Thursday, December 16, 2010

Cranberry Pecan Rugelach

I wanted to share yet another Christmas cookie recipe that earned a permanent spot in my holiday baking rotation back in 2008.  I had eaten the delicious rugelach many times from dessert buffets, but I had never made them before.  They looked too tedious, too frou-frou'y.  But I loved them so much and I wanted to make them myself.

I don't recall what led me to get this recipe from the Food Network's website.  Maybe I saw something on their cooking channel, or just did a search.  All I know, is that I'm glad I found this recipe.  These cookies are so delicious.  And yes, they take a bit longer to make than most of the cookies I usually bake.  In fact, let me quote from my personal notes on this recipe sheet after making them the first time...

"These are so yummy and pretty."

"Take the time to make these again next year."

"Maybe try leaving out the cranberries and substituting with mini chocolate chips." 

Mmm-hmmm.  In true fashion, always looking for a way to include my BFF, chocolate!

These are rich.  Make no mistake.  But they are worth every single calorie my friends.  And nothing says Christmas like a cookie with cranberries in them...or chocolate, for that matter!

Cranberry Pecan Rugelach

Here's What You Need:
1 cup butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, just slightly room temperature
2 cups flour (all purpose or pastry)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup lightly toasted, chopped pecans
1 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons melted butter
1 egg mixed with 2 Tablespoons water to make a wash

Here's What You Do:
With paddle attachment on your mixer, mix together the butter and cream cheese until well-combined.  Slowly, with mixer on low, add the flour.  Do not over mix, but be sure to have all ingredients incorporated.  Divide the dough into 3 flat disks and wrap tightly in plastic wrap.  Stick it in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.  That's what I did.  I mixed up the dough after dinner last night, while the kitchen was still a mess.  I hate messing up a clean kitchen.  That's tough on a person who loves to bake.  I struggle with that nearly every time I open the flour canister.  I digress.

When you are ready to bake your rugelach, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.  This is one of those cookies where you will definitely want the parchment paper.  These cookies are delicate and the sugary filling will make them stick to the pan.

In a small saucepan, cover the cranberries with water and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let the cranberries cool. Drain the water and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the toasted pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one slab of dough into a 10-inch circle. Brush the top with the melted butter.

Sprinkle with the sugar/nut mixture and then some of the cranberries.

With a sharp knife, cut into 16 wedges. The recipe says 12 wedges, but I find this makes a huge cookie and by making them smaller, the portion is more appropriate and I yield more cookies. 

See what works best for you.  Roll up the wedges like you would for a crescent roll and line them up on your cookie sheet. 


Brush the rugelach with the egg wash.  I happened to skip this step this go around.  I was in a time crunch (what else is new?!) and this was a step that could be sacrificed, however, the egg wash does create a very pretty shiny, golden finish on the cookies. Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden.  My oven tends to run a bit high, but even these took a little more than 15 minutes.  This is not a cookie to under bake.  You'll just end up with gunky, doughy cookies in the middle.  Nobody likes that.

Depending on how many wedges you cut will determine how many rugelach you end up with - anywhere from 3-4 dozen.


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