Monday, December 26, 2011

Overdue Recipe: Rugelach

There's a little indie coffee shop in downtown Denver that has gorgeous looking pastries. I almost never buy one, but one day I bought a rugelach. Theirs was giant, dry, and sad - but with just enough pastry/filling flavor to hint that rugelach should be something much yummier.

And once I started looking for recipes, I realized this was something that my dad's mom would make as a Christmas cookie, and I was even more excited to make my own recipe. Her recipe, and many traditional ones, feature a sweet walnut filling, but I'm not that into walnuts and it sounded like more work, so I just use jam. Raspberry jam and orange marmalade are my standard choices.

Here's what I put together by looking at several recipes and keeping the less fiddly bits.

1 c butter
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
(I added a splash of water to mine this year because the texture looked off. It seemed to work.)

cream together everything but the flour, then added the flour and mix thoroughly. Add a tiny bit of cold water if it's not coming together.
Divide it into four parts, shape them as discs, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.

Once they're chilled, roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick, cut wedges (pizza cutter!) add a dollop of jam to the wide end and roll them up. The jam ALWAYS leaks out, so I've been putting down foil and greasing that. I need to try parchment paper sometime.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Let sit on the pan for a few minutes and then remove while they're still warm and before the jam leakage glues them to the foil forever.

You can do it one disc at a time, saving the rest in the fridge for... awhile. I think I had one dry out and get funky on me once, but it was there for probably a month.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Actions tell the truth

and I keep making this recipe. I have a LOT of chocolate cake recipes. Many. And the last 3 times I've made chocolate cake, I've made this. It's in the perfect sweet intersection of easy to make and tastes really good.

This is almost precisely King Arthur Flour's Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake. But I am here to tell you that it is perfectly happy to be made in many less fussy shapes than a 4 layer cake.

Halved to make about 12 cupcakes

1 c sugar
1 c flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/8 oz (3/8c) cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp espresso powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/4c + 2 Tblsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
5 oz water

you can just dump it all in a mixer and beat until smooth.

at 350 degrees, it takes about 16 minutes to make cupcakes, about 25 to make a short bundt (though I think I'll use the full size recipe next time I'm making a bundt)

It's not quite decadent enough to hold its own without frosting, but it's wonderfully moist, keeps well (I may have eaten the first batch of 24 cupcakes by myself) and is quite presentably fancy with frosting.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

prepare for cookie time

Gingerbread Cookies

1/2 c shortening
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1/2 c (6 oz) molasses
1 Tblsp vinegar
2 1/2 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 Tblsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves

Preheat oven to 375
roll out to about 1/2" thick, apply cookie cutters, bake on a greased cookie sheet for 5-6 minutes

Decorate with royal icing (you probably need less than half that recipe. I've only used egg whites because I always have eggs.) and all the sprinkles you can get to stick to it.

Heather, I think that might be your recipe? Though I knocked it in half and I'm hoping it won't suffer from the extra half of an egg. :)