HOW TO MAKE APPLE TART CHERRY JAM
I prepared this apple and dried cherry rugelach for the Great American Baking Show Cookie Week. Since we had to make our filling from scratch I couldn't use my tried and true red currant jelly, but had to come up with a jam/filling that I could make in the time allotted. I originally used fresh apples, water and tart cherries to make the competition filling. This filling is dried apples, tart cherries, apple cider and cinnamon and I like it much better. The flavor is more intense. There is no added sugar to the jam. Any leftover jam can be used for your morning toast.
HOW TO MAKE RUGELACH
Rugelach is fairly easy to make. I use the food processor to make this dough because I think it is the easiest method. To get a flaky dough I use cold butter and cold cream, the same as you would for a pie. For a long time I used room temperature butter and cream cheese but I learned from my friend and fellow baker Tina Zaccardi to use cold butter and cold cream cheese to produce a much flakier cookie.
The dry ingredients go in the processor first and are processed for about 30 seconds to make sure they are combined. Then add the cold butter and cream cheese and pulse until the dough has a crumbly texture. The dough is needed into a smooth ball and then divided into 4 even pieces. Most of the time for this recipe is for allowing the dough to chill. The filling takes about 20 minutes to make and cools fairly quickly, but I recommend making it first. If using a jam and nuts for the filling, make it while the dough is chilling.
Once the dough has chilled you roll it out into a circle, spread the jam filling on the dough and sprinkle the brown sugar nut mixture on top. Cut the circle into 8 pieces, roll each into a crescent and chill before baking. You know you have done it right when you can see the layers of dough at the end of baking.
You can also roll the dough into a rectangle, roll it into a log and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces for a different shape.
A GREAT CHRISTMAS COOKIE
I have made rugelach for Christmas for several years, with not a whole lot of variation year to year. But I love this new apple and cherry filling. The apples and spices are my go-to fall flavors and the dried cherries add a nice tart bright taste to the filling. It is so easy to make and I look forward to experimenting with other flavors using dried fruit, and chocolate of course. Family, friends and my husband (who is my chief taste tester) all say these are a winner.
For Christmas I make the dough right after Thanksgiving and place it in the freezer. I start baking cookies about 3-4 days before I give them away. The baked cookies are good for about 5 days at room temperature in an airtight container and can be frozen for about a month.
The recipe officially makes 32 cookies, but the dough leftover from trimming the dough circles ends up being enough to produce 6 or 8 more rugelach cookies.
I am happy to share this recipe with you. If you have any questions please email me or contact me via Instagram @bakesbybrownsugar
OTHER CHRISTMAS COOKIE RECIPES
If you’re looking for other shortbread or cookie recipes check out these delicious recipes:
Apple and Tart Cherry Rugelach
Apple – Tart Cherry Jam
- 1 cup (114 grams) dried apples
- 1/2 cup (86 grams) dried tart cherries
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 cups (228 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup 50 grams granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces (227 grams) cream cheese, cold
- 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, cold
Rugelach Sugar Filling
- 1/2 cup (96 grams) light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 cup (114 grams) pecans , lightly toasted and chopped fine
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Apple and Dried Cherry Jam
- Place the dried apples, the dried tart cherries, the cinnamon stick and the 3 cups of apple cider in a 4-quart sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium heat and cook until the apple cider is reduced to 1 cup, about 10-12 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to the filling to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and pour the mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with metal blade. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of salt over the mixture. Process until the fruit and juice until it resembles chunky applesauce. Pour it into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the flour mixture into the bowl of food processor with a metal blade. Cut the cream cheese and butter into chunks and add them to the food processor. Pulse until the dough resembles small pebbles, 16-20 pulses.
- Pour the mixture onto a work surface and press it into a rectangle. The dough should have a marbled appearance with small visible pieces of cream cheese and butter. Divide the dough into 4 pieces, about 183 grams each. Shape each piece into a small circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Freeze for about 1 hour. The dough can be frozen for about 1 month. If freezing for more than a day, place the plastic-wrapped dough in freezer bags.
Rugelach Sugar Filling
- Toast the nuts at 350 degrees F for about 7 minutes. Allow them to cool and chop. Combine the sugar, cinnamon and cardamom and whisk together. Add the chopped nuts and stir together
- Combine 1 egg and the milk and whisk together. In another bowl, combine the sugar and the cinnamon.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet or flat plate with parchment paper.
- Place the dough on your work surface and let it sit for about 10 minutes. Roll out to a 9-1/2 to 10-inch circle and then trim to a 9-inch circle. Spread 3 tablespoons of the apple-cherry jam on the dough and leave about a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the sugar-nut mixture over the top. Cut the dough round into 8 wedges. Roll each wedge into a crescent shape. Place the rugelach on the baking sheet or flat plate and refrigerate for about an hour or up to 24 hours. You can also freeze for about 20 minutes if you are short on time.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place the rugelach on a rimmed baking sheet 2-inches apart. Brush with the egg-milk mixture and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 16-19 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack.