Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Baking with Julia: Rugelach

This recipe was tough. Really tough. Rather than being satisfied and proud with the pile of gooey, crunchy/crumbly cookies I had at the end of it, I was irritated and cranky. What I got as an end result were actually very good, but the steps leading up to that were so frustrating, I really couldn't take much pleasure in the finished product.
Apple/Raisin/Walnut Rugelach 

The dough I made a few days in advance and it was quite simple to put together. Rather than use the prune or apricot butter called for in the recipe (which you can find over at The Urban Hiker or My Baking Heart), I chose to use some homemade apple/pear butter; for the nuts I chose walnuts and for the dried fruit I used dried apples and raisins. Once I was ready to roll, I set out bowls with the all the various filling components and rolled out the dough, which was lovely to work with. Very smooth and pliable, and very forgiving. I then layered on all the fillings as directed and attempted to roll... holy shiksa, what a mess. There was filling and nuts flying everywhere... I had to squish down the filling with one hand while simultaneously trying to roll the dough up over everything with the other, which meant a good amount of the filling oozed out the ends onto the counter. I finally did manage to get the things rolled, but had at least a cup of the filling leftover, which B then spread on a piece of toast as a snack. Sweating and swearing, I tossed them in the fridge on a baking sheet and tried to ignore their presence for a while, but after dinner I trudged back to the kitchen to get them baked.

The baking went relatively smoothly, though the rolls had a hard time staying together once I had cut them and was trying to dredge them in the sugar coating, mainly because there was still too much filling in them. But I wrangled them all into the oven to bake and luckily I didn't follow the times in the recipe... mine were fully cooked after only 20 minutes at 375. My oven runs pretty dead on when it comes to temp and time, but had I swapped them around at 15 minutes and left them for the full 30 as the recipe stated, I'd have ended up with burnt pucks, no doubt. I did get nice caramelization on the bottoms:


though a fair few of them didn't survive the baking, coming completely unrolled and then falling apart as I tried to move them off the baking sheet. Luckily I used parchment paper to line my baking sheets... I dare say a full-on hissy fit would have ensued if I hadn't. Once everything was done and they were all set aside to cool, I turned around to clean up and realized I still had a ton of the topping left. I was definitely _not_ sparing with the topping, I packed as much of it on the damn things as I could, and I still had a full 2 cups of the stuff left at the end. Why does the recipe call for so much?!? It's such a waste; I could have bought half the amount of nuts called for and still had more than enough. I have no idea what to do with the stuff, though I certainly won't throw it out... I sprinkled some on my oatmeal this morning. Maybe I can make a coffee cake or something this week.

So anyway... rugelach done, and will not be done again. While I know now what things I would change in this recipe were I to make them again, I just won't. Despite all the yummy apples and sugar and nuts and cream cheese dough, this recipe left a bad taste in my mouth :P

36 comments:

  1. You are not alone! I had similar problems, and trust me - yours look much nicer than mine. I had some leftover filling on toast this morning, and I like your idea of sprinkling the nut/sugar mixture on oatmeal. I agree that it's frustrating to have so much left over!

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    1. I guess there are worse problems in the world to deal with than wondering what to do with too much sugar and cinnamon, but still ;)

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  2. Yours look a lot nicer than mine too ;)

    I used the leftover Lekvar for a cake filling the next day, so I guess it worked out I had extra.

    I agree, when I finished I felt more relieved than proud. I actually told my husband "never again" about making them, that is until I tasted them. YUMMY!

    I doubt I make them often, but I will remember them just in case I feel like working a lot because they are yummy!

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    1. I have to admit, they've grown on me... i took some to work and everyone liked them, and i've snuck a few with my morning coffee today. Only thing is, the boyfriend is lactose intolerant, so can't really have them, and i can't possibly eat all of these... i think it will be very popular at work this week ;D

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    2. I took them to work as well and they were a big hit (although guys will eat anything). I also stuck some in the freezer. They do freeze well.

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  3. I think they look beautiful, either way. :)

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    1. Well thank you :) The secret ingredient is resentment! ;D

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  4. I think they look great, sorry you had issues with them. I enjoyed making them.

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    1. Eh, it was a learning experience at the very least. Glad to hear you had a good time with them, though! :)

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    1. Well, I had apple butter on hand and I figured it would go well with the walnuts and cinnamon and all :) They were like little apple pie bites.

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  6. I feel your pain. :) These were a tough one! Not a repeater for me, but it was a learning experience for sure.

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  7. I'm sorry you feel that way, at least we learn along the way!

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  8. If you baked these again, I'm sure your first learning experience would help the 2nd time more enjoyable. With all the wonderful ingredients, they must have tasted great.

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    1. They were very tasty and the boyfriend has been trying to convince me they would go more smoothly the second time around. (he just wants me to make more so he can eat them!) I'll give it some time to forget the frustration before I consider giving them another shot ;)

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  9. Yours look great! Rolling was tough, but mine are still baking. Hope I get a few good ones:)

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    1. Crossing my fingers for you! ;) They really are tasty, hope you enjoy them.

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  10. Oh, you weren't alone! It wasn't anything major, just lots of little annoyances. The biggest one, however, was, like you, mine were done in way under 25 minutes, but I didn't catch it in time, so, they were a tad too golden. (I have two standalone thermometers in my oven - the temp was right on. Maybe my rolls were too small, I don't know.) But, at least they didn't taste burnt - mine just aren't picture perfect.

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  11. I thought rolling these was the toughest part.

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  12. I'm taking comfort in the fact that I wasn't the only one having troubles with this one! Though they tasted absolutely heavenly, I don't think I could bring myself to give them another shot.

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  13. I used my leftover nuts and fruit in our morning oatmeal too. We loved it so much I'm going to dice more fruit and toasted nuts to keep on hand. I think several people had rolling/filling issues.

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  14. Oh, no. Sorry you got cranky! YOur rugelach look tasty though.

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  15. Oh, what great writing! I am so sorry that the cookies didn't give you much pleasure, but I enjoyed reading your account of making them. And I love that you said 'hissy fit'. I say that all the time and people look at me weird. I think your cookies look great! I do think the directions could have been clearer and I had to make some adjustments after my first batch.

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    1. Hissy fit is such a good word (phrase?)! People don't use it nearly often enough ;)

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  16. I totally hear you. Cookie making makes me grumpy in general. If I have to make them, it had better be bars or drop cookies :-)
    They look tasty though...

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  17. Gosh we're exactly the same! I ended up totally cranky after I made these....like all of my efforts were for nought. Yours look absolutely delicious though!

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    1. I always try and take something away from my kitchen mishaps, but it's still such a let down when you spend time and effort (and money) on something to have it not come out how you hoped :/ But, we've got the 'easy' recipe coming up next, so here's hoping that one comes out better!

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  18. Mine stuck to the pan like that, too. And the bottoms looked like that. They look beautiful in that first picture, though!!

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  19. I got really frustrated with these as well, although your rugelach came out a lot nicer than mine did! lol. I didn't even photograph my first attempt, I made a second batch with Nutella filling that came out a lot better :)

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    1. Oooooh... nutella. That's a freakin' brilliant idea!

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  20. Omgosh,I feel like your experience was the exact same as mine! I was so crabby by the end of the recipe, I declared that these weren't even that good. Fortunately I had another one the following day [after some sleep :)] and I thought they were quite outstanding. I agree they are a lot of work though! Glad to be bake with you :)

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    1. Exactly! I grudgingly admitted as the week wore on that they were pretty darn good after all... partly because pastry, apples and sugar can't help but be good, and partly because i had slowly begun to forget what a pain they were to make ;D

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  21. Wow, that sounds like quite an adventure. They sure do look good, though.

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  22. Awww, sorry you had such a tough time. I think your picture is lovely and I am going to show it off in my blog post for Saturday and link it back to you! Blessings! Catherine at www.praycookblog.com

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    1. Well thank you :) It looks like yours came out wonderfully! Nice job.

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