Sour cherry rugelach
Submitted by Leah Koch of Los Angeles
"In 2005, my mother died of ovarian cancer the day after Christmas. We stumbled around in a fog for a few months, but before we knew it, it was the holidays again. This time, it was my father and me trying to fill the shoes my mother had left. While we bake these sour cherry rugelach, I am reminded of how much I miss my mom, but I'm also reminded of my dad's incredible courage and devotion to his kids. The taste of sour cherry and buttery crust means that it's December again and we've made it through another year, together."
Total time: 1 ½ hours, plus chilling time
Servings: About 5 dozen cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 (8-ounce) package light cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups flour
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese until combined. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Beat in the salt, then slowly beat in the flour until thoroughly combined to form the dough.
2. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Flatten the pieces into disks and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well-chilled, at least 1 hour.
Filling and assembly
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
1 (3 ½-ounce) package dried sour cherries, finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
2/3 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 egg, beaten
Coarse sanding sugar, for garnishing
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, chopped cherries, walnuts, butter, cinnamon and allspice to make the filling.
2. Unwrap one of the dough disks onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into an 8-inch square. Spread one-eighth of the filling (about one-fourth cup) onto the center of the dough with the back of a spoon, leaving about a one-half inch border on the top and bottom of the dough.
3. Starting at the top, carefully roll the square into a tight roll like a jelly roll. Using a sharp knife, slice the roll crosswise into three-fourths inch pieces, discarding the ends.
4. Place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and repeat with the remaining dough disks. Brush each cookie with beaten egg, then sprinkle with the sanding sugar.
5. Bake until rugelach are golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Each of 5 dozen cookies: 101 calories; 1 gram protein; 10 grams carbohydrates; 0 fiber; 6 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 18 mg cholesterol; 5 grams sugar; 58 mg sodium.