Say “rug-a-lick” really fast
Hannah and I stare down at our crispy dough-and-fruit salad. It looks like they burst themselves in two, clearly mocking our efforts to contain them. They defy the roll. Rugelach does not care, does not care to be presentable, at least not in our kitchen. (oh, Honey Badger)
After our lamenting, “these are a disaster, a sticky mess,” Hannah offers me one. It’s actually not that bad. The cream cheese and butter in the dough is a nice surprise finish to the gently tangy fruit. They would be good, no, great!, with coffee. And we should probably consume them at home to avoid the inevitable, “what the heck is all over your fingers?” while rolling into work.
Our rugelach journey began smoothly: dough and mixer were behaving, we fluffed the cream cheese and butter until it appeared “light,” whether in color or texture (or both), we weren’t sure. We spent time paring the dried apricot and apple slices into quarters, tossing them with toasted almonds and dried cherries, patting them down onto a bed of apricot preserves and cinnamon-sugar. This may have been the silent killer of our rugelach: nowhere was “lekvar” at the local Fred Meyer, so I improvised by trying to squeeze out some jelly juice from the preserves. Hannah looked at me… patiently, that’s the right word. No one was surprised when the preserves preserved its liquid. Next time we will try to make the lekvar from scratch, or petition outside the store for more diverse offerings. Fred, if you’re listening, we’re a cultured crowd, yearning to expand our jelly horizons.
Rolling the rugelach took skill and more patience, a perfect task for Hannah. In the fridge they went, and after a long 4-hour wait, we smothered them in egg wash and sliced them into cute spirals. A last minute, “oops,” revealed we almost forgot the cinnamon-nut-sugar dusting. I was also on the phone during this last phase, a dangerous combo whether you are baking, driving, or even walking through the grocery store (why is jelly not with the canned fruit?).
At approximately 32 minutes, with two baking sheets to insulate the fragile rugelach bottoms, we almost didn’t want to pull them out of the oven. Maybe they had too much time to bond in there, form a pact to never yield to separate states, unity or bust! Or maybe we put too many on the tray. At any rate, this baking challenge ended in sticky defeat. Sticky, sweet defeat, and acceptance that looks are not everything. What a nice lesson to remember, kids.
They are, however, marvelous with coffee.