Sunday, October 23, 2011

New York Cheesecake: A delicious low-carb dessert recipe

It has been a while since I have posted a recipe - things have been a little interesting around here lately.  We found out I was pregnant in late May with our little boy scheduled to arrive in early February.  Then, if that wasn’t exciting enough, I also was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes (GD).  For those who are unfamiliar with it, this is a pregnancy-related diabetes where the placenta produces hormones that result in insulin-resistance in the mother.  Though it has its risks, it is incredibly manageable, but does have a pretty specific diet you have to follow.

When you are a foodie like me, adjusting to a diet with strict carb limits and being told you have to eat six times a day and each of those meals has to have a certain number of carbs, proteins, and fats, tests your culinary abilities!  I have adjusted pretty well to the diet, I can even drink coffee without sugar now, but I couldn’t fathom the idea of going 6 months without dessert!  I was on a mission to figure out something I could make that was low-carb, high protein and would fit in a serving size of one of my many meals.  A little tweaking to the normal Philadelphia Cheesecake recipe and I found a delicious, creamy, low-carb dessert that I can have occasionally and still watch my blood sugars.  Those who don’t have to watch their blood sugars probably wouldn’t even notice a difference.

These slices are normal-sized portions (no skimpy serving here).  The calories may not be the lowest, but it is great for an occasional treat (nutrition information included after the recipe).  I sliced mine and froze it separated so I could pull out a single piece when I really needed a treat.  I don't like fake sugars, so I used the real-deal.  If you want to substitute with Splenda, you could increase the cheesecake “sugar” to 1 cup and the crust to 3 Tbsp and that would lower your carb/sugar count even more. Enjoy!


1 cups almond meal/flour 
1/2 cup of coconut flour 
3 tablespoons melted butter
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar 

Heat oven to 350 F. Melt the butter, mix the ingredients, and pat into place in 13” x 9” pan (or a spring-form pan - see below). Bake for about 10 minutes until the crust is beginning to brown. Watch closely as it nears the end of cooking time so it doesn’t overcook.  Set aside to cool.

Notes: Almond meal is just ground almonds - you can make your own in a food processor.  If you buy it, I like Bob's Red Mill.  If you don't have coconut flour, you can use all almond meal.


5 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened - I use 3 Neufchatel (low fat) & two regular.
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. almond meal (or coconut flour, whole wheat flour, or all-purpose flour)
1-2 Tbsp.vanilla (I use 2 Tbsp for more flavor)
1 cup Reduced Fat Sour Cream (Breakstone is my go-to)
4 eggs

Heat oven to 325°F.
Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, almond meal and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low after each just until blended. Pour over crust in 13" x 9" pan.
Bake 40 min. or until center is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours (overnight is best for flavor and texture).

How to Bake in Spring-form Pan
Heat oven to 325ºF if using 9-inch spring-form pan (or to 300ºF if using a dark nonstick 9-inch spring-form pan). Prepare batter as directed; pour into pan. Bake 1 hour 10 min. or until center is almost set. Run knife or metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim.  Optional: I like to add a couple of layers of foil around the outside/bottom of the spring-form pan just in case of any leaks.
I used a 10 inch spring-form pan and it took about the same amount of time as the 9 inch pan.

Nutrition if cut into 12 slices: Calories 475; Total Fat 35.6g; Sat. Fat 20g; Cholesterol 170mg; Sodium 416mg; Carb. 21.4g; Fiber 1.8g; Sugars 17.2g; Protein 12.4g

Interpretation of Philadelphia Cream Cheese New York Cheesecake Recipe:

Freezing instructions: Let the cheesecake rest in the refrigerator overnight for best flavor/texture.  Slice the cheesecake into portions and place apart on cookie sheet.  Place in freezer 8 hours or overnight.  Place frozen slices in ziploc bag.  To defrost, you can place in the fridge overnight, leave a slice on the counter for about an hour, or defrost in your microwave at 20% power for about 4 minutes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sweet Potatoes from Heaven

I love, love, love sweet potatoes.  They are delicious.  I have often been dissuaded from making them since I didn't want them mashed and baking them can take a long time.  Then I found my sweet potato savior!  It is a quick and really easy sweet potato recipe that cooks in about 30 minutes in the oven.  Super easy prep, quick cooking time, and an oh-so-delicious "sauce" to toss them in right before serving.  Read on!

What you need:
2 large sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp. Olive or canola oil
Optional: Cumin and Chili Powder
1 Tbsp. Honey
1 Tbsp. Butter (or any of the butter-olive oil, butter-canola oil blends)

What to do:
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees

While the oven is preheating, give your sweet potatoes a quick scrub.  If you want to leave the skins on, scrub a little extra.  If not, peel your sweet potatoes next.

Each sweet potato will make about 16 wedges.  I cut my sweet potato in half (not lengthwise - across the short way).  Now, take each half and cut in half.  Cut in half again to get quarters. Cut each quarter in half to get eighths.  With both halves, you end up with 16 wedges.  Here is a handy-dandy little diagram to try and demonstrate what I mean.  Hopefully this means something to you:
Sweet Potato

Now that you hopefully have your wedges all cut up, put them in a bowl, drizzle in the oil olive and a little salt.  If you want to use some chili powder and cumin, now is the time.  A good shake of each should be fine.  Toss the sweet potatoes around so they are coated and then place on a single layer on a baking sheet (I use the non-stick foil, too).  Keep the bowl handy - you will use it again.

Let roast in the oven for about 15 minutes.  Flip the sweet potatoes.  Continue cooking for 15 more minutes.  When the sweet potatoes are done and you are ready to serve, melt the butter in the microwave.  Stir in the honey while it's still hot.  Put the sweet potatoes in the bowl and drizzle with the honey butter.  You may not need all of it - you just want a light, even coating.  Toss gently so you don't break up the potatoes.  Serve!  Enjoy!  They are sooooo good!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What is that stuff? Adventures with Seitan

As a foodie, I am pretty much willing to try just about any food once, with the exception of anything that is still alive and moving (eeeewwww).  The worst that can happen in any normal situation is that I won't like it.  Chances are it's not going to kill me and I will have either found a new food to enjoy or know a new food I don't like (I'm looking at you, sea urchin!).  A few weeks ago, I was shopping on the farm delivery website I so love (CT Farm Fresh Express) and came across seitan.  I had heard of seitan in the past as alternative to soy-based meat substitutes, like tofu.  It was rumored to have more of a "meaty" texture and flavor.  I am not a vegetarian or vegan, but I don't see a need to have meat at every meal.  This was another option to explore.

For those who don't know, seitan is essentially made from the wheat gluten, which contains protein.  It is what gives bread it's chewy texture and is what is left behind when you wash away all the starch from the flour.  It is low in calories, high in protein and pretty much fat-free.  I figured, why not?  I'll give it a shot.

First, let me just tell you - seitan is scary looking!  You can see what it looks like here: The Bridge: Seitan page.   When I first saw it, it kind of reminded me of brains, especially because it comes floating in a marinade-type thing.  Right now you are probably a little creeped out and far from wanting to try this stuff.  Stick with me!  It does look a little scary, but it's actually pretty tasty!  I have only had this particular seitan made by The Bridge, who also has delicious tofu - if you are in the Northeast, search them out and try some.  I highly recommend their products.

So, I had ordered my seitan and it was now sitting in my fridge.  My next challenge was trying to find a recipe on what exactly I should be doing with this stuff.  I had no idea how to cook it or really what I was supposed to do with it.  I saw a lot of different recipes, many a stir-fry of some sort, but none of them were exactly what I was looking for.  I did pick up the idea of crispy seitan as I was looking through page after page of recipes.  So, I decided to wing it.  Since I wasn't sure how it would come out or what at all it would taste like, I decided to try it first as a lunch dish.  It seemed less intimidating somehow.  I also just made it for myself, figuring I would be the guinea pig and if it was good, my husband could try it another time.  I was pleasantly surprised at the results!

My Seitan Adventures Recipe #1: A Seitan-Veggie Wrap

  • Seitan
  • Zucchini
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato - diced
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Whole Wheat wrap
  • Avocado

What I did:

First, I drained the seitan and patted it dry.  I then sliced it into strips (which immediately made it much less scary looking).

Seitan - sliced

I put a little bit of olive oil in a non-stick pan and cooked the slices until just crisp on each side.  I removed the seitan from the pan to a paper towel to soak up an residual oil.  Next, I tossed some zucchini slices into the still hot pan until the were getting some brown color and softened.

I warmed the wheat wrap (about 20 seconds in the microwave) and filled it with the seitan, cooked zucchini, lettuce, tomato, shredded carrot and avocado and wrapped it up.

Conclusions on Recipe #1: It was really delicious!!!  Seitan and cooked zucchini were meant to be together.  The seitan I had has a slight ginger-soy flavor to it.  If I knew that in advance, I would have made an asian-style sweet sauce with soy, ginger, sesame seeds, and honey to drizzle on the sandwich -  would have been the perfect final piece to a pretty darn good wrap.  After this experiment, I was sold and knew I could get my husband to eat it.

My Seitan Adventures Recipe #2: Seitan Fajitas

  • Seitan
  • Green Bell Pepper
  • Onion
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow/Summer Squash
  • Olive Oil
  • Tortillas (we use wheat)
  • Fajita seasoning: Cumin, Onion Powder, Chili Powder, Paprika, Oregano, Parsley, Salt, Pepper
  • Salsa 
  • Sour Cream
  • Guacamole/avocado
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Shredded cheese (we're not vegan, so this was dairy cheese)
Heat up your griddle to 400 degrees (or if using a stove-top, I would say medium-hi).  

Drain, pat dry, and slice the seitan and set aside.

Mix the fajita seasoning - I do this without any measurements, just kind of a dash of this and that.  The ingredients I use the most of are listed first.  It's about a teaspoon of cumin, half teaspoon of onion powder and chili powder, and dashes of the rest.  Mix to taste, add in other spices you like - I don't like cilantro, so I use parsley.  If you want a little heat, add some cayenne.

Slice up the peppers, onions, zucchini and squash.  Toss in a bowl with a little olive oil and fajita seasoning. Toss onto a lightly oiled, hot griddle.  The vegetables take longer than the seitan, so wait until they start to soften before adding the seitan to it's own side of the griddle with a little oil.
Fajita veggies

Cook the seitan until just crispy on each side, remove, and set on paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

Make your fajitas! Wrap up some seitan with the vegetables, add whatever toppings you like and enjoy!

Conclusions on Recipe #2: These were good!  The adding of the squash and zucchini really added to the fajitas.  I didn't miss the meat at all.  The seitan was able to stand up to all the fillings and still impart good flavor and texture to the meal.  I would make these again in a second.

Leftovers of Recipe #2: The next day I had some leftover seitan and vegetables.  I wrapped them up with a black bean and mango salad as the salsa that I had gotten from Green Gourmet to Go - sooooo good!  I wish I had thought of that for dinner the night before.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Griddle me this...

There are some tools in the kitchen that every cook claims they can't live without.  In truth, there are necessities, nice-to-haves, and other things that are downright ridiculous and unneeded.  My griddle is somewhere between a nice to have and a necessity.  Technically, yes, I could live without the griddle, but oh the things I use if for!  The list is not short.

You can make an entire Sunday-sized breakfast on one griddle: eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes or french toast.  It's like having your own little diner in your kitchen with only one thing to clean afterward (oh, did I mention it is dishwasher safe???).  I have used this many a time, especially on Christmas morning when we have 10-12 people for breakfast.  Yes, you do become a short-order cook, but it's actually pretty fast and easy and impressive for your guests.

You want to make more than breakfast, you say?  Well, if it's the middle of winter and you want a great steak or burger, but you don't want to wear a winter coat and gloves to grill (for those who actually have a winter, anyway), go ahead - throw a steak on the griddle or burgers or hot dogs.  Have a picnic indoors while it snows outside.  You have so much room to cook, you can toss on some onions or mushrooms to cook alongside the meat for delicious "grilled" toppings for your steak or burger.  Great to make sliders for a crowd, too (which I did one New Year's Eve).

You say you like Mexican and want something easy and fast for dinner?  Fajitas!  Cook your peppers and onions on one side, meat of choice on the other.  I turn off the griddle and let people serve themselves right from there - it is like your own sizzling fajita station.  Heck, you could even set the thing up in the middle of your kitchen table and serve it from there.

The list of things I make on the griddle goes on and on.  It's great.  I have seared enough delicious scallops at once to serve at least four people.  You can make a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches or just a couple.  One of my favorites is making chicken gyros - cook the chicken, wipe it down and I cook an Indian Naan bread instead of the traditional pita bread.  I have used it when making a giant batch of spaghetti sauce to cook over 40 meatballs, italian sausage, chicken and even searing braciole all before they simmer away in the sauce for hours.

My griddle is well-loved and the second one I have purchased.  This one is probably 6 years old by now.  It is starting to show it's age and as with anything we love, I hate to think of trying to find a replacement that works as well.  My current griddle is an electric Hamilton-Beach.  It is the same brand as my original griddle that lasted about as long.  I will begrudgingly begin my search for the next one, knowing that I don't want to live without a griddle and needing to find the next one that will make many, many more delicious meals.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Something smells fishy...

photo courtesy of Microstock Photography 

It's a funny saying and it's a funny thing.  You expect fish to smell fishy, right?  Why else would that be the saying? In truth, fish doesn't really smell fishy.  Fresh, good fish barely smells at all.  It is when fish gets old, beyond the point of being fresh and delicious, that it smells fishy.  So, if you sense that strong fishy odor, you can pretty much guarantee that the fish is beyond it's best "use by" date.  Most of the people who say they don't like fish - they haven't had GOOD fish.  FRESH fish.  LOCAL fish.  It's key.  I have gotten more than one "I don't like fish" person to eat fish and enjoy it just by using good fish.  That is really all it takes.

So, here's the thing about fish: it's delicious.  It can also be incredibly easy to prepare.  The trick (start broken record sound here) = you have to get fresh fish.  There are certainly some limitations depending on where you live, I get it, but just like so many other foods, buying local is incredibly important.  Your area national chain grocery store is not going to have fish fresh off the boat.  Chances are, any fish you buy from the grocery store will have been "previously frozen".  They just defrost it before putting it out in the case so you think it's fresh.  It's not.  Find a great, local fish store that gets their fish fresh from the docks.  You will be amazed at the difference.  And I'm sure I don't have to tell you how healthy fish can be for you, right?  If you haven't heard it by now, you probably live under a rock...or under the sea (song stuck in your head yet?).

Don't be intimidated by cooking fish.  It's actually quite simple and the better the fish, the less work you have to do.  A quick broil or grill and you're done.  I like to use a quick glaze in the final minutes or a sauce you can toss together and serve on the side.  Another easy option (to be featured in future blog installments) is doing it "en papillote" - this is a fancy way of say in a packet - where you just toss the fish and a few other ingredients on some parchment paper, wrap it up into a little packet, and let it cook while all the delicious flavors find each other.

Today's fish will be salmon.  Yes, salmon.  You have probably suffered through a bad piece of fishy, dry, not-so-good salmon.  It's prevalence on menus in recent years and as the fish option at every banquet-type event has earned salmon a bad and over-used reputation.  Salmon is healthy, delicious, and one of the quickest and easiest fishes to prepare at home.  I actually went through a phase where the last thing I wanted to eat was salmon.  I finally caved and made some at home.  It was seriously quick (about 15-20 minutes to make the whole meal) and very good.  I try to buy it more often now (gotta get those omega-3s, right?).  Below is my go-to salmon meal.  I always feel pretty good about myself after eating it.  It's good, it's good for me, and I didn't have to slave away in the kitchen for a long time.

Broiled Salmon with Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce 
served with Garlic-Ginger Green Beans and Brown Rice

The Salmon

Broiled Salmon with Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce

  • Salmon cut into portions (about 3-4 oz per person)*
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper (optional)

Turn the broiler on high. Lightly coat salmon in olive oil (add salt and pepper, if you like)
Place the salmon on the broiler pan.  Cook 4 minutes.  Turn over.  Cook 4 minutes.  Done.

* Skin on or skin off - it's up to you.  I like to cook it skin on and tend to remove the skin before serving.

For the Lemon Dill Yogurt Sauce (serves 2-4)

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I like Fage 2%) - can also substitute sour cream
  • Fresh dill - chopped
  • Fresh-squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)*
  • Salt & Pepper

Mix all ingredients together.  I start with about a tablespoon each of the dill and the lemon and then add more to taste.  I like a lot of both!

*Juicing a lemon tip: If your lemons are refrigerated - pop it in the microwave for about 25 seconds.  Then roll on the cutting board with the palm of your hand before slicing and juicing.  Much easier to get the juice out.

The Sides

For a quick meal like this, I go with very simple sides.  The salmon is rich, the sauce is flavorful - you don't need a lot to complement it.   I tend to go with a brown rice and I use the oh-so-quick-and-easy boil-in-a-bag rice.  Boil water.  Add bag of rice.  10 minutes later = done.   I use a very simple veggie side of steamed (or boiled) green beans quickly sautéed for a little extra flavor.

Garlic-Ginger Green Beans

  • Fresh green beans or haricot verts
  • 1 tsp minced Garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Steam or boil the green beans.  You want them bright green and still on the crisp side.  I steam for about 5-6 minutes or boil for about 4 minutes.  Either option is fine.  

Heat olive oil in saute pan over medium-high.  Add garlic, ginger, and beans.  Add salt and pepper while cooking (optional).  Stir and saute until the beans start to show a little color and the garlic and ginger have softened.  Done.

How to do it all:
Reading all of these recipes and things to cook might have your mind spinning a little bit.  Once you get a system going, it goes really fast and easy.  I use two timers so I don't lose track of the fish!
  1. Turn on the stove to preheat the broiler and fill your pots for boiling and/or steaming and get those on the stove and heating up.
  2. Do your prep work!  I am a huge fan of "mise en place"- or everything in place.  Mince your garlic and ginger (or get out your jars or tubes if you like the shortcut-prepared kind).  Chop the dill.  Juice the lemon.   Have them all prepared and ready to go for when you are ready to add them in.
  3. Mix together yogurt sauce and set aside.
  4. Water should be boiling by now - drop in the rice - set timer #1 for 10 minutes.
  5. Put green beans in steamer/pot for boiling & fish in the oven - set timer #2 for 4 minutes.
  6. Heat up saute pan and olive oil.
  7. At first timer, flip the fish, return to oven - set timer #2 for 4 minutes.
  8. Remove green beans from heat (drain, if boiled).  Add to saute pan with garlic and ginger.
  9. Your food will all start to be ready in pretty quick succession.  Pull each from the heat as they are done.  Make sure to pull the fish when it is ready so it doesn't dry out.
  10. Serve!  If you are feeling fancy - save some dill sprigs to decorate the plate.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dinner - fast and good!

No matter who you are, if you cook, you sometimes just want to be quick and done.  As much as I love elaborate recipes that turn out delicious gourmet meals, other times I am hungry or tired or have other stuff going on and just want to be in and out of the kitchen in under a half hour.  Is it possible?  Absolutely?  Can you make more than a bowl of cereal or a scrambled egg in that time?  Yes!  Are you thinking of comparing me to an overly-chipper, happy TV host who makes meals in a half hour?  Well, stop it right now!

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry is one of my new favorite meals that makes me happy because it's so darn quick and makes the husband happy because he loves any kind of Asian food.  This recipe was delicious over rice, but also quite good tossed with udon noodles (which cook in 4 minutes - yeah!).  I have made this at least three times now and it was great every time.  This is going on the go-to meal ideas list (it only exists inside my head, but it is there, I swear).  

I am big on the idea of switching up ingredients based on preference.  In this particular recipe, I like to switch the sugar out for local honey.  Red pepper flakes are great for a little kick.  Toasted sesame seeds make a tasty garnish (put sesame seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden color starts to appear).   This recipe also seems like it would be really easy to toss in any variety of vegetables or switch out the chicken for tofu, beef, or pork.  

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-fry
Recipe from


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast (about 2 breasts), sliced against the grain
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1 tablespoon dark sesame oil
  • About 1/3 cup chicken broth or water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 5 cups broccoli, trimmed sliced stalks (about 1/4-inch thick) and medium florets (keep the 2 cuts separate)
  • Serving suggestion: rice


Toss the chicken with about half the garlic and ginger, the soy sauce, sugar, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, 1 teaspoon of the salt, the sherry, and the sesame oil in a bowl. Marinate at room temperature for 15 minutes. Mix the remaining cornstarch with the 1/3 cup broth or water.
Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat. Add the broccolistems, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the florets and the remaining garlic, ginger, 2 tablespoons of water, and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper, to taste. Stir-fry until the broccoli is bright green but stillcrisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
Get the skillet good and hot again, and then heat 2 more tablespoons oil. Add the chicken and stir-fryuntil the chicken loses its raw color and gets a little brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Return the broccoli to the pan and toss to heat through. Stir in the reserved cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil to thicken. Add more water if need to thin the sauce, if necessary. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if you like. Mound the stir-fry on a serving platter or divide among 4 plates; serve with rice.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Making Rugelach

When I was little, my grandma taught me how to make a cookie she called "Juicy Biscuits"...or maybe she said Jewish biscuits and my little ears translated.  She always made them with grape jelly and walnuts.  I never thought this was weird as a kid, though now, it does seem a little funny.  All I know is it was fun to make and they were delicious.
Making Rugelach

When I was older, I wanted to make the cookies on my own, but had lost the recipe.  It took me a lot of searching and research before I figured out they were actually called "Rugelach" and they were a traditional Jewish pastry.  After searching for a recipe that seemed familiar, I found this one on Epicurious: Rugelach (Gourmet | May 2004).  The recipe is actually pretty easy, but a little labor intensive.  If I am going to make it, I normally commit to making 2 or 3 batches at a time.

I definitely recommend keeping the dough refrigerated before and after rolling it out until it is ready to be filled and rolled.  The recipe says to chill for 8 - 24 hours, but I have done it in just a few hours with the same success.  I bake them whole and then slice them after they have cooled, which is different from the traditional method of doing the crescent shape or cutting them before baking.

Flavor varieties - you can go crazy with fillings.  I have heard of ones made with chocolate or apple filling.  I tend to mix and match using a variety of jams (raspberry, apricot, fig, and of course, grape), nuts (pecans or walnuts), and dried fruits (raisins or craisins).  I might have one with fig, craisins, and pecans and another with apricots, raisins, and walnuts.  If you like really sweet things, use the raspberry with the craisins and pecan.  I normally just mix and match until I run out of dough or the other ingredients.

These are often made as a holiday cookie, but I they are quite delicious and I would recommend them pretty much any time of year.  I will say this: I have tried to make them in July.  If you can't control the heat and humidity with some powerful air conditioning, you are in for a challenge.  You have mere moments to get the dough in and out of the fridge before it starts melting.  Were the cookies still delicious?  Absolutely.  Would I want to do that again?  Not so much.

Here is a photo montage of the batch I made at Christmas this past year.  I forgot to take pictures of the actual making of the dough, so it picks up from after the dough has been chilled.

Recipe courtesy of

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup apricot preserves or raspberry jam
  • 1 cup loosely packed golden raisins, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts (1/4 lb), finely chopped
  • Milk for brushing cookies

Whisk together flour and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined well. Add flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms. Gather dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap, then flatten (in wrap) into a roughly 7- by 5-inch rectangle. Chill until firm, 8 to 24 hours.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Line bottom of a 1- to 1 1/2-inch-deep large shallow baking pan with parchment paper.

Making Rugelach

Cut dough into 4 pieces. Chill 3 pieces, wrapped in plastic wrap, and roll out remaining piece into a 12- by 8-inch rectangle on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer dough to a sheet of parchment, then transfer to a tray and chill while rolling out remaining dough in same manner, transferring each to another sheet of parchment and stacking on tray.

Making Rugelach
Making Rugelach
Making Rugelach
Rolled out dough - thin, but 
not so thin it will tear when assembled.

Whisk 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon.

Arrange 1 dough rectangle on work surface with a long side nearest you. Spread 1/4 cup preserves evenly over dough with offset spatula. Sprinkle 1/4 cup raisins and a rounded 1/4 cup walnuts over jam, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar.

Making Rugelach
The Fillings

Making Rugelach
Jam spread on the dough, cinnamon sugar, nuts, and dried fruit sprinkled on top.

Using parchment as an aid, roll up dough tightly into a log. Place, seam side down, in lined baking pan, then pinch ends closed and tuck underneath. Make 3 more logs in same manner and arrange 1 inch apart in pan. Brush logs with milk and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of remaining granulated sugar. With a sharp large knife, make 3/4-inch-deep cuts crosswise in dough (not all the way through) at 1-inch intervals. (If dough is too soft to cut, chill until firmer, 20 to 30 minutes.)

Making Rugelach
Bake until golden, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool to warm in pan on a rack, about 30 minutes, then transfer logs to a cutting board and slice cookies all the way through.

Making Rugelach

Making Rugelach