Birthday Rugelach

I came across a recipe for rugelach the other day while browsing Foodgawker (or was it Tastespotting?) It intrigued me because they are these bite-sized yumminess that my hubby always has his eyes on when we're at Costco/BJ's - and without fail, he will tell me every time that he loves rugelach and wants to get a box. I will then give him this look that says, "Babe. Do I not bake enough sweets for you at home already, why do you need rugelach?" OR "Babe. That's a big box of rugelach, how would we eat it all?" And what I'm thinking is that I really need to learn how to bake this pastry-I-don't-even-know-how-to-pronounce-correctly, or my hubby will get a death stare every time we walk down the bakery aisle at BJ's! heh.

I'm always looking for new and challenging recipes to try and it's even better when I have a special occasion to bake for. It's hubby's birthday on Thursday - brilliant timing, Foodgawker! Let's make some birthday rugelach! Hmm...that sounds kinda odd... but we'll go with it.

At first glance, the recipe looks daunting with its multiple parts and multiple steps...but I already had all of the ingredients (except for currants... who ever has currants in their pantry?) so that was a win in itself!  I knew the trickiest part would be making the dough and waiting for it to chill for 2 hours (or up to 1 day)... most times, when I see a recipe that requires chilling dough for hours, I pass over it because I just don't have the patience to wait! That would be one major reason why I don't usually make pies, palmiers, croissants, or anything that uses pie/pastry dough. The other reason is that most times, recipes call for the use of a food processor to make the dough - it saves a lot of time and mess and with a few pulses, you have dough! My food processor is a 2-in-1 blender & processor by Cuisinart. I do not recommend it at all for processing as it makes an obscene amount of noise!

I digress.

Even though this recipe called for making the dough in a processor, I opted for my stand-mixer because I had read recently that it was possible to make dough in a mixer! And what do you know, it worked! Now, the hard part... waiting. During this time, I gathered and mis-en-place'd the rest of my ingredients and prepared my countertop for rolling out dough. I also made a quick pastry cream for which I plan to make mini-chocolate eclairs (another fave of hubby's).

If you try this recipe, definitely wait the 2+ hours for the dough to chill properly (or stick them in the freezer for a good 15 minutes to speed up the process) - it makes the dough much easier to work with and roll out. My first batch was hard to roll up into the little crescent bundles because the dough wasn't cold enough and kept sticking to the counter - 90 degree days don't help either... I eventually got all 16 triangles rolled up but they definitely didn't look as pretty as my second batch (which you see in these photos), which had more time to chill.

These baked up so amazingly yummy... layers of raspberry preserves, cinnamon sugar, pecans, and semi-sweet chocolate all in one bite of crispy, flaky pastry... and the best part? I told hubby to close his eyes while I placed a plate of the warm rugelach in front of him - when he opened his eyes he gasped in awe and exclaimed, "Arugala?!"