Hanukkah started at sun down on this past Wednesday. To no surprise, the chatter among my Twitter community is all about the food that they will prepare for this festive holiday. Latkes, matzo ball soup and even sufganiya, jelly doughnut, are some of the hot topics of the week. Granted I lived in New York and am familiar with the Jewish food culture, but I’m certainly no expert in cooking the dishes. Most Jewish households have their own favorite recipes, past down for generations or cookbooks written by experts such as Joan Nathan.
Since this is also Cookie Week, I will stick to my goyim approach and do what I know best. Rugelach is one of my favorite cookies. Biting into a slightly crispy sugary exterior, you will encounter a tender buttery dough wrapped fruit and/or nut filling. At that point, all I make are ooh and aah sounds until I recover.
Another ingredient that can produce the same reward would have to be Nutella, a hazelnut chocolate spread. This is also an ingredient that has a huge following in Twitterverse. Many have made delicious bake goods that highlight the seductive capability of Nutella. So I say, why not make Rugetella–rugelach with nutella filling?
Since Nutella is produced as a spread, it oozes out of a typical rolled up crescent shape rugelach, so I use a different technique. A sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts and Nutella spread sandwiched between two sheets of rugelach dough, baked in a baking pan until golden and slighty crispy. Unlike a bar cookie, Rugetella has a softer body, I cut them into small finger-size stripes to prevent them from crumbling.
Bake these Rugetella to celebrate Hanukkah, but since Nutella is a spread that everyone loves, why not archive this recipe and baked the Rugetella whenever you have the urge to hit that special spot. Have a wonderful holiday season and bake something special for your friends and family.
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart
make 24 1×3-3/4-inch bars
6 ounces (1-1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 ounces cream cheese
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup toasted hazelnuts
1/2 cup Nutella
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons sanding sugar, or granulated sugar
1. Place 1-1/2 sticks butter and the cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the cream cheese is broken down but butter is still chunky. On low speed, add flour and salt, and mix until crumbly and just beginning to hold together, about 20 seconds. There should still be some small pieces of butter visible. Divide dough into two equal parts. Form each part into a flattened rectangle, and wrap in plastic wrap. Transfer to the refrigerator to chill 5 hours or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 350℉. Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet; toast until golden and fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes. Wrap hazelnuts in tea towel and rub vigorously to get skin off. Finely chop hazelnuts
3. In a small bowl, add Nutella and chopped hazelnuts, stir to combine. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolk with the water, and set aside.set aside.
4. Lined a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper so it’ll have a 2-inch over hang along the length of the pan. Place a rectangle of dough between two 9-by-13-inch pieces of waxed paper; roll dough into a rectangle the size of the baking pan. Line prepared baking pan with dough. Spread dough evenly with Nutella nut mixture. Roll remaining rectangle of dough into a rectangle the size of the baking pan; place on top. Trim the edges of the dough so they are even. Brush the top of dough with eggyolk mixture, and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden, about 30-35 minutes, rotating halfway through. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 24 rectangles, approximately 1 x 3-3/4 inches each.