This month it's all about cookies so it's no surprise that that's the theme for December's Sourdough Surprises. I gotta tell you I struggled with this one simply because I wanted to try so many cookies. My mind was spinning like a wheel of fortune. Almond honey cookies (like Torroni, only cookies), Pumpkin cookies (I had some pumpkin left over from Thanksgiving), apple cookies (I've been wanting to do an apple cookie so why not), biscotti (yummmmmm, sourdough biscotti), rugelach (yep, rugelach). And around and around.
Somewhere along the way orange came into the picture and I got the bug to make some candied orange peel. This came out of left field but I went with it and the candied peel turned out great. I found this outrageously delish looking cookie and this equally scrumptious looking one and I started hatching a recipe.
And then I just make rugelach.
Yep, rugelach. I found this recipe in a Bon Appetite article about Sarabeth's so long ago that it was probably when she only had one location. And look at her now! I remember my husband's face when he first tried them. His eyes got really big and he couldn't talk. He took another one, rolled his eyes and explained "these are the best things I've ever tasted!" I think they're so good because they're part pastry and part cookie and all tastiness but super easy to make (as long as you chill your dough)!
I love that you can make rugelach so many different ways. While the dough stays fairly constant you can fill them with different jams, nuts, fruits, chips. Roll them into a crescent shape or jelly roll fashion. Give them a sprinkle of confectioners sugar or leave them au natural. They're all so dang good! My default combo is raspberry preserves, cinnamon sugar, walnuts, currants, crescent shape. But I've been known to do apricot preserves, raisin, pecan, chocolate chip in a roll up. Or orange marmalade, dried apricots, hazelnuts... you get the idea. But I always, always, always, always, always give them a liberal dusting of 10X. I was quite interested to see how a sourdough version would turn out. And the verdict is in: a complete success! The dough was tender and flaky, the perfect compliment to the sweet, crunchy, chewy filling.
Yep, so glad I went with the rugelach!
1/2 cup butter
3 ounces cream cheese
1 tablespoon raw cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sourdough starter (100% hydration)
1 cup white whole wheat flour (plus more for rolling)
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar
1/2 to 3/4 cup raspberry preserves
3/4 cup currants (more or less)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (more or less)
confectioners' sugar for dusting
Beat butter and cream cheese on medium in an electric mixer until combined. Scrap the bowl, add sugar and beat to mix. Add vanilla extract, starter and flour and mix on low until mixture comes together to form a sticky dough.
Transfer dough to a clean, lightly floured surface and knead every so briefly and gently. Form a disk, about 4 to 5 inches across, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or better yet, overnight.
When dough is thoroughly chilled preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut dough in half and work on one portion at a time, leaving the other one in the fridge. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 14 X 6 inch rectangle. Make sure you always have just enough flour under your dough so it doesn't stick, but don't overdo it or the cookies will be tough. Working quickly, before the dough becomes soft and impossible to roll, spread a thin layer of preserves up to a half inch on the longest, far side of the dough (you want to leave this last part to tuck under the cookies). Next sprinkle the preserves with cinnamon sugar, followed by the currants and walnuts.
Starting at the longest side near you roll the dough onto itself and away from you. Don't worry about getting it tight, you want a little room for the dough to expand. Keep rolling until you get to the end and make sure the uncovered part of the dough is on the bottom of your roll.
Using a sharp knife cut the roll into even slices that are a little more than 1 inch wide. Repeat with the other pack of dough. Place cookies on trays lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. Spin the trays and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes or until cookies are lightly brown around the edges. Sprinkle cooled cookies with a generous amount of confectioners' sugar. Makes about 30 cookies.