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Rugalach


Malawry
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I just made my inaugural batch of rugalach, using Joan Nathan's recipe in Jewish Cooking in America(which I think she says comes from Maida Heatter). The cookies are delicious, but they look like total crap. They're not thick and stubby like bakery ruggies, they're kind of flat-looking. I tried rolling the dough a little thicker but the cookies still kind of oozed as soon as they went in the oven.

I'd like to try again, as I adore these cookies and have always wanted to try my hand at them. I'd like them to taste as rich and cream-cheese-y as these do (the recipe calls for 8oz cream cheese, 1 cup butter and only 2 cups flour for all that fat, so it is very very cheezy and rich) but I'd like a better texture and especially a better look. Suggestions? Recipes I should try?

Edit: More info on what I did to make these cookies...

I don't want to print the recipe in full due to copyright issues but in addition to the ingredients above there's some confectioner's sugar and not much else in the dough. The recipe suggests you use the food processor, not a mixer, and that you pulse the dough. Pulsing things together didn't work for me and I had to scrape and run/pulse the machine a lot to get everything to turn into a dough. The dough is extremely soft with all that fat. I chilled it overnight, not for just an hour as suggested in the recipe, to harden it up some. Today when I rolled it out it got sticky very quickly, so I started using a lot of flour on my rolling pin and my counter to get the dough to stop sticking. Maybe it was just too hot a day, I dunno. The last batch I tried patting the dough out instead of rolling it because it was so soft and my rolling pin is probably too heavy for this dough. That worked a little better but those cookies are still flat. Baking on parchment or on a plain greased half-sheet pan made no difference to finished texture. Baking dough that was chilled in the fridge for 10 minutes after forming didn't make any difference either.

Edited by Malawry (log)
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In hot/warm/humid weather I use a Marble Slab, that i've kept refrigerated when preparing the dough. I also only remove modest amount's of the Dough, setting it up quickly, then putting into refrigerated tray. After Dough is ready to go, I consolidate into the baking pan, let it stand 1/2 hour or so, in refrigerator to stablize. then bake. try this or something similar. If it doesn't work i'll give you a different recipe. Remember this is a pastry that doesn't need to look pretty, to taste great.

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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OK, sounds like chilling it more would help. I'll try that, chilling after forming and only keeping a little dough out at a time.

They don't have to look good for me, my partner and my housemate to eat them. But it would be nice if they looked good, so I could take them to my cousin's bat mitzvah in a few weeks, where I am helping to stock a hospitality suite.

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Did you roll the dough into a circle and cut wedges? or did you roll it into a loaf and slice?

I've made this recipe using the mixer and went with the wedges. When I watched the TV-companion series to the book they did the recipe with the mixer so I figured it wouldn't be a problem. Just keep mixing to a minimum. With wedges, keep in mind since you roll from the widest point to the narrow-most, there will be some filling that will fall off/ooze out in the process. I think this is why most bakery rugelach are done loaf style. Maybe do half the dough in wedges and the other half in a loaf and determine which you prefer.

Additionally, after making the dough I let it chill overnight. And like others, I cut the dough in half and leave part in the fridge.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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I made the wedges, and used my homemade apricot jam. A fair amount of the jam did indeed ooze out onto my work surface while I was rolling them, which annoyed me since apricot jam is a fair amount of labor in and of itself.

I will try the mixer next time. I think there is just too much total stuff for my Cuisinart to handle the dough effectively. Do you just cube the butter and cheese and add them cold to the mixer?

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Maida's recipe calls for refrigerating the dough overnight. It contains no sugar at all but I add 2 tsp because my grandmother did; Nana also used 6 oz. of cream cheese instead of 8, no doubt because that's what two small packages of Philly add up to. :biggrin: They're still very rich. No jam, just cinnamon sugar & chopped walnuts.

I haven't made them in years but I used to use a pastry cloth (and a mixer!). Maida rolls out the dough in a circle and cuts into pie-shaped wedges. My grandma rolled a long rectangle and cut adjacent triangles, which I went back to after trying Maida's method once. Easier to get consistent sizes/shapes, at least for me.

Rochelle, if the Bat Mitzvah girl loves chocolate, I highly recommend Jane Freiman's brownies - another Maida cookie book recipe. Divine.

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I personally prefer the yeast version of this item.

You're only half-Jewish, right? :wink:

I'm 100% Jewish, though I have one non-Jewish grandfather. But the yeast version is the one favored in Israel, as well as the one made by Green's and sold at Zabar's.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Mine too and so did she! But I just think the chewy, fresh ones made with yeast are better than the dry-ish cookie-like ones. I'm pretty sure this is the right product page on the Zabar's site:

http://www.zabar.com/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfi...7oAAADx4aSKeQgz

(Edit correction: grandmother apparently born here, of Polish parents -- married a yeast-loving gentile, though)

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I made the wedges, and used my homemade apricot jam. A fair amount of the jam did indeed ooze out onto my work surface while I was rolling them, which annoyed me since apricot jam is a fair amount of labor in and of itself.

I will try the mixer next time. I think there is just too much total stuff for my Cuisinart to handle the dough effectively. Do you just cube the butter and cheese and add them cold to the mixer?

How much jam did you use? I spread a thin coat of melted jam on mine (I find that melting the jam makes it easier to work with). And yes, I work with cold ingredients cut into cubes instead of at room temp. The combination of cold ingredients and minimal mixing should help ensure the flakiness.

I've tried the Maida Heatter recipe, CathyL mentions, out of the cookie book and the problem with the recipe is the lack of sugar in the dough. To me, it tastes "off." That's actually why I like the Nathan variation.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Mom's making mandel bread and brownies for the hospitality suite. All other cookies are up to me. I want to make ruggies and hamantaschen (this bat mitzvah is in Shelby, NC, f'r cryin' out loud, I must inject some Judaica into the environment!) and then something more chocolate-y. If I can get a good ruggie recipe going I'll make some apricot (my personal favorite), some raspberry (I plan to make raspberry jam in the next week or so) and some chocolate (as the crowd-pleaser).

Maybe a big chocolate chip cookie that reads "Shalom Ya'll"? :laugh:

Does anybody have, say, a recipe for the yeasty version of ruggies? I've eaten them but never tried to make them myself. I am an equal-opportunity consumer of rugalach and will eat pretty much any ruggie I can cram in my mouth. Even the not-so-good ones with the weird aftertaste from Costco.

I may go bang out another batch of the dough tonight and get it chilling. It means an excess of ruggies, but I'll just freeze them to take if they're good enough for the Bat Mitzvah Lady.

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For this pastry during hot weather your supposed to Refrigerate the Jam. Either with or without yeat the real think tastes with "Tzuuum". The best every made used to be made at Morris Baums, "Bloomfield Diner", in Verona, New Jersey. People would place orders and drive there from Philly or New York City, we prepared as much as 1000 plus pounds daily for holidays. I've also got the original recipes from the Concord and Grossingers Hotels. Eat in Good Health.

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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I personally prefer the yeast version of this item.

You're only half-Jewish, right? :wink:

I'm 100% Jewish, though I have one non-Jewish grandfather. But the yeast version is the one favored in Israel, as well as the one made by Green's and sold at Zabar's.

I have a fundamental problem with Green's rugelach, and any of the yeast based rugelach for that matter - they're pareve. This means they don't have any milk product in them, and as far I'm concerned, the best rugelach are dairy.

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Each quarter of the recipe (you divide the dough into 4 balls) I used about 1/4 cup of jam-crumb mixture. I don't have cake crumbs but I keep challah crumbs around for similar uses, so that's what went into the filling. Warming isn't a bad idea, but won't the heat from the filling make the dough even harder to work? :wacko:

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I didn't find the dough difficult to work with even though the jam was warm. I have all my fillings ready and waiting, and then take the dough out - and work quickly.

Let me suggest you do a raspberry-chocolate rugalach. Spread out some raspberry jam and then top with finally chopped chocolate (if there are small chunks mixed in, that's ok). When I make this combination, they get eaten first.

Can I suggest you do a variety of hamentaschen as well? My signature hamentasch is a gingerbread dough with apricot filling. I've also done a chocolate dough with raspberry jam (although I still haven't found a chocolate dough that's easy to work with.)

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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Mom's making mandel bread and brownies for the hospitality suite. All other cookies are up to me. I want to make ruggies and hamantaschen (this bat mitzvah is in Shelby, NC, f'r cryin' out loud, I must inject some Judaica into the environment!) and then something more chocolate-y. If I can get a good ruggie recipe going I'll make some apricot (my personal favorite), some raspberry (I plan to make raspberry jam in the next week or so) and some chocolate (as the crowd-pleaser).

Maybe a big chocolate chip cookie that reads "Shalom Ya'll"?  :laugh:

Does anybody have, say, a recipe for the yeasty version of ruggies? I've eaten them but never tried to make them myself. I am an equal-opportunity consumer of rugalach and will eat pretty much any ruggie I can cram in my mouth. Even the not-so-good ones with the weird aftertaste from Costco.

I may go bang out another batch of the dough tonight and get it chilling. It means an excess of ruggies, but I'll just freeze them to take if they're good enough for the Bat Mitzvah Lady.

Oy, the memories this brings back. I'm kvelling. I baked all the goodies for the Friday night "oneg" for my son's Bar Mitzvah, plus the dessert bar and challot for the Bar Mitzvah itself, plus Torah-shaped cookies decorated with royal icing (with a "kof" from his Torah portion) for the party favors.

How about macaroons -- good ones.

I've never made rugelach myself but you're getting me inspired.

I have a yeast recipe I use for hamentashen, and I think it has dairy in it, but not cream cheese. I'll have to look. Do you want that?

PS -- I'll be back in touch with everyone here when it's time for the Bat Mitzvah in a little less than 2 years. For now, I'm just scheming.

So long and thanks for all the fish.
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You might say my first experience with professional-scale baking was gearing up for my own bat mitzvah. In Greensboro, NC, where I grew up, our synagogue was kosher and if you wanted to serve food at the synagogue you had to make it in their professional kitchen kitchen. Most Hebrew school classes were 10-15 kids thick at the time, and when bar/bat mitzvahs rolled around all the moms for the kids in that class would help bake for the onegs for each of these events. One or two days of 10-15 women in a big kosher kitchen was enough to crank out plenty of petit fours for one kid's oneg on Friday night after services, with plenty leftover to put out on Saturday morning for a kiddush luncheon.

When my bat mitzvah rolled around, I insisted on helping the ladies with all the baked goods. I already loved being in the kitchen and was comfortable with the professional-grade equipment. I even got some of my girlfriends to come with me. We had a blast, making cookies and dipping them in chocolate and rolling them in nuts. Mom told me later that a lot of the other moms were nervous about having me there, thinking I'd just make a mess and not really do much...and then they were impressed with my dedication once it became clear I was serious.

Shelby, NC has such a small Jewish community that there will be no big Friday night oneg after services. Almost all the events for this bat mitzvah are on Saturday: AM services, a lunch at the hospitality room (which I'm providing desserts for), havdalah service and then a country-club party with swimming. My cousin is serious about swimming, as is her father, and she wanted to be sure lots of swimming happened at any party in her name. Cool kid.

There's no need for anything I make to be pareve, and incidentially I prefer dairy pastries just like Bloviatrix does. I love the taste of butter and cream in pastry and filling. Please, any of you who have good recipes for this sort of thing, feel free to send them along. Thanks.

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I've tried the Zabar's rugelach and like them, but I draw the line at chocolate.  That's as bad as putting blueberries in bagels.  Well, okay, maybe not quite.

Oh I feel so sorry for you. Nothing better than chocolate rugalach.

Well, I like the cinnamon and raisin ones too. But chocolate rugalach (the yeast kind, thats chewy) is like eating bite size miniature babkas that you pop into your mouth with reckless abandon.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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