Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Rugelach That Won France Over

I have a 5 year old son and while we have never had the food battles that some of my friends have had with their children he definitely has his food preference. He would rather eat a bowl of egg noodles with butter than chow on a plate of calamari. He would eat grill cheese almost any night of the week but will pass on anything that dares to have spinach near it. He has a handful of vegetables that he likes to eat, with celery not being on that list. But I do not worry because I know that when he grows up that will all change. After my Mom tells me that when she was younger she lived on a steady supply of grilled cheese and applesauce but today she happy to eat Indian curry or something from a Thai restaurant (although there is a place deep within her heart that is reserved for loving grilled cheese).

I am the same way. I grew up and so did the list of "favorite foods" but while I do not remember the first time tikka masala, green curry or calamari I do remember the first time I tried rugelach. I wish I could say that it was on a trip through Eastern Europe but it was fact the first time I tried rugelach was at Starbucks in Northern Virginia (which is NOTHING like Eastern Europe).

I was 19 years old and working as a barista at our local Starbucks. This was about 25 years ago and Starbucks were still a novelty and being a barista there gave me instant cool status (or at least I thought it did). It seemed that to be a barista you had to be worldly, aloof, and writing a screen play...or at least critiquing movies as were writing a screenwriter. We really did think that we were badass. We spent our day making tiny cups of coffee (this was when grande was as big as it got and there was actually a size coffee smaller than a tall) and discussing novels. We were living our own version of the movie Reality Bites.

And it was in this world that I met rugelach for the first time. It was the perfect cookie for a pretentious barista. It was not a mere sugar cookie, it was not your childhood chocolate chip. It was exotic...unique...European! It was also love at first bite so I was excited that we were baking it this month.

I liked the fact that the dough was made it the food processor...because every time I it I feel as if I am justifying buying it! And it was also super easy to pulse it up.

Once it the dough is at the "curd" stage you smoosh it into a ball and put it in the fridge. 

The filling called for chocolate, dried cherries, pecans and coconut but I omitted the coconut since it ranks up there celery on the list of things my little guy does not like to eat.

And yes that is a measuring tape. What can I say my OCD heart likes to make sure that if a recipe calls for a 12x12 square that then I make a 12x12 square...and I cut exactly 1 inch slices. I try not to fight my OCD makes the voices in my head that much louder.

 These little bites of flaky, chocolatey, buttery goodness are delicious. I want to take one of these and go back in time...walk into that Starbucks....go behind the counter and stick it in my younger-self's mouth. She would love it.

The small print:
The Rugelach That Won Over France on p. 301