Friday, August 20, 2010

Cinnamon Rugelach

photo by Anthony Palatta

My mother has made these cinnamon rugelach for years, from a recipe she found in a cookbook put out by a local synagogue.

The first time she made this yeast-based dough, she found it too sticky to work with until a friend of hers recommended kneading it in flour.

The original recipe calls for adding crushed nuts for the filling, though I imagine you could add jam or chocolate chips too.

These treats are like doughy mini-cinnamon rolls. They're a favorite in my family, though some people find them a bit too doughy.  I'm thinking about adding a sticky filling and drizzling some icing on top.  They freeze perfectly, and can be defrosted and refrozen whenever you need a cinnamon kick.

Cinnamon Rugelach

1 package dry yeast
½ cup (2 sticks) butter, margarine, or vegetable shortening
½ cup sugar (+1 teaspoon for yeast mixture)
2 large eggs
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour + extra for kneading

2 tbsp cinnamon
½ cup sugar
1 cup of crushed nuts (optional)

1.     Mix warm water, 1 teaspoon sugar, and yeast in cup and set aside for about 15 minutes or until doubled in size. 
2.     Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter, ½ cup sugar, and eggs in a stand mixer at medium speed.  Mix in salt and vanilla.  Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour until incorporated.  Add yeast ingredients just until mixed. 
3.     Divide dough into 5 parts.  Remove each part of the dough, one at a time, using a spatula and knife.  Try to avoid touching the dough.  Knead the dough in flour just until workable and not too sticky.  Spread cinnamon-sugar topping on a flat surface and press dough into a circle on top.  Lift the circle and press the other side into the topping, then roll out into a thin circle.  Cut into 12 wedges and roll into a crescent shape.  Repeat process with remaining 4 parts of dough. 
4.     Bake on cookie sheets for about 15 minutes.  Makes 5 dozen.

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