Cookies,  Dessert

Pumpkin Rugelach

The weather over the last few days is exactly what I love about living in Florida.  The humidity has left behind cool breezes ranging in temperatures from the mid 80s in the day to mid 60s at night.  My first Halloween here was when I feel in love with this climate.  When we were living up North the possibility of snow on Halloween was not uncommon.  Bundling the kids in winter coats totally covering their costumes; unless they were wearing masks or tiaras it was hard to see what the kids were dressed up as!

That first year on Halloween the evening was cool.  The kids were dressed in costumes and as we walked through the neighborhood people were sitting out in their driveway, not behind closed doors keeping warm, but sitting in chairs with family and friends passing out candy!  Home and after home was decorated.  It was so welcoming and fun!  Some of the families were grilling dinner enjoying a whole night of celebration.  I remember we walked and walked for hours!   Definitely accummulating more candy than my kids needed!

I do miss those days when I had little ones to walk through the neighborhood.  Halloween and all those pumpkins will always be dear to me!  And anyway I can slip in pumpkin to a recipe, you know I will!  Rugulach is always on my Chistmas Cookie tray so I thought I could easily swap out the sweet preserves with pumpkin.  As I don’t like overly sweet desserts, I only added 1 tablespoon of brown sugar to the pumpkin puree.  For a sweeter taste, increasing the tablespoon to two would sweeten it up more. 

As I make note at the end of the recipe, freezing half of the unbaked cookies to bake for another day allows me to be “party” ready for entertaining in the next month.  Pumpkin for me ends at Thanksgiving.  I give it my all for the months of October and November and then it’s over until next year!!

Pumpkin Rugelach

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa, Parties! Cookbook

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour or all-purpose white flour

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 cup pecans,  finely chopped

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash  In a large mixing bowl, cream the cheese and butter with the paddle attachment until light.  Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, salt and vanilla.  Add the flour and mix  until combined.  Dump the dough out onto a well floured board and roll into a  ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in pastic and refrigerate for  one hour, or overnight.

To make the filling, combine 6  tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon  cinnamon, the dried cranberries and pecans.  In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, tablespoon of brown sugar and cinnamon together and  refrigerate until needed.

On a well-floured board, roll each  ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons pumpkin  puree mix and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling.

Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with Slipat or parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon  cinnamon and  sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Note:  I baked half of the batch and froze the rest on a cookie sheet.  When completely frozen put  the unbaked cookies in a container and save for another time.  Do not defrost and bake for 2o minutes.  Can be frozen up to 2 months.  Great idea for holiday cookies all ready to go!

I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.


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