On the First Day of Cookiemas My True Love Gave to Me: Rugelach, of course
And as today is the first day (o.k., night) of Hanukkah, the first cookie on the first day of Cookiemas shall be rugelach.
2 packages (1 pound) cream cheese
1 pound unsalted, room temperature butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
4 cups AP flour
-Cream together cream cheese, butter, sugar and salt until creamy. Add salt, vanilla and milk. Mix until incorporated.
-Slowly add all flour until just incorporated. Don't overwork the dough.
-Using your hands turn the dough out onto a floured surface and lightly knead until smooth.
-Divide the dough into three even pieces (if you're going to be exact, each round will weight 1pound 1 ounce).
-Pat each piece of dough into a circle and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour.
-Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12 inch circle.
-Score the dough into 12 pieces. Don't cut through just yet, you'll find that unless you have a pie marker, you won't be as good at this as you'd like. Your pieces will be uneven and you'll be able to make corrections once you start cutting.
-At this stage, you can smear a light layer of jam (I used strawberry) over the entirety of the dough before cutting. However, I like a variety of flavors. Nutella, for instance. Who doesn't want to shove Nutella into everything they can? So at this stage, I cut the little triangles like a pizza pie and divide the triangles into a jammy schmear pile and a Nutella schmear pile.
-Using a small offset spatula, gently cover each triangle with a light coating of jam (or Nutella) and sprinkle with ground nuts for added texture and flavor.
-Roll each triangle of dough, starting at the wider end, into a crescent.
-Brush the rugelach with a light coating of milk and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
-Bake at 350º for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Happy Hanukkah!!!