Oh, hello Dean & Deluca, NYC purveyor of fine wines and gourmet goods, home of the $45 jar of jam. Remember me? I’m the one who ordered that $40 bottle of Turley for my bro-in-law. (In Chicago. Not Kurdistan.) But in the sketchiest of back-alley double-dealings, you told me that you were unable to quote me shipping costs, and I would be notified via e-mail in short order. (Or by a horse head in my bed, whichever came first.)
I was notified all right. The shipping cost, for delivery within 4-5 business days, was (drum roll) $30. So I called them to say, evidently you’ve confused me with someone who wanted it packed in DIAMONDS. I’d like the regular person price, please. I was told they’d make an exception for me: $24.95, 7-9 business days.
So I paid the $30 and hoped at least it was delivered by a hooker or an offical D&D Dwarf or SOMETHING. But my resentment lingers. And revenge is sweet. So do NOT buy rugelach from these people!
Instead, make your own. These delicious, buttery and beautiful bikkies were a Chicago Tribune Cookie Contest winner, spotted by none other than the original Mother Drucker herself. (My mom, Betty.) The dough is ridiculous. Two sticks of butter, 8 oz. cream cheese. As my wonderful pal Virginia would say, “What could be bad?”
Sour cherries provide just enough tang to counterbalance the sweet, cinnamon goodness of the filling and the richness of the pastry. Go! Make them! And if a hooker shows up at your door with a diamond-encrusted bottle of wine, happy holidays from Mother Drucker!
Sour Cherry Rugelach
Prep time: 30 min
Cooking time: 20 min
Chilling time: 1hr.
Yield: 64 cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 pkg. (8 oz) light cream cheese, at room temperature (Philadelphia brand best)
½ cup sugar
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
1 pkg. (3.5 oz) dried sour cherries, or 2/3 cup finely chopped
2/3 cup toasted walnuts, finely chopped
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg, beaten
For dough, beat butter and cream cheese in large bowl of electric mixer until light.
Add sugar; beat until fluffy. Mix in flour and salt. Gather dough into a ball; knead gently until smooth and flour is incorporated.
Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Flatten into disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 1 hour.
For filling, mix sugar, cherries, walnuts, melted butter, cinnamon, allspice and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Unwrap dough disks and roll into 8-inch rounds on lightly floured surface. Spread 3 tablespoons of filling onto center of dough, leaving about a half-inch border. Using pizza cutter or other straight blade, cut circle into 8 wedges.
Starting at wide end of each wedge, roll up each cookie tightly. Place tip side down on ungreased cookie sheets; bend into crescents. Repeat with remaining dough disks.
Brush each crescent with beaten egg; sprinkle with sugar. Bake 20 minutes or until rugelach are golden brown. Cool on wire racks.
Note: Nuts and cherries are easily chopped, separately, in a food processor: To keep cherries from sticking to blade, chop with about 1 tablespoon of the sugar.