Active: 1 hour 10 minutes | Total: 3 hours 10 minutes, plus chilling time
Makes 48 rugelach
These crescent-shaped cookies are a staple of delicatessens and other bakeries in New York and across the country, and they are beloved in the American baking repertoire. The simple, pliable dough comes together in a flash, and most of the time making these cookies is spent chilling the dough and the shaped cookies. - by Olga Massov
Recipe notes: This recipe is ripe for adaptation and can work with your choice of dried fruit and/or chocolate. We tested a variation we particularly liked: apricot-pistachio rugelach with cardamom. Instead of cherries and pecans, substitute equal amounts of dried apricots and raw, unsalted pistachios, and swap in cardamom for the cinnamon and apricot jam for the raspberry.
If you want to make these cookies without nuts, just double the amount of dried fruit, to make up for the bulk.
The dough, fruit-and-nut filling and cinnamon sugar can be made up to 3 days ahead. Keep the dough tightly wrapped and refrigerated.
After the rugelach are rolled, they can be frozen on a baking sheet. Once hard, consolidate them into plastic zip-top bags. They can then be baked right from the freezer. You may need to increase the baking time a bit.
Store the baked rugelach in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days. To refresh, place the rugelach on a baking sheet and reheat at 300 degrees until warm.
FOR THE DOUGH
16 tablespoons (2 sticks/226 grams) cold unsalted butter, each cut into 4 pieces
8 ounces (227 grams) cold cream cheese, cut into 10 pieces
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
FOR THE FILLING
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup (70 grams) finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup (70 grams) finely chopped dried cherries
Generous 1/2 cup (175 grams) raspberry jam (with or without seeds)
Make the dough: Place the butter and cream cheese on the counter and let them soften for about 10 minutes; you want them still cold. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, and scatter over the chunks of butter and cream cheese. Pulse the processor 5 to 10 times, until the mixture looks shaggy. Then process the dough, pausing the motor to scrape down sides of the bowl often, just until the dough forms large curds. Don’t overwork it to the point where it forms a ball on the blade.
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Turn the dough out, gather it into a 5-by-3-inch brick, and divide it into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to overnight. You can also freeze the dough, tightly wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap, for up to 3 months.
Make the filling: While the dough chills, in a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon until combined. In another medium bowl, stir together the chopped nuts and dried fruit. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the jam until it’s loose and liquid.
Make the rugelach: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, working quickly with one disk at a time, roll each disk out to a 12-inch circle; it’s okay if the circle isn’t perfect. (If you start feeling the dough getting sticky and too warm, dust it with a whisper of flour.) Using a pastry brush, coat the dough with a thin layer of jam, then sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar, and follow with a quarter of the nut-and-fruit mixture. Take a large piece of wax paper and gently press it over the filling so it better adheres to the dough. Then, using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into 12 wedges: Begin by cutting the dough into quarters and then cut each quarter into thirds. Set the wax paper aside for the following dough disks. Roll each piece of dough into a crescent from the wide end to the tip. Transfer to a baking sheet, making sure the tip of each crescent is under the cookie. Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes. Repeat with one more dough disk.
While the rugelach are chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with 1 teaspoon water until combined.
Brush each crescent with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until they are puffed and golden. Transfer the rugelach to wire racks and let cool to warm or room temperature before serving. Repeat with the remaining two dough disks.
Nutrition | Calories: 100; Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Sodium: 30 mg; Carbohydrates: 9 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 5 g; Protein: 1 g.
Source: Adapted from pastry chef Alex Levin and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan
CLASSIC CHOCOLATE WHOOPIE PIES
Active: 1 hour 5 minutes |Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
Makes 16 whoopie pies
Whoopie pies are not so much a cookie as a cake-and-frosting sandwich, but they qualify in spirit. They are a treat closely associated with New England and Maine, in particular. They also have ties to Amish country. This version consists of two saucer-shaped rounds of chocolate cake around a marshmallowy cream filling.
Recipe notes: We preferred the smaller pies described here, but if you want a really decadent treat, you can use 1/4-cup scoops of dough to create the cakes. The yield will be 8 large sandwiches.
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The cakes and filling can be made 1 day in advance and stored at room temperature in airtight containers. The cakes can be somewhat sticky, so store them in a single layer without touching. The assembled whoopie pies can be stored individually wrapped at room temperature for 1 day.
Marshmallow Fluff is a New England ingredient available in certain other parts of the country. Marshmallow creme, more widely available, is a thinner consistency than Fluff. If you make your filling with marshmallow creme, you may need to add a bit more sugar to stiffen it up sufficiently.
FOR THE CAKES
8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature (at least 65 degrees)
1 cup (213 grams) light or dark brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup (43 grams) Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups (283 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (240 milliliters) milk, at room temperature
FOR THE FILLING
1 cup (177 grams) vegetable shortening
1 cup (113 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1 1/3 cups (167 grams) Marshmallow Fluff or marshmallow creme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two large, rimmed baking sheets.
Make the cakes: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or using a hand mixer and a large bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar, espresso powder (if using), baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla on medium-high until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the egg and beat again until smooth. Add the cocoa and mix on low to combine.
Gradually add the flour to the batter, alternating it with the milk, beating on low until smooth. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and beat again on low briefly to soften and combine any chunky scrapings.
Drop the dough in 2-tablespoon portions onto the prepared baking sheets (16 per sheet), leaving plenty of room between the cakes; they’ll spread. (A No. 30 disher works well here.)
Bake the cakes for 11 to 12 minutes, until they’re set and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and cool on the pans. While still lukewarm, use a spatula to separate them from the pan or parchment; then let cool completely.
Make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the shortening, confectioners’ sugar and Marshmallow Fluff until well combined. Start on low to avoid a cloud of sugar, then increase to medium.
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Add the prepared salt water to the marshmallow mixture, beating on low. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth.
Spread the flat side of half the cakes with the filling. Top with the remaining cakes, flat side toward the filling. Keep wrapped individually in plastic wrap until ready to serve.
Nutrition | Calories: 340; Total Fat: 18 g; Saturated Fat: 7 g; Cholesterol: 30 mg; Sodium: 125 mg; Carbohydrates: 43 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 25 g; Protein: 3 g.
Source: Adapted from a King Arthur Flour recipe
CREOLE PECAN PRALINE BARS
Active: 30 minutes | Total: 1 hour 55 minutes
Makes 32 (or more) bars
Anyone who has been to New Orleans is probably familiar with the praline, a sweet, buttery confection studded with pecans. In this very old recipe from the Big Easy, it’s been merged with a crisp brown shortbread crust, for something that may remind you of pecan pie. The thin bars with their carefully arranged nuts are just as nice to look at as eat.
Recipe note: The baked bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or frozen for several months. Separate the layers with wax paper.
FOR THE BASE
8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (220 grams) packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups (255 grams/9 ounces) large pecan halves
FOR THE TOPPING
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks/170 grams) unsalted butter
1/3 cup (75 grams) packed light brown sugar
Make the base: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan (with at least 2-inch sides) with a piece of foil large enough to cover the bottom and sides. Press in the foil so it’s as smooth as possible. Do not butter it.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on medium-high until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and beat until thoroughly combined. Add the flour and mix on low until the ingredients form tiny crumbs that will hold together when you press the mixture between your fingers, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the mixture into the prepared pan and spread to form a level layer, pressing down to compact it.
Cover the base with the pecan halves touching each other, flat sides down, all in the same direction.
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Make the topping: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the butter and sugar, stirring with a spatula, until the mixture comes to a hard boil all over the surface. Continue to stir for 30 more seconds, then remove the pan from the heat and pour the hot mixture over the pecans, trying to coat the entire surface.
Bake for 22 minutes, until the butter and sugar caramelize and start to solidify around the nuts. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Cover the pan with a baking sheet and invert the slab onto the sheet, removing the pan and then the foil. Re-invert the slab onto a cutting board and cut it into 32 or more thin strips. (Small squares are nice, too.) Let the bars to come to room temperature before serving.
Nutrition | Calories: 180; Total Fat: 13 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Sodium: 10 mg; Carbohydrates: 15 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 8 g; Protein: 2 g.
Source: Adapted from “Maida Heatter’s Brand-New Book of Great Cookies” by Maida Heatter. Random House, 1995
FORGOTTEN CHOCOLATE COOKIES
Active: 50 minutes | Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Makes 30 cookies
These crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside treats are exactly of the opposite of their name: Unforgettable. The name comes from an old method - popular in Jewish bakeries such as Gottlieb’s Bakery in Savannah, Georgia, but not used here - of letting meringues cool in a turned-off oven after baking. If you’ve never made meringues, there’s no need to be intimidated. All the ingredients are simply mixed together and scooped onto a baking sheet.
Recipe notes: As written, the recipe is gluten-free, with cornstarch as a binder. You can also more closely follow the Gottlieb’s model by substituting 2 tablespoons of flour. To make these cookies kosher for Passover, you can use potato starch in place of cornstarch.
We do not recommend leaving out the nuts, as they are key to providing bulk to the dough.
The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
2 3/4 cups (275 grams) confectioners’ sugar
Generous 1/2 cup (42 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-processed)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Pinch kosher salt
3 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (234 grams) finely chopped pecans or walnuts
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Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle. Line 2 large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Place the confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer. Beat on low speed just to combine the dry ingredients. Add the egg whites and beat on low speed to incorporate the whites, then increase the speed to high and beat until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Stir in the vanilla and pecans or walnuts.
Scoop or drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the baking sheets (about 15 per sheet). Bake one sheet at a time, 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are shiny and firm on the outside but still a little soft on the inside. (Smaller cookies will bake faster.) Remove the sheet from the oven and let the cookies rest for 2 minutes on the pan. Using a metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with the other baking sheet.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition | Calories: 100; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 1 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Carbohydrates: 11 g; Dietary Fiber: 1 g; Sugars: 9 g; Protein: 1 g.
Source: Adapted from “American Cookie” by Anne Byrn. Rodale Books, 2018
Active: 50 minutes | Total: 1 hour 20 minutes
Makes 19 cookies
If you’re used to the mediocre, sometimes stale fortune cookies that come out of a crinkly package, prepare to be blown away. Here you can expect a crunchy treat with a sweet flavor accented by the addition of strong tea. Fortune cookies came to the United States via Japanese immigrants who settled around San Francisco and Los Angeles and then served them in chop suey houses, according to Jennifer 8. Lee in her book “The Fortune Cookie Chronicles.” Chinese immigrants soon followed suit.
Making the cookies requires a bit of practice and quick fingers, but it’s a fun project. Take care, as the cookies must be shaped when hot.
Recipe note: The baked cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks or frozen for several months.
3 large egg whites
2/3 cup (133 grams) granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons strong brewed tea
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with a rack in the middle. Lightly grease a large, rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Prepare the fortunes, fold and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the egg whites, sugar, salt and vanilla. Stir in the melted butter and tea. Mix well. Add the flour and stir until the batter is smooth. Chill the batter in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
For each cookie, place a rounded tablespoon of batter on the greased baking sheet. With the back of a spoon, spread out the batter to form a thin circle about 3 inches in diameter. Bake no more than 2 to 3 cookies at one time, because they must be folded before they begin to cool and harden. (If possible, use 3 baking sheets: While one sheet is in the oven, the second sheet is being prepared and the third is cooling.)
Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies are brown. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully remove one cookie with a spatula. Lay the cookie flat on a clean plate and place a fortune on top. Working quickly, fold the cookie in half to form a semicircle and enclose the fortune. Lay the semicircle across the rim of a glass and press the folded edge against the glass, half inside and half outside. The curved edge should be left to flare out, to give the cookie its characteristic “nurse’s cap” shape. Set the completed cookie in the well of a muffin tin to hold its shape while it cools. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
Nutrition | Calories: 90; Total Fat: 5 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 15 mg; Sodium: 25 mg; Carbohydrates: 12 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 7 g; Protein: 1 g.
Source: From a 1986 Washington Post recipe
JOE FROGGER COOKIES
Active: 45 minutes | Total: 1 hour 5 minutes, plus an overnight chill
Makes 24 to 30 large cookies
Big, chewy molasses cookies are homey and satisfying. This particular egg-free version was first served in a Marblehead, Massachusetts, tavern run by freeman Joe Brown, says Albert Lukas, supervising chef at the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s Sweet Home Cafe, where visitors can buy them today. As to the name? The story goes that Brown’s wife made the cookies as big as the lily pads that frogs sat on in a pond outside the restaurant.
Recipe notes: You’ll need a 3-inch round cookie cutter.
The dough is quite soft and needs to be refrigerated at least overnight and up to 1 day. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
1 cup (340 grams) unsulfured molasses
1/3 cup (80 milliliters) water
2 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
3 1/2 cups (438 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
Generous 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
Generous 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) salted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the molasses, water and rum and bring to a lively simmer. Cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and let cool completely.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, ginger, baking soda, cloves, allspice and nutmeg until aerated and combined.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using a handheld mixer and a large bowl, combine the butter and cup of sugar, and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Stop the mixer to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Add the cooled molasses mixture and beat on low speed until well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the bowl.
On low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating just long enough to form a homogeneous dough. Cover and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours) and up to 1 day.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with the rack in the middle. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, and line your work surface with more paper. Sprinkle a generous amount of sugar over it.
Working with half the dough at a time (leaving the rest in the refrigerator), roll it out on the sugared surface to a thickness of 1/4 inch. Cut out about 12 cookies, re-rolling the scraps as needed. Using a wide, thin spatula, transfer the cookies to the baking sheets, spacing the cookies at least 1 inch apart. Sprinkle the tops with more sugar. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Bake one sheet at a time for 10 minutes, or just until the cookies are set yet still seem soft in the center, rotating the baking sheet from front to back halfway through. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before serving or storing.
Nutrition (based on 30 cookies) | Calories: 140; Total Fat: 3 g; Saturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 10 mg; Sodium: 380 mg; Carbohydrates: 26 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 15 g; Protein: 2 g.
Source: Adapted from a recipe developed by Albert Lukas, supervising chef at the Sweet Home Cafe in the National Museum of African American History and Culture
SUPER-THICK CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Active: 40 minutes | Total: 1 hour 25 minutes, plus 12 hours chilling
32 (makes eight 6-ounce cookies)
This style of ultra-thick chocolate chip cookie, popularized by the New York bakery Levain, requires a dough with less sugar than flour and more chocolate chips than sugar. These ratios keep the cookies thick, not caky, with a flavor defined by the chocolate, so be sure to use the best-quality chips you can find.
Part of the novelty of the cookies is their enormous size. They are eye-catching, for sure, but we recommend splitting them with a friend (or three). For nutritional purposes, that means we’re assuming one person is eating a quarter of a cookie.
Recipe notes: Cookbook author Stella Parks does not recommend leaving the nuts out of this recipe, as they help provide non-melting bulk to the cookies.
The portioned cookie dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 1 week. Alternatively, the portions can be individually wrapped, then placed in a freezer-safe zip-top bag and frozen for up to 6 months. Thaw frozen dough to 40 degrees, unwrap and bake as directed. These cookies taste best when freshly baked, but leftovers may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days; rewarm briefly in a 350-degree oven before serving.
8 tablespoons (1 stick/113 grams) unsalted butter, softened to cool room temperature (about 65 degrees)
About 1/2 cup (113 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
About 1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (may substitute 1 teaspoon table salt), plus more for sprinkling (optional)
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 large eggs, cold
About 2 1/4 cups (283 grams) all-purpose flour
About 2 1/2 cups (425 grams) assorted chocolate chips (not chopped chocolate), such as a mix of milk, bittersweet and semisweet
8 1/2 ounces (scant 1 3/4 cups/240 grams) raw walnut pieces or lightly toasted pecan pieces
Combine the butter, brown and granulated sugars, vanilla extract, salt, baking powder, baking soda and nutmeg in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on low to moisten, then increase the speed to medium and beat until soft, fluffy and pale, about 8 minutes; halfway through, pause to scrape down the bowl and beater with a flexible spatula. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time, letting each incorporate fully before adding the next. Reduce the speed to low, then add the flour all at once. When the flour is incorporated, add the chocolate chips and nuts and keep mixing until the dough is homogeneous.
Divide the dough into 8 equal portions (about 6 ounces/170 grams each) and round each into a smooth ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 12 hours before baking; if well protected from air, the dough can be kept in the fridge up to 1 week.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. When the oven comes to temperature, arrange up to 4 portions of cold dough on the prepared pans, leaving ample space between them to account for spread. If you like, sprinkle with additional salt to taste.
Bake, 1 sheet at a time, for about 22 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and lightly brown or to an internal temperature of between 175 and 185 degrees. The ideal temperature will vary from person to person; future rounds can be baked more or less to achieve the desired consistency.
Cool the cookies directly on the baking sheet until no warmer than 100 degrees (they should feel lukewarm) before serving. Enjoy warm, or within 12 hours; these cookies taste best when freshly baked.
NOTE: Toast the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet in a 350-degree oven until slightly darkened and fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes.
Nutrition | Calories: 200; Total Fat: 12 g; Saturated Fat: 5 g; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Sodium: 130 mg; Carbohydrates: 23 g; Dietary Fiber: 2 g; Sugars: 14 g; Protein: 3 g.
Source: Adapted from Stella Parks at SeriousEats.com