(by Barbara Ballinger)
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 lb. unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 c. granulated sugar, divided
1/4 t. salt
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out the dough
1/2 c. light or dark brown sugar
1 t. cinnamon, divided
1 c. pecans, chopped fine
1/3 - 1/2 c. raspberry, apricot, or strawberry preserves
1 T. milk or water
In an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese and butter until light.
Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, salt, and vanilla.
Slowly add the flour, and mix until well combined.
Gather up and place on a well-floured board.
Roll into a ball.
Cut the ball into four parts, roll each into balls, and wrap each in waxed paper.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To make the filling, combine 6 T. granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 t. cinnamon, and the pecans.
On a well-floured board, roll one ball of dough into a circle of about 9 in. in diameter.
Spread the dough with some of the preserves, and sprinkle with some of the filling.
Press the filling lightly onto the dough.
Cut the circle into 12 pizza-shaped wedges.
Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge into a “snail” shape.
Repeat with remaining balls of dough.
Place the rugelach with points tucked under on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Chill for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Beat egg with milk or water, and brush each cookie.
Combine remaining 2 T. granulated sugar with remaining 1/2 t. cinnamon, and sprinkle on the cookies gently.
Bake for about 20 minutes, until browned.
Let cool on a wire rack.
Makes 4 dozen.
(Cookies can be frozen.)
(Read The Party Secret, the story that accompanies this recipe.)