Makes 32 rugelach.
Freezing the rugelach before baking ensures that the rich, flaky dough holds its shape. It also makes this recipe super-convenient. Make the cookies whenever you have time, and bake them just in time for the holidays.
For the cream cheese dough:
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1?2 tablespoons sugar
- 1?4 teaspoon salt
- One 8-ounce package chilled cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
- 1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
- 1?2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2?3 cup raspberry preserves
- 1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
- 2?3 cup (about 4 ounces) dried currants
- 1?3 cup heavy cream
2. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and press it into a ball. Divide the ball into 4 equal pieces and shape each piece into a 4-inch disk. Wrap each disk in plastic and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours and for up to 2 days. (The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; defrost it in the refrigerator before use.)
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Make the filling: Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Transfer the chopped walnuts to a medium mixing bowl. Place the preserves in the food processor and process until any large chunks are broken up. Transfer to a small bowl.
5. Remove one dough disk from the refrigerator and with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a 9-inch circle on a lightly floured work surface. Using a 9-inch plate or pie plate as a guide, trim the edges to make a neat circle. Spread 21?2 tablespoons of the preserves over the dough.
Sprinkle with 21?2 tablespoons of the currants and 1?4 cup of the chocolate chips. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar. Sprinkle with 1?4 cup of the walnuts. Pat the filling firmly with your fingertips to secure it to the dough. Cut the dough circle into 8 wedges. Roll each wedge into a crescent and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough disks. (Rolled rugelach can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to 1 month. Place the rugelach in the oven directly from the freezer.)
6. Brush the frozen rugelach with the heavy cream and bake them until they are golden, 24 to 26 minutes. Transfer them to wire racks with a metal spatula and let them cool completely.
Rugelach will keep in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.
Excerpted from Mom's Big Book of Baking, by Lauren Chattman. ©2001, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.