Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My Favorite Cookie Recipe: Little Twists

The snow is falling gently for the first time outside, and it seems like, being also the night before Thanksgiving, a perfect day to bake. I'm re-sharing this post from last year about my favorite cookies to make around the holidays, in case you are also so inclined. Enjoy!

Via Spoonful. According to the site, "Rugelach (the word is Yiddish for "little twists") is a
popular Hanukkah pastry that's perfect for any holiday brunch.
Get your kids in on the preparation -- they'll love rolling out the
claylike dough and spreading the goopy, fruity filling."

When I was a kid, there was nothing I loved more than my grandmother's apricot rolls: the dough had a tang, the apricot preserves were so sweet. I could eat a million of them. Last week, our neighbors invited us over for a Hanukkah dinner, and the hostess made these delicious cookies that reminded me so much of my grandmother's my eyes welled up a little. I am going to try to make them today (I really hate to bake, actually, even though I love to cook; I think it's the unwieldy mess that comes with baking). These cookies are worth all the fuss.

(Adapted from


  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 6 ounces chilled cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 12 tablespoons cherry preserves or jam 
  • 8 tablespoons dried tart cherries
  • 8 tablespoons miniature semisweet chocolate chips 
To make the dough, follow these steps:
Blend flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Add butter and cream cheese and pulse until dough begins to clump together. Press the dough into a ball. After dividing the dough into four equal parts, flatten each part into a disk. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate 2 hours. (Let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.)

Next, put it all together:
For these cookies, I use a silpat mat. You should too; you will thank me. They tend to get pretty messy and the pans are a nightmare to clean without it. Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Roll out 1 disk of dough on a floured surface to a circle (the dough should be about a quarter-inch thick all around). Spread cherry preserves over dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons dried cherries, then 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, and 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar. Press filling firmly to adhere to dough.

Cut the dough round into 8 equal wedges (like a pizza - I use a pizza cutter to do it). Starting at wide end of each wedge, roll up tightly (I'll be honest here; this takes some practice. It can be hard to get the dough to roll just so, but you will get it over time). Arrange the cookies, small-tip side down, on the prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart. Repeat with the remaining dough , preserves, dried cherries, chocolate chips, and cinnamon sugar (if there's cinnamon sugar left, use it to make the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon toast). Place baking sheet in freezer 30 minutes.
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375°F. Brush cookies lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar (if you want - not an obligation). Bake frozen cookies until golden brown (you really have to watch them to see how your oven cooks - they can take anywhere between 25 and 40 minutes). Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely. (Can be made ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week or freeze up to 1 month.)

Bake your little hearts out. ~Alice

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