Every year, for nearly 30 years, my very good friend and I have a candy making, cookie baking marathon for the holidays. We used to do it over a three day weekend. Now that she recently joined the ranks of the retired we held our marathon over an entire week and we were able to go to lunch a couple times and even got a little shopping in. The real significance of our candy making, cookie baking bonanza is not just that we make the most beautiful, awesome tasting, melt in your mouth sweet treats. It’s really about two good friends in sync with one another in the kitchen. Over the years we have fallen into a comfortable routine. I make most all of the cookie shapes (balls, sticks, knots, cookie press) and my friend does the messy stuff (dipping in chocolate, rolling in nuts, powdered sugaring). We both make dough. We both do cleanup. Not everyone can work well with another person in the kitchen. And our ability to do that makes our Christmas goodies just a little more special.
We have cookie recipes that we have made forever. And every so often we experiment with a new recipe. A few years ago we started making the Rugelach and it has become one of our favorites.
1 cup butter at room temperature
1 8-oz package cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups of flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 T cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
(We make a double batch. Actually we make two double batches.)
In a stand mixer cream butter and cream cheese together. Combine the flour and salt and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Divide dough into fourths and roll into balls.
Wrap each ball in wax paper and refrigerate for one hour or more for easy handling.
Preheat oven to 350.
After dough has chilled roll out into approximately a 12 inch circle. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Brush each circle with the melted butter. Sprinkle with 3 T cinnamon sugar and then with 2 T chopped pecans. Cut each circle into 12 wedges.
(The dough circle pictured was small and was only cut into 8 wedges.)
Roll up wedges beginning with the wide end. Place pointed side down on ungreased baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart. Curve ends to form a crescent.
Bake for 24-26 minutes or until golden brown. Seems like a long time for cookies but they need to bake that long. Remove to wire racks to cool.
One of the secrets to really good baked goods is really good ingredients. Always use real butter, fresh, quality spices and chocolates.
Maybe one day our beautiful and amazing daughters will take over for us and we can wait anxiously to receive our cookie trays. That will be a happy day.