seam side down on the parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Use a pastry brush to brush egg white over the tops of all the cookies. Sprinkle with turbinado or sanding sugar.
- Bake the cookies for 20 – 25 minutes, just until they are barely beginning to brown on the top. Set the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the cookies cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
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