Sunday, January 11, 2015


We had a full house this past Christmas, and Chris, assumed the role of pastry chef,a much appreciated treat for me. In addition to making Cranberry Linzertorte and Perfect Apple Pie (recipe follows soon, I hope) for Christmas Eve, he brought us many loaves of fresh French bread from his bread machine and box after box of cookies. The cookies included a couple of batches of Chris's Brownies, Awesome Oatmeal Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies and Rugelach. Traditional rugelach are formed by rolling crescent dough around a filling, this sliced roll alternative is adapted by Chris from Smitten Kitchen.

Since Chris tells me to write about my failures so others won't make the same mistake, I'm sure he would want me to note that his first batch of rugelach was a disaster (his call not mine, I did not see or taste a cookie).  On first read, the recipe sounded like cookie dough rather than pastry dough, he explained.  The result was a tough crust.  For the next batch he used cold butter and cold cream cheese and found the dough much more satisfactory.   Everyone really enjoyed this second (and third) batch!

Make the Dough

Using a food processor with steel blade, blend until light and fluffy:

8 ounces  cold (straight out of refrigerator!) cream cheese
1 c (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Add and beat until combined:

1/4 c granulated sugar

Scrape sides and bottom of bowl well to consolidate ingredients, then add and mix just until just combined:

2 c sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 t coarse salt

Divide dough equally into two pieces, form into balls, flatten into thick rectangles,  wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  If you have two paper towel rolls, slit them in the long direction and save for later.

Make the Filling

Toss together in a medium sized bowl:

1/4 c plus 2 T sugar
1/4 c light-brown sugar, packed
1/2 t ground cinnamon
3/4 c raisins, finely chopped
1c toasted (optional), then finely chopped walnuts

Assemble the Rolls

On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece of the dough. Rectangle should be about 12" wide by 1/8" thick.

Spread evenly over the dough:

~1/4 c raspberry preserves, heated and slightly cooled

and sprinkle with half the filling mixture. Beginning with one of the long sides, roll the dough into a tight log. Wrap in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped roll in the previous prepared paper towel roll (optional)   and give it a little roll to firm the shape of the pastry roll.

Place the completed roll on a baking sheet and repeat the process using an additional

~1/4 c raspberry preserves, heated and cooled slightly

Place the second pastry roll on the baking sheet along side the first, place baking sheet in the refrigerator and let chill for one hour or longer.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Make the Topping

Mix together:

1/2 c sugar
1 1/2 t ground cinnamon

Slice the chilled pastry rolls in discs about 1/4" thick. Using your fingers, dip each disc in the topping mixture then shake off any excess topping. At this phase if you didn't roll and cut them perfectly, there's a bit of squishing them together.  Place cookies about an inch apart on the prepared sheets

Bake 15 - 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the cookies from the oven and  using a fork or fingers (careful, don't burn!) tuck in any ends of dough that might have pulled away.  Let the cookes rest on the baking sheet for two minutes to set. Meanwhile spray or wipe a cooling rack with olive or canola oil.  This will help keep the preserves from sticking. Transfer cookies to rack(s) and let cool completely.

Once cool, cookies can be stored in an airtight container.  If making more than one level of cookies, separate each level with a layer of wax paper.


Instead of raisins use another dried fruit of your choice, finely chopped.

Instead of walnuts, use another nut of your choice, finely chopped.

Instead of raspberry preserves, use apricot preserves or use raspberry preserves on one roll and apricot  preserves on the other.

All photos this post:
© 2014 Christopher Kern

Reviewed 5/14/17

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