Posts Tagged ‘holiday cookies’

Gelt Trip: Brown Butter Toffee Crunch Bars

December 6, 2012

smallchanuaktoffeebars

Toffee bars, but with the toffee and butter flavors amplified. Browning makes the butter flavor more intense and complex, and toffee chips add texture and highlight the caramel flavor of the crust. Using chocolate gelt is a fun holiday touch.

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Three Doughs, Endless Possibilities: Grandma’s Rugelach

December 29, 2011

The above is actually a picture of Hungarian Yeast Rugelach, from a much earlier post. I don’t have a picture of the crescent shaped rugelach my grandmother A”H  favored. I went with roll shaped rugelach this time. If you want to see how the crescent shaped rugelach is made, you can take a look at my earlier post.

My father firmly believes in apricot rugelach, but my notes say that my grandmother used raspberry jam.  She also used to drop blobs of it all over the dough, while I am a jam spreader. Doesn’t matter. This is a classic cream cheese dough recipe for rugelach.

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Three Doughs, Endless Possibilities: Julia G.’s Rugelach

December 29, 2011

I don’t know why, but I usually feel the urge to make rugelach this time of year. Not pareve yeast rugelach, but dairy rugelach, with real butter and cream cheese.

It always seems like a fabulous idea . . . until I am halfway through rolling out, filling and shaping the dough. Then I remember why I only make rugelach once a year. These aren’t simple drop cookies. These are hand crafted miniature pastries. Rugelach are not hard to make, but they are rather labor intensive.

It helps if you are prepared for that aspect and think ahead to make things a little easier. Make the dough a day ahead. Divide the dough up into individually wrapped packets and flatten the dough a bit so you have a head start on rolling out. It is also a little easier to make rugelach logs instead of crescents.

When you serve the rugelach for dessert at a party, all the hard work pays off.  At the end of a heavy meal, what most people want is a little something rich and sweet with coffee, and rugelach hits the spot.

Rugelach making is as much about the shaping as it is about the filling and the dough. I have three different dough recipes, and I play around with different fillings, but I have found that I can get very different effects just by changing from the crescent shape to a log shape or even a larger strudel shape.  You can even make a completely different cookie by using just jam as a filling and shaping the dough like danishes.

Another thing to think about is size. One of my tricks is to make miniature rugelach, but any size is delicious.

I just posted Grandma Rose’s sour cream pastry dough, which is used to make miniature danishes or strudel. Now, I am giving you the cream cheese dough recipe from my brother-in-law’s grandmother. Julia G. A”H was a superior baker, and she was famous for her rugelach (among other specialties).

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Three Doughs, Endless Possibilities: Grandma Rose’s Filled Cookies

December 29, 2011

I realize that most people have baked all the holiday cookies they intend to bake. We have moved from decadent treat baking frenzy to after-holiday fatigue and dieter’s remorse. So, my posts now should all be healthy dishes and not rich pastries.

All the same, I am going to share three (not just one, but three) different pastry doughs.

The first recipe is from my Grandma Rose, A”H. She used to make these cookies that looked little miniature danishes. Imagine crisp, flaky pastry with the rich dairy taste of rugelach, filled with with jewel-like drops of jam.

People go nuts over these cookies. They seem so much plainer than rugelach, without the nuts, chocolate, raisins and cinnamon sugar. But the simple contrast of jam and pastry lets the flavor and texture of the crust shine through. The dough, which is like a pie dough, but with sour cream added instead of ice water, puffs up into light flaky layers like buttery puff pastry when it is baked.

I have no idea where this recipe came from, but I pretty sure it is “old world.” I haven’t seen any recipe that uses a pastry dough that is exactly like this, but I have seen other sour cream doughs, and they are all “from bubbe” recipes.

I won’t lie to you. These are not a snap to make. There is a lot of rolling and cutting and shaping and baking.

When you bake them, they have the frustrating habit of exploding open (the dough really rises). It helps to freeze them before baking and to accept that they might still come apart a little in the oven. Dust them with powdered sugar and it won’t really matter so much.

If you have access to oven-proof jam that will help, too, because regular jam boils over in the oven (like with hamentaschen). Apricot lekvar probably would work perfectly. But, Grandma Rose used regular jam/jelly. I tried a few different flavors of jam (the contrasting colors are pretty) and I think that the better quality jams worked out a little better than the cheaper jams/jelly I used.

One more observation: remember this dough for Purim, since it would be make delicious hamantaschen (although you would really have to pinch to prevent them from exploding open and you would need to use oven-proof filling, like lekvar–supermarket jam would for sure make them explode open).

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Mocha Nut Flower Baskets

November 14, 2010

I’ve been wanting to make these since my friend told me about her mom’s fantastic Ukranian cookies. They are called koshyky, which means basket in Ukrainian, and she makes them every year for the holiday of Sukkot. My friend described them as flower-shaped cookies that are made in cookie molds,  filled with coffee cream and drizzled with chocolate glaze.

Here is the glitch: her mom doesn’t use recipes. So, I searched high and low and posted my request for the recipe, among other places, at Emperor’s Crumbs. Katka, a Emperor’s Crumbs reader, came through with a Slovak recipe for what she called Kremove Kosicky. (more…)