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TWD: Rugelach

Today is Election Day in the United States. As it happens, it is the day when the citizens of this great country will elect a new president to lead them forward into a somewhat scary and uncertain future. It is definitely the most exciting presidential election of my lifetime! By this time tomorrow, history will be made. For the first time in over 225 years, we will either have the first African-American president or the first woman vice-president. I honestly have no idea how it will turn out. I only hope and pray that whoever does win is truly up to the challenge of guiding us along this precarious road we’re on to the light at the end of this dark and winding tunnel.

Today would have also been my father’s 76th birthday. Most of my regular readers know that he passed away almost two years ago. He was also a naturalized citizen of the United States and one of the most patriotic men I ever knew. It has been my experience that naturalized citizens tend to be that way. I think it’s at least partly because they’ve chosen to adopt this country as their own, as opposed to being born into it. They had to work harder to get here!

Immigrants of my father’s era usually had to wait for years before being allowed permanent access to the U.S., and then had to have a sponsor here who would vouch for them. Even after they were given green cards, they had to wait several years and pass various tests before being granted United States citizenship. My father never took his citizenship for granted. He loved this country and the opportunities that it afforded him. He viewed voting as both a privilege and a responsibility, and taught me to look at it the same way.

By now, (if you’re still here), you’re probably wondering what the hell this has to do with cookies! Nothing, actually, except that when I left the house at 7:00 this morning to vote, I took a cup of coffee to go and grabbed a few of my delicious rugelach to help make the waiting easier.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was for a tasty little gem of a cookie called rugelach. Rugelach are rolled cookies made with a cream cheese based dough that is filled with sweet fillings such as chocolate, raisins and nuts, or preserves . Rugelach [1], which literally means “little twists” in Yiddish, has Jewish Ashkenazic [2] (Eastern European) origins. Originally, rugelach were made with yeast, but American Jews later introduced the cream cheese variety. They are wonderfully tender and flaky morsels that marry well with coffee, sweet wine or anything else you’d like.

I had never made rugelach before, although I have certainly eaten my share of them, and I was excited to attempt my own. The dough was a snap to put together and I must say that it was a beautiful dough to work with.

I decided to make two different batches of the cookies. Being somewhat of a rugelach purist, I decided to stick with the more traditional fillings of sugar, cinnamon, preserves, fruits and nuts. The first batch was filled with cinnamon sugar, peach-apricot preserves, golden raisins and chopped, toasted pecans. My second batch was filled with sugar, black cherry preserves, chopped almonds and some little micro-mini chocolate bits that I had that were about to expire. Both versions were exceptionally good, but I have to say that the apricot-filled ones were my favorites.

Many thanks to Piggy from Piggy’s Cooking Journal [3] for choosing this week’s recipe. If you’ve never made rugelach before, I urge you to give them a try. If I had realized how easy they were to prepare, I’d have done it long ago! You can find the recipe on Piggy’s site [4], as well as here. [5] Of course, it can also be found in Dorie’s book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. [6]

If you’d like to see what my TWD comrades have done with rugelach, check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll. [7]

Now, what are you waiting for. Grab a few rugelach and go vote!