I've been seriously slacking on my dessert game as of late. Apparently granola with chocolate chips is not good enough for RC's post-dinner sweet tooth. Needless to say, it was a big cookie week in our household.
Growing up in a DC suburb, I was exposed to a mélange of culinary delights. With the exception of hunting for tadpoles and mining for gold (aka dirt), my favorite childhood memories were spent in Jewish delis and dim sum restaurants (I'll save the epic story of the chicken feet for a future post).
As a bratty six-year-old, I fondly remember being bribed with rainbow sprinkle cookies from Royal Bagel Bakery & Deli. It was a weekly (sometimes biweekly) treat my siblings and I never tired of. Despite the seemingly endless array of cookies, we only ever had eyes for sprinkles. We were rather basic. My parents, however, with their sophisticated adult palates, diversified. Ever the New Yorker, my mother requested chocolate rugelach frequently enough for me to remember. Alas, as a bratty 6-year-old, I did not care for the rugelach.
Embracing the new millenium, my parents moved us 14 miles south in May 2000. We were closer to school, to friends, to our beloved pool, but no longer were we close enough for weekly Royal Bakery. I'm still recovering.
In the years since, I've tried recreating my rainbow sprinkle cookies to no avail. I'm not sure I'd even recognize them if I managed to succeed. Fancying myself an adult, I thought I'd give the rugelach a try. Thankfully, this was a more fruitful attempt.
Unlike my petulant self 18 years ago, I thoroughly enjoyed these rugelach. Normally thought of as a heavier cookie, the blueberry, basil, and lemon zest lighten and liven this classic deli favorite, making for a lovely summer cookie. I should know; I've eaten several. But hey, I'm still recovering - right?
Blueberry Basil Rugelach
(makes about 3 dozen)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg yolk, room temperature
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 cups blueberry preserves
3 tablespoons basil, chopped
Powdered sugar for rolling out dough
- In a microwave safe bowl, stir the blueberry preserves and chopped basil. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- On slow speed, mix in the egg yolk. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add the flour, salt, cinnamon, and lemon zest and mix until just incorporate.
- Split the dough into three pieces and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2-3 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper if you don't have one.
- Remove the blueberry and basil mixture from the refrigerator. Microwave 30 sec to 1 minutes or until the mixture is thinner and easier to spread. Set aside.
- Generously dust a large, clean surface with powdered sugar.
- Remove one of the three pieces of dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto the dusted surface.
- Working carefully so the dough does not stick, roll out the rugelach dough to 1/8" thickness.
- Spoon a third of the preserves onto the rolled out dough and spread until it is evenly distributed.
- Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 4 pieces. Cut each of the 4 pieces into 4 additional pieces. You should now have 12 triangular pieces of a similar size.
- Remove one triangle from the larger circle at a time. Carefully roll each piece, starting with the widest part (or base) of the triangle.
- Place the rugelach onto the baking sheet and into the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to cool before serving. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Adapted from Jackie's Rugelach posted on Allrecipes.