This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe challenged us to make one of my favorite cookies: rugelach! Well-made rugelach have a great combination of textures, from the fluffy dough to crispy sugar and nuts and the sticky apricot jam oozing from the rolled up cookie. This cookie of Jewish origin is not only one of my most beloved, but it also brings back memories of childhood holidays with the Polish side of my family. Is there any better way to finish off a traditional white Christmas Eve dinner (all the food is white, more or less, from mushroom soup to pierogies to fish) than with this amazing fruited cookie? I don't think so!
So when I heard that this week's TWD challenge was to make Dorie Greenspan's rugelach recipe from her Baking: From My Home to Yours, I was thrilled. Then I saw the photo in the cookbook and started feeling a little nervous. Dorie's rugelach didn't look much like the ones I know and love. Reading the recipe, I saw that it called for chocolate, something I've never had in a rugelach cookie before. Still, I was game and decided to give it a shot.
I only changed a few things in the recipe due to what I already had in my fridge and pantry. I used a lower fat yogurt-based spread instead of butter, fat-free cream cheese instead of regular, egg substitute, and dried cranberries instead of currants. I used almonds as my nut of choice, and apricot for my jam.
The result? Well . . . they taste pretty good. Not as delicious as my childhood rugelach, unfortunately. But definitely not bad at all. The chocolate-apricot combination was interesting, and delightful still warm from the oven.
No, the problem was not in the taste of this cookies. Instead, it was in the baking technique, for lack of a better description. Dorie's recipe called for two baking pans lined with parchment paper. I didn't have any parchment paper -- indeed, I don't really know what exactly it is since I've never used it -- so I lined my pans with waxed paper. Ungreased waxed paper. I'm sure you can guess what happened. My cookies baked, and then burned, to the waxed paper. The cookies themselves turned out fine, aside from the fact that they either are missing a bottom half, or have crispy tatters of waxed paper stuck to their undersides.
It's sad, really, since otherwise this was a successful recipe! Still, I suppose that's what my participation in Tuesdays with Dorie is all about -- learning how to bake. And, as I tell my own elementary school students, making mistakes is part of that learning process. I'll enjoy my mutilated rugelach and hope for a better baking adventure next week!