Saturday, February 20, 2010

Rugelach....tears and smiles

This was a difficult week for my dear cousin lost his valiant battle with cancer. He will be missed by all who knew and loved him...
Food is the thing that brings us together. In good times and in bad. It can bring a smile to faces that have no more smiles to give. It gives us memories of the brings us together.
I often wonder why we wait for only those really good times and the really bad times to all be together as a family. 
When I was a little girl and we all lived on the same street...houses away from one another. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents...times changed and everyone moved and went in different directions and only memories remain.
Miles separate us...families go their separate ways...but no matter what happens...the love is still there.
I was baking these rugelach at 7:00 in the morning the other day. The light in my kitchen was lovely and I enjoyed baking these. I also enjoyed the happiness they gave...that was a good thing...

This is my most requested cookie. I got the recipe from the now gone Cuisine magazine in the early 80's. The recipe was from Sarabeth Levine...Sarabeth's in NYC...they are special because of the plum jam and the shower of powdered sugar...I know they are wonderful with raspberry jam or apricot but they are not as good as these...I promise you that. I have used mini chocolate chips in place of the nuts, or some grated bittersweet chocolate.  I have added to and adapted this recipe to what it is now. I lost the little faded article with the recipe a few years ago...but thankfully it remained in my head.
The recipe makes three dozen. I had to use restraint to bring all of these to my cousin's home and not keep any for us...The dough freezes well. Try will love them too....

 Sarabeth's Rugelach
adapted from a recipe printed in a magazine many years ago....
1 cup butter softened
1 8 oz.pkg. cream cheese softened
½ cup + 2 T.sugar divided
½ t.vanilla
¼ t.salt
2 cups flour
¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
½ cup currants
2 T.cinnamon
½ cup plum preserves (I usually use Bonne Maman Damson Plum,that is the easiest to find*)
Confectioners sugar

Pre-Heat oven to 350*
Mix Cinnamon with 1/2 cup sugar and set aside.
Cream together butter and cream cheese,add 2 T.sugar,vanilla,salt ,and flour…I use my hand mixer for this…you could use a processor or the big stand mixer if you want.
Turn out on board and knead quickly until just together and smooth…
Divide into 3 pieces, press each piece into disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour or overnight
Roll disc out into a 10 inch or 12 inch circle…don’t worry if the edges are uneven. I use a marble slab for this but a clean counter will work as well. You want to work quickly and not let the dough become too warm.
Spread 1/3 of the jam, the cinnamon sugar,nuts and currants over dough. Leave a 1 inch border without filling around circle. You can roll over filling covered with parchment paper, with rolling pin to press into dough…you don’t have to though
With a long sharp knife or bench knife cut into 12 pie shaped pieces.It is easier to cut the circle into quarters and then cut each quarter into three equal pieces.
Roll each piece into a crescent, long end toward the point. Place on a parchment lined (or silpat) baking sheet. Turn the edges in so it looks like a crescent.
Bake at 350* for 25- 30 minutes or until golden brown. Check them when you smell them....
Cool on rack…dust liberally with powdered sugar..I usually sift the sugar over them while they are on the Rack…I place the rack over a parchment lined baking sheet,to catch the sugar.
Also the Bonne Maman jam has lots of chunks of fruit, if you want to be very precise you can whizz the jam in the processor until smooth....I tend to just work around the is your call. One word of caution...the cinnamon sugar in this recipe makes a lot. I do not use it all. I eyeball use your own discretion when you sprinkle it on. I probably use about two Tablespoons or so of the mixture for each round of dough...
 *Hero also makes a plum jam as does the Barefoot Contessa. Sarabeth makes a Plum Cherry preserve  which is also lovely in these....


  1. I'm sorry Linda. (HUGS) I wish I could do something to help, but words are all I can offer. You and your family are in my thoughts & prayers.

  2. I'm so sorry about your cousin. You're so right about how families get together for good and bad occasions. Why don't we plan for ordinary times too? I'm sure the rugelach were well appreciated.

  3. My sympathies Linda~

    How SWEET of you to bring these? Try them you say? I'll love them? Will do..And I'll let you know:)
    Thank you.
    I know what you mean about that light..
    And there is a gratitude in there:)

  4. I m sorry to hear about your cousin Linda. God bless him n ur family. My thoughts n prayers are wth u n ur family too.

    The rugelach looks amazing Linda...what a lovely gift to bring...indeed food does bring us together in bad times n good ~

  5. I'm so sorry to read about your cousin, Linda.Your family is in my prayers. Special foods can be such a comfort in times of stress.

    How wonderful that you all lived so close when you were a child. Those memories are treasures in life.

  6. I just lost a great friend last week too... food binds and heals. How great that you take a loss and turn it into a creative gesture full of love and your own spirit.
    Sarabeth's has such great things... I can't wait to try these... maybe for my friend's wake... it will bring smiles!

  7. Linda, I'm so sorry for the loss of your cousin. I, too, often head for the kitchen and bake something when I'm sad or need consoling. I think it's the act of doing something for someone else that makes us feel just a little better.

    These look wonderful. I've never made this recipe and am envious of how beautiful your rugelach are!

  8. Such a thoughtful gesture, Linda! I'm sure they brought comfort & solace, as well as fond memories to ease the pain. My sympathies on your family's loss.

    These little crescents remind me of the ones my long deceased Aunt Eleanor used to make at Christmas. I loved those little cookies! I will have to go compare her recipe to yours & perhaps I'll make them for Easter in honor of Aunt E's memory.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe & for jogging a very happy memory for me.

    Gentle Hugs,

  9. Linda, I'm so sorry for your loss. Keeping you in my thoughts.

    I'll definitely give your recipe a try. How can I not when they look like that.

  10. Well, sweetie-girl you already know that my heart has been aching with you during this time of loss. ((hugs)) I hope with time the feeling of loss and pain will be replaced with the happiest of memories of your dear cousin.

    Your childhood memories were so touching to read, they brought back a flood of memories for me, too.

    I can honestly say I have NEVER seen such beautiful rugelach in my life... You're the rugelach QUEEN! I love your riff of using plum, and sometimes chocolate.

    Oh yeah, these are going to be making an appearance at our house SOON. They'll be known as Linda's rugelach here. You're a love for sharing. xo

  11. So sorry to hear about your family's loss. Sometimes baking is all we can do to express sympathy.

    We love rugelach around here too. It's the perfect thing for you to take.
    My mother gave me a wonderful recipe...and they freeze so well too.

  12. Oops! Sorry. That anonymous was me, hitting a button too soon!

  13. I'm sorry about your loss... That is really tough.

  14. linda i am so sorry for your loss, i saw this post days ago and when i clicked it wasn't there yet, took me this long to get back to you... i am sending you warm sweet thoughts, to match your beautiful cookie...

    my prayers and thoughts to your family.

  15. Linda, I"m sorry for your loss. I wish there were words to say that would help. But cooking helps. I know that in those times when I've wondered how I could go on, it was things like the morning light your described or some little thing that I was doing well, or sometimes just a color, that made me feel alive again, for just a moment. And that's how I knew I could go on.

    Rugelach would help too. These look fabulous. Thanks for sharing this with us!

  16. Condolences to you and your family. Cancer is a bitch - we know way too many suffering.

    Delicious looking rugelach! I recently made some with Nutella filling and they were fabulous too. Nothing like rugelach and a cup of tea to help soothe the spirits.

  17. Linda, I am so sorry. It's the little things that ease the pain.
    My heart has been with my sister these last few weeks. She has now lost her eye due to cancer. We pray it's over, but cancer is a sneaky devil that rears it ugly face when you least expect it.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
    Cookies sound divine.


  19. Sorry to hear about that. Condolenses to you and your family.

  20. Linda, I'm hoping you're ok. Or as ok as you can be at this time. We miss you. We're saving your place.

  21. Thanks Kate!

    I have a lot on my husband is in Brussels at the moment actually for the next 6 weeks working and is down wit hrither food poisoning or a stomach virus, and my son just got home for Spring Break and is having some minor surgery tomorrow, my 17 year old has a lot going I have just not had the time to blog..,but I am taking quick peeks when I can....

  22. Hi, this is my 1st time here. Sorry about your cousin..You have a wonderful blog, will visit you more often.

  23. I am sorry for your family's loss. God bless.

  24. Oh I have been looking for a recipie like this for quite some time....they look just like a cookie I have had all my life at Italian weddings...the only recipie my mother doesn't have ... but my favourite!

    so glad i stumbled upon your blog...I'll sign up to follow...thanks so much for sharing! you made my day! or should I say cookie!!! lol

  25. and I'm so sorry for your loss...I should have mentioned that's nice to lean on family in times like this...

    ciao bella

  26. I am so sorry Linda, for your and your family's loss. It's so sad. Yes, the warmth and comfort of shared food can bring a smile when we think we have none.

    I'd love to make these and will think of how filled with love yours are.