Arsip Tag: unfussy

unfussy rugelach – smitten kitchen

Note: You can watch an Instagram Story demo of this recipe over here. These cookies were previously called “Pull-Apart Rugelach”. Rugelach fillings are as flexible and creative as you are. Here, we use some jam, cinnamon-sugar, and a mix of chopped nuts, dried fruit and chocolate as the “coarse” mix but you can swap this with 1 cup of whatever you’d prefer. I use an egg wash for shine on top, but if eggs are an issue for you, brushing some cream over the top works too. In regards to the dough, I just want to underline that unlike pie crusts, puffed pastry or croissants, the flakiness here is not something it takes magic and/or advanced skill to create; you don’t need to cut cold butter into flour, envelope, roll, or anything else. No matter how you blend it, the results will be incomparably flaky.
Make the dough:

In a food processor: Place flour and salt in work bowl fitted with standard blade. Pulse to combine. Add cream cheese, chopped into large chunks, and run machine until it’s fully dispersed into the flour. Add butter in large chunks and run machine until dough starts to clump. Dump out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and form into a flattish disc.

With a mixer: Let butter and cream cheese soften at room temperature. Beat both together until light and fluffy. Beat in salt. Add flour, beating until it disappears. Scrape dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap and form into a flattish disc.

Both methods: Chill dough until totally firm — about 2 hours in the fridge you can hasten this along in the freezer for about 30 minutes. (Dough keeps in fridge for up to a week, and in freezer much longer.)

Form the cookies:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick baking mats.

Stir cinnamon and sugar together in a small dish. Combine coarse mixture of chocolate, nuts and dried fruit in a second dish.

Divide dough into quarters and roll first quarter out on a floured counter into a rectangle about 12 inches wide and 7 to 8 inches long, with the wider side to you. Thinly spread jam to all but the furthest 1/4 inch from you — which seals better once rolled if bare — with about 2 to 3 tablespoons jam. (I find that with seedless raspberry, 2T covers nicely but with thicker jam, you’ll need 3T to coat it thinly. If your jam is difficult to spread, you can warm it gently in the microwave for a few seconds first.) Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon-sugar mixture, then 4 tablespoons coarse fruit and nut mixture.

Roll dough from the 12-inch side in front of you into as tight as a log as you can, using your fingers to lightly seal the ends onto the log. Repeat with remaining logs.

Shape your cookies [see additional images at end of recipe]:

To make classic, easy sliced cookies: Place log of filled dough in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes; it will cut more cleanly once semi-firm. Trim ends from log so they have a clean shape. Cut log into 10 to 12 even slices. Arrange on prepared baking sheets a couple inches apart from each other.

To make a ring of spirals: Place log of filled dough in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes; it will cut more cleanly once semi-firm. Trim ends from log so they have a clean shape. Cut log into 10 to 12 even slices. Arrange them in a ring formation on prepared baking sheets so that each link touches. Do note: This will be the hardest to lift in one piece from the baking sheet once cool.

To make a pull-apart wreath: Form log into a ring, connecting the ends and smoothing the dough to seal the shape. Place ring in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes; it will cut more cleanly once semi-firm. On prepared baking sheet, cut 10 to 12 evenly spaced apart notches in ring, cutting through all but the last 1/4-inch of log so it stays connected.

To make a pull-apart log: Place log of filled dough in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes; it will cut more cleanly once semi-firm. Trim ends from log so they have a clean shape. On prepared baking sheet, cut 10 to 12 evenly spaced apart notches in log, alternating sides that you cut from, cutting through all but the last 1/4-inch of log so it stays connected.

To make a split log twisted together like a babka: Don’t. It was a flopped-open mess. We couldn’t even eat it. [biggest lie, ever]

For all shapes, to bake finish: Brush top(s) lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with a total of 1 teaspoon of the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown on top. Individual cookies need to cool only a few minutes on baking sheet before they can be transferred to a cooling rack but larger rings, wreaths and logs do best if they cool at least 3/4 of the way to solidify more before attempting to carefully transfer them.

Do ahead: Cooled cookies keep in a container at room temperature for a week, and in the freezer for a month. Just not around here. Your filled log of rugelach is also easy to freeze, pre-baking, until needed. Wrap well, and you can slice it into cookies straight from the freezer, baking them while still frozen — you’ll just new a few extra minutes in the oven.

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unfussy sugar cookies – smitten kitchen

Make the cookies in a food processor: Combine flour, salt (if butter is unsalted), baking powder, and sugar in a large bowl or the work bowl of your machine, whisking to combine well. Cut butter into small cubes and add to dry ingredients. Run the machine, scraping down as needed, until the butter fully disappears into the flour mixture, which will look sandy and clump easily between your fingertips. Add the egg and vanilla and run the machine until it blends into an even cookie dough, scraping down a few times to make sure it mixes evenly.

Make the cookies with a stand or hand mixer: Combine sugar and salt (if butter is unsalted) in a large bowl or the bowl of your mixer. (The order here is different because the butter takes longer to soften, longer than we want to beat the flour for.) Cut butter into small cubes and add to the sugar mixture and beat with the paddle or beater attachments until the butter and sugar are an even, soft texture — you’ll want to scrape down the bowl a few times and be patient, especially with a hand mixer, but once the two are combined, no need to beat further (until fluffy) as you would with other cookie recipes. Add egg and vanilla and beat until evenly combined, scraping down bowl. Add baking powder and beat it an additional 30 seconds beyond what is needed to make the baking powder disappear (we want to disperse it extremely well). Add flour and mix only until it disappears.

Both methods: Divide dough in half and (edited to add) if it’s in loose chunks, gently knead it together into one mass on a sheet of parchment paper. Place a second sheet of parchment paper over the dough and roll each dough half between 2 large pieces of parchment paper into your desired thickness — I like these the most in the 3/16- to 1/4-inch range (link to the optional spacers I’m using at the end), the thinner one is shown in the final cookies. Slide each parchment-and-cookie-dough slab onto the back of a baking sheet, thin tray, or thin cutting board and place in freezer for 15 to 20 minutes, until solid.

Heat oven: To 350 degrees F.

Shape cookies: Carefully remove top sheet of parchment paper from first cookie dough slab and place the side that touched the dough down on a large baking sheet. Cut cookies into your desired shape. Here I’m using a fluted pastry wheel (link at end) to cut the cookies into 1.5-inch squares. Peel each cookie off the bottom sheet of parchment (this should be easy if they’re still frozen; if they’re not, return the slab to the freezer for 3 to 5 more minutes) and arrange on baking sheet with 2 inches between them. Repeat with remaining slab of cookie dough. If you have any dough to reroll, do it again between two sheets of parchment paper and freeze this slab until solid again before cutting into it.

Bake cookies: Until they are a light golden brown at the edges (if there’s no color, there’s little flavor), rotating trays once while baking to ensure even baking, about 10 to 12 minutes. Thinner and smaller cookies are done faster; larger ones will take longer, of course. Use cookie color as your guide, however, not the timer.

Let cookies set for one minute on the tray after removing from the oven then transfer to a cooling rack to let the cookies cool completely. It’s not like this takes very long inside, but I’m impatient and put them outside when the weather permits. You can stop right here — look how fast you made cookies! you’re a wizard! — or you can decorate them…

Make the icing: Whisk your egg white (or substitute reconstituted from egg white or meringue powder) in a large bowl until loose and frothy. Add salt and 1 cup of powdered sugar, beating until smooth. Add flavorings, if desired, and last 1/4 cup of sugar — it’s pretty stiff at this point, which is how you want it.

Decorate cookies as shown here: To dip your cookies, scrape half of icing into wide bowl. Add water, 1/4 teaspoon at a time (a little goes a long way) to thin the frosting until it can thinly but mostly opaquely coat a dipped cookie. Skim the top of each cookie in the frosting, using a knife, spatula, or your finger (I won’t tell) to catch any drips before you flip it over. Arrange back on parchment-lined baking sheet to set completely. Once again, I tend to rush this outside.

Scrape the remaining, thicker half of your icing into a sandwich or freezer bag, cut the tiniest nip off the corner of the bag, and pipe designs of your choice on top. If you’re adding sprinkles, do so every 3 to 4 cookies or the icing will begin set and the sprinkles won’t adhere. Let them set until completely solid, anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how thick the piping is.

Store: Iced, set cookies will keep for weeks in an airtight container at room temperature.

Tools: I have this food processor, this stand mixer, and this handmixer, although the latter is not my favorite. I find these two brands of parchment paper to be the most reliable/least sticky but of course haven’t tried them all. I’m using this pastry wheel. I am using these thick rulers to make rolling even slabs of dough really easy, but this is probably better, or you might just prefer rolling pin bands. If you don’t want to use a raw, pasteurized egg white, meringue powder is a wonderful thing. I’m using this pearly sanding sugar to decorate and can’t find dragees as tiny as I have online (think: large poppy seeds) but I’d buy these stars or this mixed sprinkle set in a heartbeat as an alternative. As always, nothing here is sponsored, I just hoped it would be easier to put all the links in one place vs. scattered throughout the comments as people ask.

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