I had always felt iffy about my rugelach because it seemed like the consistency was never right. Granted, I didn’t grow up with them and don’t actually have anything to compare them to, but the dough always seemed too thin, like it spread out too much (even when I was using butter instead of margarine), and the fruit filling would ooze out during baking. The ones I made with this Real Simple recipe, though, were much better than any I’d made before. I did use margarine instead of butter, because I still haven’t been able to get my hands on Green Valley Organics’ lactose-free butter. The dough *was* thin, but I’m now starting to think it’s supposed to be, because my rugelach looked pretty much like those in the picture. Plus, here the jam is cooked down a bit before becoming filling, which prevents it from oozing out when the rugelach are baking. And these cookies combine fruit, nuts and chocolate, so you don’t have to choose which filling you’ll make! This will be my go-to recipe from now on.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
6 oz. lactose-free cream cheese, softened
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1 cup seedless raspberry jam (ideally not sugar-free)
⅓ cup roasted salted almonds
⅓ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1 tsp water
Beat the butter, cream cheese, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium until smooth, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually add the flour. Beat until the dough is smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide the dough into 3 portions and shape each into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and chill 1 hour.
Meanwhile, bring the jam to a gentle boil in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium, stirring often, until the mixture reduces by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 °F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper (I was able to fit everything onto 2 baking sheets, and I used silpats).
Pulse the almonds and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a food processor until coarsely chopped, 5 or 6 times. Add the chocolate chips and process until the mixture is finely ground, about 30 seconds.
Roll 1 disk of the dough into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Spread ¼ cup of the jam over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the almond mixture over the jam. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the circle into 12 wedges, like a pizza. Starting at the wide end, roll up the triangles and transfer, seam-side down, to the baking sheets. Whisk together the egg and water in a small bowl. Lightly brush the cookies with the egg wash. Repeat with the remaining disks of dough.
Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until browned and crisp, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.