03 March 2011

Something Like Rugelach

I found myself flipping through a bread book, as usual, deciding what to bake and bring in to work. I've done a lot of bakery-style bread recently, and wanted some a little less healthy. Scratch that, a lot less healthy. Full on dessert. I saw a beautiful picture of bread - babka it would be! Then I read the recipe. Egg yolks? Egg white wash? 3-4 hours of proofing/shaping/baking/cooling with fridge time? Blech. But, hey, I like that it was covered in chocolate. I can take that and run with it.
I decided to take the general idea of melting a bunch of chocolate and butter, covering dough in it, then rolling it up and shaping it. For dough I took a much simpler dessert dough - cinnamon roll dough. With none of the annoying rising, really. I prepped it, left it in the fridge for two nights, and gave it maybe an hour in the morning to rise (covered in warm chocolate for part of the time, which I'm sure helped).
The flavor/texture was most similar to rugleach (think of something like a chocolate strudel). Now, rugelach has a special place in my stomach. The best I've ever had was in Israel, purchased at a shuk in Jerusalem for practically nothing - I believe we got enough rugelach to make 3 people feel somewhat sick for ~5 shekels (around a dollar at the time). There is a delicate balance between making a soft-but-crispy dough, filling it with a mixture that is both crunchy and sweet, and covering it in a good streusel. Wikipedia says the secret is cream cheese, but I doubt that because I didn't use any and mine came out great. I've eaten attempts at it in Chicago (the filling was too dry), Vancouver (pretty good actually), and Mountain View (overall too dry), but never anything as good as the fresh stuff from the market.

Now, however, I've made something close. I don't have a recipe, but you won't need one of you want to make these. Take your favorite cinnamon roll dough (or all-purpose sweet dough, as you may see it called) recipe and make a batch of it. Roll it out flat. Melt a mixture of 6 parts bittersweet chocolate chips to 1 part butter in a double boiler, and season it with some cinnamon (so that it tastes cinnamon-y). Let it cool slightly, then spread it with a spatula over the rolled-out dough.
You can improvise here, but I opted for not making a crunchy filling. If you want one, add some walnuts or poppy seeds. You can then also shape or property, or do what I did: cut the rolled out dough in half, lengthwise. Roll up each half in a spiral, then gently rock it back and forth to thin it. Then, cut each rolled up log in half, lengthwise, again. You can either chop off bits of these logs and bake them as-is, or take two equal lengths and spiral them (using a bit of water to get them to stick). The normal ones stuck together way better, but I think given a little bit more water (or egg I guess) and skinnier halves, the spiral could have looked nice post-baking.
Before baking, brush the tops with a bit of either water, oil, milk, or egg wash. Basically, anything to get streusel to stick. And then, obviously, top it with streusel. I make up the ratios every time I've made streusel, putting in a bit of butter and flour and mixing till it is kinda chunky, then adding brown sugar and mixing some more. I baked at 350 for 20 minutes - I let them get a tinge of brown, gave em 2 more minutes, then pulled them.

1 comment:

  1. I've been playing around with rugelach too, and this has been my favorite dough (earth balance for the margarine): http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Cottage-Cheese-Rugelach-with-Walnuts-1575

    It's not as springy as I remember the Jerusalem rugelach being, but it's a lot closer than cream cheese doughs I've tried. Maybe next time I'll try adding a bit more flour and an egg to try to converge our doughs!