This one brings me back to high school – I had an after school job working at Noah’s Bagels with a bunch of friends. I have awesome memories from that time – escaping to the walk-in cooler to down a Yoo Hoo during breaks, blasting one of the two CDs that was kept in the back prep room (I remember The Police’s Greatest Hits always being on), soaping up the floors at night with dish soap so we could slide around, and seeing all the fun we could have with customers (“okay, with this person, you have to work in the word ‘penguin'”).
In addition to the mountains of bagels eaten during this period (this is where I discovered my perfect peanut butter and honey bagel, and no one else has been able to fix one quite the same way), I also used my employee discount on kosher snacks from the bakery case – Mrs. Maltz’s knishes, lox in all different shades and flavors, hamantaschen and rugelach.
I found a recipe for rugelach in my favorite baking book, and had to set aside some quality time to recreate the memories. As great as they were back then, this recipe blows them out of the water – they’re crispy and flaky without being dry, studded with little morsels of fruit, nuts and chocolate. I tried to convince Chris that they’re best eaten in 4 bites, but he just chalked it up to my OCD food habits and downed them all in one snap.
Rugelach, from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking:
For the dough:
4oz cold cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
1 stick cold butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
For the filling:
2/3c jam (I used apricot)
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4c chopped nuts (I used walnuts)
1/4c dried currants
4oz finely chopped bittersweet chocolate or 2/3c mini chocolate chips
For the glaze:
1 large egg
1 tsp cold water
2 Tbsp coarse sugar
Let the cream cheese and butter rest so that they’re softened but still cool. Put the flour and salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, scatter over the butter and cream cheese and pulse 6-10 times. Then process just until the dough forms large curds, not so long that it forms a ball on the blade.
Turn the dough out, gather into a ball and divide in half. Shape into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and refridgerate for at least 2 hours (I froze my dough for a month before I was able to motivate for the next project day).
Prepare your filling – liquify the jam in the microwave, and stir the sugar and cinnamon together.
Pull one disc of the dough from the fridge and roll it into an 12″ circle. Brush a thin layer of jam over the dough and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar. Scatter over half of the nuts, currants and chocolate, and press the filling into the dough.
Cut the circle into 16 wedges. Starting at the base of each triangle, roll up the dough (just like you would with those addictive Pillsbury crescent rolls).
Arrange them on a baking sheet with the points tucked under and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before baking. Repeat the rolling, brushing, sprinkling, scattering, pressing, cutting, rolling and refrigerating on the second dough disc.
Stir together the egg and water, and brush the glaze over each cookie. Sprinkle them with the coarse sugar and bake at 350° for 20 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back after the first 10 minutes, until they are puffed and golden.
Somehow I never caught a picture of the finished product – must’ve disappeared too quickly. I’m telling you – four bites a piece! Instead, I’ll leave you with a picture from those lovely times with the one Noah’s item I never tried – chubs.