Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The treat may have taken awhile to complete, but at least dinner was done in a snap!

Oh yes... more baking for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day was done in the kitchen today. Although, it was hard to want to be inside this morning as it was such a gorgeous day outside - sunny, mid 70's and a light breeze blowing! I opened up all the windows and let the fresh spring air flow through the kitchen and made sure to take a minute to enjoy it before the humidity and heat kicks in.

I love to bake (as if you didn't know already) but I've never made this type of recipe before and quite frankly, I've never had an opportunity to try one and see what they taste like. So, I have nothing to compare these Chocolate Chip Rugelach to - but now that I've tried one (okay... way more than one) I can't wait to see what other variations of this recipe are out there to see how they stack up. You know, quality control and all (wink wink)!

These rolled cookies are basically a rich cream cheese-based dough filled with a delicious combination of apricot jelly, toasted walnut, a pinch of cinnamon and a mess of sweet mini chocolate chips. The dough is fairly soft, so it does need at least a good hour or two in the refrigerator before you begin to roll it out - plan accordingly if you want to give this recipe a try.

Because the dough has fair amount of butter and cream cheese, I placed a bag of ice cubes on the granite counter top for about 20 minutes before I began rolling it out - I thought this really helped the dough stay firm and not get too soft. After I spread the melted jelly on top of the dough, I also placed a small round cap (maybe 2" across) in the center and then scattered the filling over the dough. I did this so when I began to roll up the crescent-shaped pieces, the tail at the end would have just a bit of jelly on it giving it some sticking power. Before the cookies went into the oven, they were given a bath with a beaten egg and a shower of raw sugar. The cookies are very tender and somewhat moist on the inside, while the golden crust has a contrasting crunch from the sparkling raw sugar. The walnuts bring a wondrous nutty flavor that helped keep the chocolate from being the dominant flavor. If you're not keen on all of those chocolate chips, you could take away half and pair 'em with some small currants instead.

We had another "in a snap" type of dinner tonight with this recipe for Sesame Noodles with Broccoli. After just a few minutes of chopping and flexing of those whisking muscles, this colorful dinner was ready to be plated and enjoyed. The sesame in the title comes into play with three ingredients - it is worked into the dressing with tahini paste and toasted sesame oil; it is also used in the noodles with toasted sesame seeds. The dressing is a bit sweet from honey but is balanced by the tangy rice wine vinegar and salty soy sauce. Even though the garlic is raw in the dressing, it didn't keep that harsh bite it can have and melded right into the dish. To save on time and pots to clean, the fresh broccoli and carrots are added right into the same pot that is cooking the whole wheat noodles. The veggies are added in when there is about 2 minutes left so they have just enough time to remove their raw edge, but still stay bright and crisp-tender. The sauce and noodles are tossed with sliced green onions, fresh cilantro and a smattering of the toasted sesame seeds for a nutty crunch. If you wanted, you could even add some sliced chicken breast or grilled marinated tofu to stretch this light dish or make it a little more filling - I'm betting this will be even better cold for lunch tomorrow!


  1. Joe,

    Your rugelach are beautiful. I don't make ANY recipes that require a rolling pin, so I'm a bit envious of your ability to make something so impressive (and delicous).

  2. Drool!! You're bad for my hips Joe!!

  3. I've always wanted to try rugelach too, guess I'll have to make them as well! Yours looks delish.

  4. Mindy - I used to fear the pin too... but the more you use it the easier it is to work with!

    Loulee - hee hee! I try...

    Kelly-jane - Same here, I am glad I finally got around to trying it!

  5. I'll have to try this. I've found that whole wheat spaghetti is very unsatisfying as...spaghetti. But in Asian dishes, the nutty/grainy elements work very well.

    Similarly, the whole wheat egg noodles are fabulous with something really hearty like a stroganoff.

  6. Your rugelachs (is this word correct?) look so beautiful, Joe! Not to mention yummy. :)

  7. Brenda - We are pretty fond of whole wheat spaghetti, but I know what you mean. It took a bit to get used to it!

    Patricia - Thanks!

  8. Joe, these are so good! I'm nibbling on one now. I made these last year before Christmas. I think the dough chilled an hour or two, and was a little difficult to work with. This time I let it chill overnight, and they were much easier to roll and assemble. Thanks for a great recipe! I think this year I'll give some as gifts at Christmas time.

  9. Luana - Fantastic! Thanks for the feedback.