This blog has celebrated four holiday seasons, but sadly I’ve only given props to my Jewish friends once before with my Nutella-Filled Donuts, but today I’m adding another one to the list! Since Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlap this year, you’ll find a lot of people celebrating “Thanksgivukkah” this Thursday. I love the name, so the half-Jew in me had to find a way to honor this special occasion by making these classic Hanukkah treats with a Thanksgiving spin. If you didn’t know, Hanukkah + Thanksgiving = Cranberry Pecan Rugelach, duhh!!
Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry that’s made from a flaky dough with plenty of butter (and cream cheese!) and rolled with a variety of fillings. To give these cookies some Thanksgiving flair, I decided to fill them with a pureed mixture of dried cranberries, pecans, and white chocolate. The resulting flavor is sweet and nutty and perfect for Thanksgivukkah if you ask me. Apparently the word rugelach is Yiddish for “little twists”, and I took this translation very seriously by making mine quite miniature. That way everyone can have a little bite of rugelach and still get to enjoy their pumpkin pie (or pumpkin pie cookies!) too.
For some reason I’ve always found pastries like rugelach intimidating, maybe because of the handmade dough and intricate shape, but they really were not difficult and I’m already dreaming up other flavor combinations. The dough is just SO flaky and buttery I actually don’t even need fillings, I might just make the dough on its own again. Remember my rant last week about not liking pie? Well I failed to mention that although I’m not a fan of warm fruit, I love me a good pie crust. So these treats are actually a perfect Thanksgiving dessert for people like me – it’s basically flaky pie dough rolled up with a thin layer of filling and baked until slightly crispy! Happy Thanksgivukkah everyone, eat lots of fantastic food :)
Cranberry Pecan Rugelach
for the dough:
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 egg + 1 tsp of water
for the filling:
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
To make the dough, in the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla and mix until well blended. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and mix until just incorporated.
Divide the dough into 4 portions and wrap each one in plastic wrap. Place them in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.
To make the filling, combine the sugar, dried cranberries, white chocolate chips, pecans, and butter in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Place in an airtight container until dough is chilled and ready for preparation.
Once the dough is cooled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the dough one section at a time into a 9" circle on a well-floured surface. Spread 1/4 of the filling onto the circle in a thin, even layer up going all the way up to the edges of the dough.
Use a pizza cutter to cut each round into 12 slices and then starting from the outside/widest part, roll in towards the point. Place the rolled cookies tip-point-down onto a parchment paper or Silpat lined cookie sheet. Beat the 1 egg and water together in a small bowl and then brush on a bit of egg wash on the top of each cookie. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.