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When I was home in NY in December my mom made Rugelach. I am not a big fan of cookies but this is one of my favorites and I can’t get enough of them when my mom makes them around Christmas time! Lucky for me, when I go home for the holidays I am treated to lots of delicious homemade cakes, pies and cookies. My mom buys her flour and oats by the “ton” from the Amish living in our area, pounds of organic chocolate, nuts and dried fruit from a nearby health-food store and locally laid, free range eggs roll into her home every day by the dozen, you see, my mom runs a private baking and catering business out of her home. She has two separate kitchens in her house, one for the family and one for her business.  My mom makes and sells her cheesecakes, pies, crisps, cobblers, muffins and delicious breads but mostly she is well known for her amazing cookies.  These large 4 inch cookies that she sells mostly by word of mouth but also from local shops, her yoga studio (yes, she is also a full time yoga teacher!) and in and around our town and surrounding areas are a delicious and healthy treat that is perhaps a meal in itself. They are loaded with oats, nuts and ground flax seed and either dried fruit (my favorite are dried cranberries) or chocolate and if you are feeling particularly decadent there’s also peanut butter chocolate chip and double chocolate. My mom’s cookies are famous in the Leatherstocking region of upstate NY where I grew up, for all those who have tried them and for everyone in our family and even for me, who pretty much dislikes all cookies, my mom’s cookies will win you over every time and keep you coming back for more! Since the recipe for these cookies is a well kept secret (and yes, I know it!) I will share the Rugelach recipe with youthat is by far the best Rugelach I’ve ever had. And if that’s not good enough you’ll just have to get in touch with my mom for your own batch of her wonderfully delicious, healthy and unique homemade cookies!

My Favorite Cookies

Rugelach

Adapted from “Maida Heatter’s Brand-New Book of Great Cookies”

Makes 32 cookies

Dough

4 oz/ 1 stick Butter (melted)

1 Egg Yolk from a small (free range) egg

1/4 tsp Salt

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1 Lemon rind finely grated

1 cup Flour

With a mixer or a whisk beat the yolk, salt, sour cream and lemon rind in a small bowl. In a larger bowl add the flour, melted butter and sour cream mixture and mix until smooth. The dough will be wet and sticky. Divide dough into 2 pieces and wrap with plastic. Let the dough rest in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for up to 1 hour and then in the fridge for 1/2 an hour. The dough should be firm but manageable.

Filling

4 oz / 1+1/8 cup Walnuts (finely chopped)

4 oz dried Cranberries, Raisins or Currants (finely chopped) *I prefer currants or cranberries but raisins will do in a pinch

1/4 + 1/8 cup Sugar

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Cocoa Powder

1/8-1/4 tsp Nutmeg

1/8-1/4 tsp Ginger

Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Mix everything together in a large bowl. Roll out one of the dough rounds on a floured surface to about a 12 inch in diameter circle. Sprinkle with half of the filling. Spread the sugar mixture all over the dough but push the nuts and dried fruit out around the edge of the circle so that there is about 6 inches in the center that’s free of any large pieces. Press the nuts and fruit into the dough slightly. Cut the circle into 4 equal pieces and each piece into 4 so there is a total of 16 wedges. Roll each wedge from the outside of the circle in to the point. Place the rolls point side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you want a shiny cookie you can brush them with the remaining beaten egg white but I like them left uncoated. Bake for 23-25 minutes until lightly browned. These should be stored in an airtight container or zip lock bags and last longer when kept in the fridge.

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