Karen Lampcov grew up with two amazing grandmothers, one from Europe and one who was born in the United States, who were great chefs. The cooking tradition was passed down from these matriarchs, and one of the enduring recipes in the Lampcov family is their favourite cookie: rugalach.
These particular cookies which are made with cream cheese, are a staple on many dessert tables. They are eaten year-round, but especially during Chanukkah when it is traditional to eat dairy. Eating dairy commemorates the story of Judith saving the town of Bethulia from the General Holofernes who had laid siege to it. One night, admiring Judith’s beauty, Holofernes invited her to his tent. Judith took this opportunity to carry out her plan to kill the general. She fed him salty cheese, which caused him to become thirsty and drink copious amounts of wine. He then fell asleep in a drunken stupor, at which point Judith used his sword to cut off his head.
Enjoy rugelach with coffee or tea, and the assurance that women can and will save the world.
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 ¾ cups unbleached white flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 8 tbsp jam
Cream butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt. Knead the dough lightly until well mixed. Wrap the dough in waxed paper or plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours.
Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the filling in a small bowl.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
When the dough has chilled for 2 hours and you’re ready to bake the rugelach, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Work with one piece at a time and keep the rest refrigerated.
Roll each piece of dough into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick. Spread 1 tablespoon of jam on the dough and sprinkle ⅛ of the cinnamon sugar and walnuts.
From the long side, roll the dough into a log making sure the seam is on the bottom. Brush the log with milk and slice almost to the bottom into 8 equal pieces, but leaving the pieces attached.
Repeat for all 8 pieces.
Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Once the cookies have cooled a bit, you can cut them apart fully and serve.