flaky rugelach with filling variations

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who doesn't love rugelach?

this recipe is very adaptable for vegans if you switch out the dairy for vegan-friendly options like Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese and their Sour Supreme is pretty good, too. vegan subs for butter are available if you don't want to use margarine. the results were very good and yummy. and leave out the egg wash. just sprinkle sugar on top after you've brushed with melted vegan butter.
2 1/4 c (10 oz / 287 g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (1/2 oz) granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 c (8 oz / 227 g) unsalted butter, frozen and grated
8 oz (227 g) cream cheese
2 tbsp sour cream
1 c (4 5/8 oz) dried sour cherries
3/4 c (3 oz) walnuts, toasted
1 cup (7 oz) sugar
1/4 cup (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 cup semisweet chocolate minichips
2 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped fine
2/3 cup apricots preserve, processed briefly to break up large chunks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins, chopped
2 cups walnuts, finely chopped
1/3 c candied ginger
1/2 c dried cranberry
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 tsp allspice
3/4 c walnuts
1/4 cup (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, beaten with 2 tsp of milk
granulated, coarse or pearl sugar
1. dough:
  a) whisk together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.
  b) toss flour with butter bits and then with a pastry blender or 2 forks or 2 knives, blend your brick of cream cheese into the flour; add sour cream. gently blend until you get dough bits with substantial butter chunks.
  c) dump dough onto your clean, floured countertop and with a bench scraper, corral and gently pat your dough chunks into a squarish shape, 1-inch thick.
  d) roll into a rectangular shape about 1/2-inch thick. with your bench scraper, gently fold in half and give it a quarter turn (90º). dough will be very crumbly and possibly stick onto the roller. resist the urge to add too much flour or water.
  e) if the butter starts to melt, wrap and place in fridge for about 30 minutes to chill. letting it rest in between rolling will also allow the gluten to relax, leading to tender flakes of pastry.
  f) roll back into a rectangular shape, 1/2-inch thick. fold in half and turn. repeat 3 times. by the last roll, your dough should be more cohesive and uniformly smooth in texture. if you look at the dough from the side, you will see the layers that you've created like here.
  g) divide dough into 4 even pieces and press each piece into thick disks. roll into an 8 or 9-inch disk. freeze for 30 minutes or up to 1 month if stored in zipper-lock freezer bag.
FineCooking.com has excellent pictorial directions for rolling out flaky pastry here.
2. filling:
   1. for dry fillings: combine all the filling ingredients.
   2. for fillings with preserves: combine sugar and spices and set aside. when filling, spread with preserves, first, then sprinkle on sugar spice mix, then sprinkle on raisins, then the walnuts.
3. rolling with filling into crescent shape:
   a) work with one dough disk at a time, and keep the others refrigerated. place a disk on the work surface.
   b) spread 1/4 c of the filling over the dough, leaving 2 inch in middle and 1/2 in around the outside edge of the circle uncovered; pat fillings down into dough gently with fingertips.
   c) use a sharp knife or a pizza wheel to cut the circle into 8 equal wedges.
   d) starting at the wide (outside) edge of the wedge, roll it toward its narrow edge, as you would a crescent roll. at the wide edge, you can also cut a snip to give it a split tail which really does facilitate the rolling process, similar to making croissant.
   e) place the rolled wedges, tip down, on the prepared baking sheets 2 inches apart. curve each cookie into a crescent shape. repeat this process with the remaining dough. freeze them for 15 minutes (if well-wrapped, can be frozen in a zipper-lock bag up to 6 weeks).
4. meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions. preheat the oven to 350ºF. lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets. parchment recommended as the cookie filling will inevitably ooze.
5. remove from freezer and brush each crescent with some of the beaten egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar.
6. bake, turning baking pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time, until pale gold and slightly puffy, 21 to 23 minutes. carefully transfer hot, fragile cookies to cooling rack using thin-bladed spatula. (can be stored in an airtight container up to 4 days.)
interesting variations on rugelach doughs and fillings here.
Meal   BrunchCuisine   Jewish
Dish   CookieCooking Method   Baked
Main Ingredient   Rice/GrainsPrep Time   more than 2 hours
Cooking Time   15 to 30 minutes 
Features   Dairy-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

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