Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday baking journal, part 2

The first baking journal was getting pretty LONG with 6 recipes, so I thought I'd start a new one.
I made these on Wednesday but didn't get around to blogging it until today.
chocolate rugelach

This is the first time I have made these, but it won't be the last. Oh lordy are they good!

Ingredients :
8 ounces cream cheese, room temp and cut into chunks
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, room temp and cut into chunks
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 can Love'n Bake™ Chocolate "Schmear" Filling

Cream the butter and cream cheese and sugar.
sift in the flour and mix until dough can form a ball
pat the dough into a flattened round, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
preheat oven to 375 (F), and grease 2 cookie sheets

divide dough in half and roll out half of it on a floured surface into a circle about 11 inches in diameter.
place a large dinner plate on dough and trim around edges with a knife.
spread the chocolate "Schmear" Filling on the circle.
Cut the circle into quarters, and then cut each quarter into 4 pieces, to form 16 wedge shaped pieces.
Roll up a triangle starting from the wide end, and tuck the point under the cookie on the baking sheet.
Repeat with other half of dough.
Take the scrap dough (from cutting the circles) and reroll it to another circle shape, to make a third set of 16 cookies (which will usually be smaller and less perfect than the first two sets. That's OK- these are your testers that you eat yourself, and save the pretty ones for company!).
Don't reroll the dough more than once or too much gluten will form.

mix 1 egg white with 1 teaspoon cold water.
brush cookies with egg white glaze and sprinkle with sugar.
bake until golden, 15-20 minutes.
cool on a wire rack.

Note: you can also make almond or cinnamon rugelach with the same dough, just substitute the filling.
Update December 16, 2007
This weekend I made Homemade chocolate graham crackers, topped with peppermint bark.

peppermint bark chocolate graham crackers

These are frekakin GOOD, the crispness of the thin chocolatey cracker sets off the creamy decadence of the peppermint bark just perfectly. You could make these with storebought graham crackers too, but I find those thicker and chewier than my homemade ones, andjust not as tasty.

1/2 cup All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons cold milk

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Cut out two sheets of parchment paper as large as your cookie sheets.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, cocoa, sugar, and baking powder. With a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until evenly crumbly.
In a separate bowl, combine the honey and milk, stirring until the honey dissolves. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and toss lightly with a fork until the dough comes together. Add a few drops additional milk, if necessary.

Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and fold it over gently 5-6 times, until smooth. Divide the dough in half. Work with half the dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered.

Transfer one piece of dough to a piece of parchment. Roll it into a rectangle a bit larger than 10 x 14 inches; the dough will be about 1/16-inch thick. Trim the edges and prick the dough evenly over the entire surface with a dough docker or fork. Repeat with the remaining dough and parchment. Place the rolled-out dough pieces, on their parchment, onto baking sheets.

Bake the crackers for 15 minutes, or until you begin to smell chocolate. Remove them from the oven, and immediately cut them into rectangles with a pizza wheel or knife.
I use a fluted pastry wheel, it's like pinking shears for cookies!
Transfer them to a rack to cool.

1 12-ounce bag of white chocolate chips
2 regular size candy canes, or 10-15 starlight peppermint candies

unwrap the candy canes or starlight mints, and put them in a ziplock baggie.
Smash them up with a hammer or meat tenderizer.
Melt the white chocolate chips in a double boiler, or in a microwave. If you use the microwave, only nuke it for short periods (30-45 seconds) at low power, stirring in between each nuking.
Stir the crushed candy canes into the melted white chocolate.
Spread the delicious goo onto the chocolate graham crackers.
You can leave it to harden at room temperature, but it takes longer.
You can put them in the fridge to harden quicker, but you need to transfer them to smaller platters that will fit in your fridge.
If you live in a cold climate and it's not raining, a great way to harden them is just put them outside for a few seconds! Voila, walk-in freezer!

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