Lox. Matzo balls. Chicken soup. Challah. Bagels. Latkes. Babka. Gefilte fish. Rugelach. What do all of these foods have in common? Well, as my Uncle Jody would put it, they're all "Jew food." Now, before anyone gets up in arms, Jody is Jewish. He likes his Jew food. In fact, he's pretty darned stereotypical for a Jew: Lives in New Jersey, works in the city (NYC), and is a second generation stockbroker. He also has a nose like a hawk and, as I mentioned before, he likes his Jew food. We'll just ignore that whole non-kosher thing - he's not Orthodox by any means.
And really, who can blame him? Well, except for things like gefilte fish. With baked goodies like rugelach lying around, why ever would you want cake? A not-too-sweet cream cheese dough wrapped around the traditional filling of apricot preserves, cinnamon, sugar, and nuts. Here's the thing though - Dorie didn't exactly go for the traditional filling. Oh no, she took all of the traditional filling components and added chocolate to them. Umm... really? Chocolate, cinnamon, sugar, apricot, and nuts?!? Yeah, we'll see how this goes...
Luckily, I had gotten over much of my skepticism a few months back, minus the basic dough that she used. I used the dough from KAF's Cookie Companion instead, but was pleasantly surprised by the end result of all of those ingredients in the filling. Because the cookie part has minimal to zero sugar depending on the recipe you bake from, the filling has to pack a serious punch. And Dorie's, with the multitude of things that she stuffs into them, definitely pack a punch. Lots of flavor, and all the flavors (surprisingly!) go together fabulously.
So this time, I decided to try different filling combinations. Some were slightly more traditional, and others more in Dorie's line. I halved the dough recipe and made 16 cookies, 4 each of 4 different fillings:
Apricot jam, dried currants, and pecans
Apricot jam, dried currants, pecans, and mini chocolate chips
Raspberry jam, dried tart cherries, and pistachios
Raspberry jam, dried tart cherries, pistachios, and mini chocolate chips
And you know what? They were all fabulous. The raspberry/cherry/pistachio ones were tarter while the apricot jam/currant/pecan variation was sweeter. The chocolate chips gave chocoholics a reason to like rugelach, while the chip-less versions were good for the traditionalists. And me? Well, I liked all of them, but you probably guessed that already.
Thanks go to Piggy of Piggy's Cooking Journal for getting us to go outside of the rugelach box!
Last Week: Halloween Cupcake Bites
Next Week: Kugelhopf