Our rugelach recipe is based on the on my Grandmother and Mom for the Christmas holiday. We also called Rugelach 'roll-ups' not sure why, maybe it was easier to say. But, Rugelachs are easy to make, and with Eric's recipe for rugelach, you can too. Our family's version of rugelach used the classic nut - sugar mix, but we also used jam or jelly. Its important not to use too much jam or jelly; when you bake the rugelach, some of the jam may seep out and burn you cookie sheet. Not a good thing.
There are some people that say rugelach and croissants are related but after reading this Wikipedia entry, I don't think so. Rugelach is a much older treat and croissants only came about in the 19 century. Nonetheless rugelach are found in a lot of different cultures and in a lot of different countries, especially in Eastern Europe. Take some flour, a little sugar, add some nuts and something sweet, roll it up and bake it and you got this excellent dessert.
Here's my modern take on rugelach I add cream cheese to the pie dough and it works out really well. The dough might be a little wet, so use a little less water. You can always add a little more as you go along. If you find the dough is too wet after comes out of the fridge, you can add a little bit of flour to soak up the moisture.
Eric's Rugelach Recipe
2 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks butter - cold - cut into ½ cubes
3 teaspoons sugar
8 ounces cream cheese - cut into 1 inch blocks
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped walnuts
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
lemon zest - optional
Preheat oven to 350F
In a food processor, pulse the flour and butter together until the flour coats the butter and the mix starts to look like large cornmeal.
Add in the cream cheese and pulse to mix it all together, it should start to form small marbles, and also just some fine powder as well. ( it never looks like it does on the food TV shows, don't worry )
Put the flour mixture into a large bowl, and start to add small amounts of ice water, about 2 tablespoons at a time. Mix the water into the flour until you get a dough that is wet, but dry enough to handle.
Shape the dough into a big disc, wrap in plastic wrap, and put in the freezer for about 10 minutes, or the fridge for 30 minutes. You can also leave the dough in the fridge until the next day if you want.
Mix the walnuts with the brown sugar and cinnamon. You can also add lemon zest to the nut mix.
On a floured counter or plastic wrap, or whatever you like to use for dough, try to shape the dough into a big circle, like a pizza. If it isn't perfect, don't worry, use a pastry scraper to cut out a rough circle, save the extra pieces.
Pour the nut mixture onto the circle of dough
Cut pizza slices into the dough. the outside of the slice should be 1.5 - 2" wide.
Roll up the slices so they look kinda like croissants.
Place on a greased baking sheet, bake at 350F for about 30 min. The crust should be slightly golden, you can bake them more if you like, just don't burn them.