These crescent-shaped pastries are the perfect sweet bites to serve at your next weekend brunch get-together or with your afternoon cup of coffee or tea.
It's taken six months, but the sleep deprivation that goes along with being a new parent has finally caught up to me. Lately, I've been clumsier, short-tempered, more impatient than I'd like to admit, and so forgetful that it's almost funny.
Depending on the time of day, conversations with me can be downright nonsensical, and I've had trouble comprehending simple instructions. Including the instructions in this recipe for Raspberry Rugelach, a recipe I've been wanting to try ever since I saw it in the December 2014 issue of Food & Wine.
Obviously, a lot has happened since that issue hit the stands, so the recipe joined the pile of other recipes accumulating in my "to try" folder. It wasn't until I recently agreed to collaborate on a project with my friend Silagh that I realized I had the perfect excuse to break out our marble pastry board, and try my hand at making rugelach from scratch.
But the baby decided to be fussy the day I planned to bake, pulling my focus and testing my patience. It took me longer than I expected to settle her down. When I returned to the kitchen, I tried to make up the lost time by moving more quickly. I felt pretty proud of myself that I was able to get back on schedule.
That feeling of pride dissipated pretty quickly, though, as I made one mistake after another, including failing to include one of the ingredients altogether.
The mistakes I made while preparing the pastries weren't major, and with some quick thinking, I was able to recover nicely. Despite wanting to scrape everything into the garbage can and start over (or give up on the day and go take a nap), I decided to make adjustments and to keep going.
Those rugelach pictured in the above Instagram photo? Those are my "perfectly imperfect raspberry rugelach." Just by looking at them, you'd never know I had failed at reading comprehension while trying to follow the recipe.
But I'm about to reveal to you exactly where I went wrong...
The original recipe called for finely chopped almonds. I grabbed the wrong bag at the grocery store and wound up with sliced almonds rather than whole. While I probably could have gone back to the store to get the right kind of almonds, I just used my fingers to crush the sliced almonds into smaller pieces.
My dough rounds were much smaller than they should have been. You should divide the dough in half before chilling and then roll each half into a 16-inch round that is "a scant 1/4 inch thick". Somehow, my rounds measured about 10 and 14 inches across.
Clearly, I need to work on dividing dough evenly before working with it. My ability to "eyeball it" just isn't good enough these days.
After spreading raspberry jam and scattering the crushed-not-chopped almonds onto each round of dough, I was supposed to sprinkle sugar on top before cutting the rounds into wedges. Somehow, I completely skipped that step and the pre-measured sugar sat forgotten on the counter.
(I ultimately sprinkled the sugar on the rugelach after I rolled the wedges into miniature crescents.)
I also had trouble cutting the rounds into 12 wedges. Without really thinking about it, I ran our pizza cutter from edge to edge, confident that I was finally doing something right. Until I counted the wedges...
Yep, I had cut each round into 16 wedges. Not 12.
These rugelach were going to be different sizes for sure.
At this point, I just had to keep going out of sheer curiosity -- did I completely ruin them?
"Mommy Brain" made it excruciatingly difficult for me to follow a simple recipe, but I pushed through it, tweaked things as I went along to compensate for my mistakes, and the rugelach turned out just fine! Considering that I don't bake all that often -- although, I've been baking more and more over the past several months -- I think I recovered pretty well!
So, why tell you all of this?
Because I'm human. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes.
This day in age, it's really easy to get caught up in the chase for perfection, to want to give everyone around us the impression that we have our act together. But, sometimes things don't turn out the way we planned, even when we have the best intentions at heart.
And that's okay.
Mistakes will happen. It's how you choose to move forward that counts.
I could have stopped baking after realizing my first mistake.
But I chose to keep going.
I could have skipped writing about my rugelach-making experience and my series of mistakes.
But I chose to be honest.
I could have started over again to attain rugelach perfection.
But I chose to embrace the perfectly imperfect.
Have you ever failed to follow a recipe as written? Were the results disastrous or were you able to recover? Let me know in the comments!
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 6 ounces chilled cream cheese, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds, crushed slightly and toasted
- 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt.
- Add the diced butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size pieces of butter still visible.
- Add the cream cheese and pulse until the dough just starts to come together.
- Scrape the dough out onto a work surface covered lightly with flour and shape into a ball.
- Cut the dough in half and flatten each half into a disk. Wrap each disk tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour.
- Line two large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll one dough disk into a round approximately 1/4-inch thick.
- Spread half of the jam evenly over the dough in a thin layer and then sprinkle evenly with half of the almonds.
- Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the round into 16 wedges.
- Starting at the wide end, roll each wedge up, ending with the tip on the bottom, and arrange on the prepared baking sheets at least 1 inch apart.
- Repeat Steps 7-10 with the remaining dough disk.
- Place the baking sheets in the refrigerator and allow the dough to chill for 30 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Take the baking sheets out of the refrigerator and lightly sprinkle each rugelach with sugar.
- Bake the rugelach for 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Let the rugelach cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheets and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Serve immediately or store in an air-tighter container for up to 5 days.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go // adapted from Food & Wine
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