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Hazelnut and Brown Sugar Rugelach

Hazelnut and Brown Sugar Rugelach
This tasty variation on a Jewish favorite combines hazelnuts and brown sugar instead of the traditional walnuts and granulated sugar. They are also delicious made with pecans or walnuts.

Ingredients:

  • For the pastry:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • For the filling:
  • 1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 a stick) cup unsalted butter,
     melted and cooled

  • For the topping:
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg white, beaten with 1 Tbs. water

Directions:

To make the pastry, in a large bowl, combine the butter and cream cheese. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat until smooth. Mix in the salt. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour, and mix just until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Using floured hands, form the dough into a log. Cut into 4 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk and wrap separately in waxed paper. Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours or as long as overnight.

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

To make the filling, spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast, stirring occasionally, until they deepen in color and the papery skins begin to pull away, about 10 minutes. Let cool, then chop finely. Increase the oven temperature to 375°F.

Butter 2 baking sheets. Let the dough disks stand at room temperature for about 10 minutes to soften slightly. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, granulated sugar and cinnamon.

Flour 1 dough disk and place between 2 sheets of waxed paper. Roll out into a round 10 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Remove the top sheet and brush the dough with the melted butter, then sprinkle with 3 Tbs. of the sugar mixture. Top with about 1/3 cup of the nuts. Using a rolling pin, gently roll over the filling to help it adhere to the dough. Cut the round into 12 wedges. Starting at the wide end, roll up each wedge. Transfer to a prepared baking sheet, arranging the cookies point-side down and spacing them 1 inch apart.

To make the topping, in a small bowl, mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Brush the cookies with the egg white–water mixture, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar topping.

Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool. Repeat with the remaining dough, filling and topping. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, After Dinner, by Kristine Kidd (Time-Life Books, 1998).