My Favorite Things: Rose's Christmas Cookies
They say that the first step in beating any addiction is admitting that you have a problem. Well, I have a problem but I have absolutely NO INTENTION of trying to kick it! I am a cook book addict. I just can't help myself. I have cook books for all kinds of things. Bread, cakes, pasta, veggies and, of course, COOKIES!!! My favorite cookie book is, hands down, Rose's Christmas Cookies.
Published by Rose Levy Beranbaum in 1990, I purchased this book for one specific recipe which I make every Christmas - Lora Brody's Rugelach. (More about that recipe in a minute.) A co-worker had made those rugelach and brought some into the office to share. I just loved the perfect balance of the cookie - flaky and tender cream cheese pastry rolled around a filling of apricot preserves, white and light brown sugars, cinnamon, golden raisins and chopped walnuts. I asked for the recipe and was directed to Rose's Christmas Cookies.
Thumbing through the recipes, there are many things to recommend this book. Measurements for ingredients are given both by volume and by weight (ounces and grams). For example, a recipe calls for butter - 1 cup (by volume) or 8 ounces/227 grams (by weight).
Most recipes include multiple mixing directions depending on which appliance you may have to make the cookie. What do I mean by that? Say you want to make rugelach using an electric mixer, directions are given for that. Wait, Gloria, I don't have an electric mixer but I do have a food processor. Okay, directions are given for mixing rugelach dough using a foodprocessor.
Back to the rugelach. I usually make the dough a couple of months before Christmas and throw it in the freezer. The day before I want to make the rugelach, I take the dough out of the freezer and let it thaw out in the refrigerator overnight.
After rolling out a portion of the dough, you spread on about 2 tablespoons of apricot preserves. Then you sprinkle on 1/2 cup of the sugar/raisin/walnut mixture.
After gently pressing the filling into the dough, divide the dough into 12 pieces using a pizza cutter. Then starting at the wide end, roll each piece towards the point. Bend the rolled piece like a crescent roll and place it on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Repeat this process until each cookie is shaped. (NB- DO NOT bake these cookies without parchment on the baking sheets!)
After shaping, the cookies are chilled on the baking sheet for 30 minutes or until firm. This step is crucial as it helps the cookies to hold their shape during baking. Before baking, brush each cookie with milk and sprinkle on a cinnamon sugar topping.
Bake the rugelach in a 350 degree oven for 16-18 minutes. I let the cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet before sliding the parchment with the cookies off the sheet to cool before storing them at room temperature in an air tight container.
These rugelach are delicious. In fact, they are my husband's favorite Christmas cookie. However, they are just one of many wonderful cookie recipes you can find in Rose's Christmas Cookies, just one of my favorite things.