Rose Cookies for Princess Leia

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I made Darth Vader hamantaschen, so I thought I would also make cookies that referenced Princess Leia. Actually, these cookies just allude to her famous cinnamon bun hairdo.

You don’t have to flavor these with cinnamon and raisin (although they are delicious that way, too). Basically, this is a rich sour cream rugelach-type pastry dough that is rolled up with meringue. The meringue can be vanilla or chocolate. Optional add ins include raisins, nuts and chopped chocolate.

The inspiration for these cookies was a cryptic e-mail from my sister. She sent a picture of these cookies with no description or comment. When prompted for an explanation, she offered only this: (1) Levana made them; (2) they are filled with meringue mixed with chocolate pudding mix; (3) they are called “foam cookies” in Israel; and (4) a recipe would eventually be forthcoming.

I wasn’t holding my breath waiting for the recipe because it is my understanding that Levana is a “little bit of this and that” and “throw it in a bowl”  kind of cook (“shitarayn”, in Yiddish). So, I did a little bit of research and found that even though Levana calls these Foam Cookies (“Oogiyot Ketzef” in Hebrew?), they are also known as Rose Cookies. In Israel, that would be “Oogiyot Shoshanim.” The recipe comes originally from Eastern Europe and they are also known as Russian Rose Cookies (also see this) or Ukrainian Rose Cookies (Pechivo Troyandiy). I even found a version called Finnish Cookies (Финские Булочки).

(Brief digression: I think that yeast dough versions of this cookie, basically individually baked cinnamon buns or schnecken, are also called shoshanim or roses. Take a look for example at Zucker Bakery’s Chocolate Roses or Tatte Bakery’s Halvah Roses).

I went with the recipe from Pretty Baking in Israel, because that recipe had a filling that called for pudding mix. I didn’t like that filling so much (the problem, admittedly, might have been my KFP pudding mix), so I made the recipe again with a different filling. I also changed the dough a little bit, increasing the sugar to the amount suggested in a very similar recipe on Tastebook for Savta Tova’s Cookies.

Shoshanim (Rose Cookies)
Adapted from Pretty Baking in Israel and Tastebook (the dough). I made up my own filling. You could use any dairy rugelach dough you like instead of the following dough. I haven’t tried this yet, but I suspect that this could be made pareve by using puff pastry dough.
Dough:
3 1/2 cups flour (15.75 ounces, 450 g.)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
14 Tbl. butter (7 ounces, 200 g.)
1 cup sour cream
3 egg yolks
3 Tbl. sugar

Filling:
3 egg whites
pinch salt (optional, helps make meringue better)
1/2 tsp. vinegar (optional, helps make meringue stronger)
1/2 cup sugar (3.75 ounces)
1 Tbl. vanilla
1 1/2 Tbl. cocoa, plus 4 Tbl. powdered sugar (optional, for chocolate flavored meringue)
2 ounces chocolate, finely chopped (optional)

To make the dough, cream the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the yolks. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture and stir just until well combined. Refrigerate the dough while you make the filling and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the filling, start whipping the egg whites in a mixing bowl on slow speed. Add the vinegar and salt if using. When the mixture is foamy and looks like snow, increase the speed to medium and add the sugar very slowly. When the sugar is all added and the meringue is very stiff, mix in the vanilla and beat on high speed for another couple of minutes. If you want chocolate meringue, combine the cocoa and powdered sugar in a small bowl and then gently fold the mixture into the egg whites. The egg whites will deflate just a bit. Set the filling aside while you roll out the dough.

Divide the dough into three pieces (each piece will be about 11 ounces). Roll out the dough on a well floured surface into a rectangle that is about 8″x16″.

Spread 1/3 of the meringue filling over the dough. Sprinkle over the chopped chocolate, if desired. Roll up the dough to make a roll that is is about 16″ long and about 2″ in diameter.

Slice the roll into 14-16 slices, each about 3/4″-1″ thick. You will need a very sharp knife and a gentle sawing motion to neatly cut the roll. Place each slice, cut side up, on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or non-stick foil.

Bake the slices at 350 degrees for 12-17 minutes, or until lightly golden. If you oven runs very cool, you might need to bake for longer.

Variations: you could also make a filling with pudding mix (either chocolate or vanilla) by whipping the whites with 1/4 cup sugar until stiff and then folding in the package of pudding mix. You can sprinkle nuts, raisins or chocolate chips over the filling before rolling up the dough. If you want a cinnamon flavor, sprinkle a little cinnamon over the filling before rolling up the dough.

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

Update: I now have the link to Levana’s recipe. It is this recipe, which is similar to the above recipe, except that it uses 4 yolks in the dough and 4 whites for the filling.

Bonus: Tatte Bakery sells these–here is a link to a photo of what they look like.

Another bonus: when researching the word ketzef, foam, I found this interesting article about the word ketzef, its use to refer to a certain kind of anger, and the relevance to Purim.

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