Brace yourself. There will be steps…and hours of waiting. Worth. Every. Second. I make a lot of my cookies out of the Martha Stewart Cookie Cookbook (it has pictures and that means even more motivation to bake) and this is one of the best Martha has to offer. Just be patient, prepare everything the day before and you will be happily rewarded! Happy Hanukkah!
2 sticks Butter (unsalted, cold, cut into small pieces)
8 ounces Cream Cheese (at room temp)
½ teas. Course Salt
2 cups Flour (plus bit more for work surface)
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 ½ cups Bread Crumbs
1 cup Pitted Prunes
½ cup Brandy
3 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
½ teas. Cinnamon
1 Egg (beaten)
Day Before: Place prunes in the ½ cup of brandy in a small airtight container and soak overnight.
In another bowl (using your hands—do it) mix butter, cream cheese and salt until WELL combined. Martha’s original recipe says to do this until “crumbly”...screeeeehhh...crumbly? Butter and cream cheese? Nope. Just make sure all the chunks of butter are mixed into the cream cheese. I would describe this as “crackly” looking. Yes. That is a technical term. Moving on! Add the flour and mix until just combine. Do not over mix, it keeps the crust very flaky. You will need to use your hands to form into a ball and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide in half, shape each half into a disk and wrap each disk in plastic. Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours or up to overnight.
After the prunes have soaked, drain (retaining 3 tablespoons of brandy) and place into a food processor with ½ cup sugar and ½ cup of bread crumbs. Blend until you have a prune paste like the photo to the left!
In another bowl, combine remaining sugar (1/2 cup) and breadcrumbs (1 cup). Now it is time to get the topping ready! In a mug beat your egg and in a small ramekin mix cinnamon and 3 tablespoons sugar. If you are already thinking this sounds like a lot of dishes and mess…you are correct. Sir.
TIME TO ASSEMBLE! Take one disk of dough out of the fridge and roll until about ?” thick (about a 12” in diameter circle). Trim the excess for a nice uniform shape. Brush beaten egg in a 1-inch border around circle. Put half the prune filling in center, and spread out to beaten egg border. Sprinkle 1/2 of the sugar/breadcrumb mixture over filling. Cut circle into 16 wedges. Starting at outside edge of each wedge, roll up into a crescent shape. Space 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining disk and filling. Refrigerate Rugelach until cold, about 2 hours.
When the Rugelach are cold place in a 325 degree oven, and bake until golden brown and cooked through, which is about 40 minutes. After all that work…do not forget to ENJOY! These are well worth it.
Variation: I had some extra dough this go round…so I blended pecans, dates and brandy in my food processor and sprinkled on a bit of brown sugar. I spread this across the remaining dough and rolled it up like a nut roll (carefully tucking in both ends) and sprinkling cinnamon sugar on top. I baked this to snack on while the Rugelach were chilling. Excellent, excellent idea…if I don’t say so myself!!