These tasty cookies are another version of rugelach, the traditional Eastern-European-Jewish rolled cookies, that combine flaky dough with dried fruits and nuts filling.
In this version, I ended up using only half of the amount of butter that most recipes call for, and the result was just as good, if not better. I also substituted half the amount of flour with fine semolina, which gave the dough a lovely, crumblier texture.
As for the filling, I decided to make the cookies less sweet than usual, so I used dried fruits and only a bit of jam to sweeten it. To add more interesting flavor, I used three types of nuts instead of just one, and added a bit of desiccated coconut as well. The cookies turned out so tasty, I’m sure you’ll enjoy them too, once you’ll try them. They also make a great edible gift, that is perfect for the holiday season.
* Note that the baking temperature is lower than what most recipes call for, and that baking time is longer than with most cookies. This way of baking ensures the cookies are baked from inside as well.
* If you prefer sweeter cookies, you can sprinkle sugar over the filling, before rolling, according to your taste. Just remember that the cookies will also be sprinkled with powdered sugar at the end of the process.
* American Neufchâtel cheese is different from the European one. It doesn’t have washed rind and is basically a type of cream cheese with lower (30%) fat and a bit more tangy flavor. It can be found in most supermarkets.
* The dough and filling can be made a few days in advance and assembled just before baking.
* The baked cookies can keep for up to two weeks, but the dough will get less crumbly with time.
* The dough can be frozen for up to a month, in a freezer bag.
* Another version of these cookies, with different dough and fillings, can be found HERE.
Makes: about 40
Prep time: 20 minutes
Chilling time: 1 hour
Baking time: 40 minutes
For the dough:
1 stick (115 grams) butter, soft
8 oz (227 grams) Neufchâtel cheese , soft (see notes)
¼ cup sugar
1 cup semolina
1 cup flour
¼ tsp salt
For the filling:
½ cup pitted dates
½ cup dried apricots
½ cup boiling water
¾cup assorted nuts (I used walnuts, pistachios and pecans)
½ cup smooth jam (I used plum)
1 Tbs cinnamon
3 Tbs unsweetened desiccated coconut
½ cup powdered sugar
1. The dough: mix all the ingredients in a large bowl and knead briefly, to playable dough. Wrap with wax paper and keep in the fridge for an hour.
2. The filling: place the dates and apricots in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over. Let sit for 10-15 minutes. Drain and process in a small food process to a smooth paste. Process the nuts coarsely in a food processor.
3. To bake: preheat the oven to 340 (170C). Line a cookie sheet pan with baking paper. Take the dough out of the fridge and unwrap it 10 minutes before rolling.
4. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each part on a lightly floured work place, into about 12” (30 cm) x 6.3” (16 cm) rectangle. Spread with a thin layer of jam, avoiding the edges, and then with the dried fruit paste. Sprinkle the nuts, coconut and cinnamon, and roll from the longer end. Pinch the dough edges together and place in the pan, seared side down. Using a plastic dough scraper, or a dull knife, cut the roulades, not all the way through, to about 0.6” (1.5 cm) thick sections.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Take out of the oven and cut all the way through, separating the cookies. Place back in the oven for and bake for 10 minutes longer, until the cookies are golden-brown. Let cool completely before dusting with powdered sugar.