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These chocolate rugelach have a tender crumb, lightly sweet filling and crunchy topping. Just right with a cup of tea and a good book.
Fall is in full swing and with that comes the beginning of the holiday season. It starts early in our house with the Jewish holidays. The boys are (very happily) off from school for a couple days next week and we’ll celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, with family.
We’re lucky to have relatives nearby and are grateful to be included in their celebration. Steve’s cousin, the consummate hostess, always puts forth a gorgeous spread. It’s a combination of family favorites, starting of course with matzoh ball soup, and she always sprinkles in a few new dishes or maybe a twist on a classic.
My contribution to this year’s festivities will be dessert. Apples dipped in honey represent a “sweet new year” so of course I will include something apple in the mix. In previous years I’ve made a round apple Challah for the table (so good for morning toast), or an apple or honey cake.
This year I’m mixing it up a bit. I’m planning to make a French apple tart with tart Granny Smith apples baked into buttery puff pastry. And because I’m indecisive and can’t get this classic plum torte from the New York Times out of my head, that will be coming along too. This variation that Rebecca from the Displaced Housewife baked up made me swoon and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. For Rosh Hashanah I’m planning to go with the classic plum, but if those plums are looking dicey at the store, I’ll take a page out of Rebecca’s book and change it up with the best looking produce I can find (hmmmm…maybe figs?).
But enough about all that, because the recipe I’m sharing today isn’t either of those scrumptious sweets. It’s rugelach. And not just any rugelach, but bittersweet chocolate-unsweetened-coconut-and-just-a-smear-of-raspberry-jam rugelach. These cookies have crusty sugary exterior and an impossibly tender crumb. The filling is just right…not too sweet and not over-stuffed.
This cream cheese dough is very easy to make in your food processor and keeps well in the freezer if you want to make it in advance. I’m no stranger to cream cheese dough, though my mom made hers for years without the help of a food processor. And she didn’t make rugelach per se, but a similar cookie called kolachkes.
Kolachke dough is sometimes made with yeast, but our family’s favorite was made very simply, with cream cheese, butter, sugar and flour. The dough is rolled and filled with lekvar (prune) or ground, sweetened nuts. The cookies were rolled into crescent shapes, baked and dusted with confectioners sugar. And if you ask my brother, no holiday is complete without them.
But then again, he’s never tasted these. A chocolaholic through and through, I believe that no dessert table is complete without at least a nibble of chocolate. So I’ve tucked a little bittersweet chocolate into these rugelach and paired it with just a hint of raspberry jam. I debated about using sweetened coconut flakes in here, but felt it would overpower the cookie. So unsweetened coconut it is. And it was so the right decision. You’re left with more of a hint of coconut and a “just sweet enough” cookie, instead of a cloying, sugary mess.
I look forward to a fun day of baking on Monday and since the boys will be home, I’ll have the best sous chefs around. I can’t think of a better way to kick of the holiday season and just know it’s going to be a sweet new year!
- 8 oz unsalted butter 2 sticks, cold and diced
- 8 oz cream cheese cut into 4 pieces
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut shredded
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
- Turbinado sugar for topping
- *pastry brush
- **pizza cutter or sharp knife
Dough: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine all ingredients for the dough and pulse until dough just starts to hold together.
Remove and form into a ball and divide that into four equal pieces.
Flatten each piece slightly into a rounded disc and wrap each disc in plastic wrap.
Chill for at least 1 hour or overnight. (Dough can also be frozen and thawed in the refrigerator when you're ready to use.)
Assembly:Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Heat jam with 1 tsp water in a saucepan or in the microwave until just melted. Cool slightly.
Remove one disc at a time and roll between two sheets of lightly floured wax paper into a 10 inch circle.
Using a pastry brush, spread 1/4 of the jam on the round, then sprinkle 1/4 of the unsweetened coconut and 1/4 of the chopped chocolate on top.
Using your pizza cutter, divide into 12 triangles (divide first into fourths, then each fourth into thirds).
Roll each triangle into a crescent shape, rolling from the wide end to the tip. Place the rolled cookie on the prepared baking sheet, tip side down. Repeat with remaining triangles and the remaining dough and filling. You should be able to fit 24 cookies on each sheet.
Place the cookie sheets in the freezer for 10 minutes or the refrigerator for 30 mins to chill.
Using your pastry brush, brush each cookie with the egg wash and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
Bake, rotating the the trays once, for about 15 mins or until the cookies are golden brown. Remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
To store, keep the cookies on a plate or tray covered with foil. Do not store in tightly covered plastic containers or they will lose their crispness.