As cute and delicious as I’m sure it would be, this recipe is not about putting adorable little bow ties on brownies. This recipe is about a very tasty mashup between a rugelach dough and a brownie filling. It came from a cookbook I got as a present on my birthday this year. I actually got three awesome cookbooks that day. So I guess word is getting around that I like to bake. 😉
I made these cookies for my family’s annual 4th of July party. (I made these for last year’s party.) They seemed like fun and good for a party. Plus the recipe made a lot, which always helps for crowds. The book was a present from my mom, and I thought she would enjoy that I used it to make something for the party that she was hosting.
The recipe starts with a rugelach dough. For the those of you who aren’t familiar with rugelach, you can read more about them here. So I made the dough first, on a Tuesday night. (The party was on the upcoming Saturday.) It was pretty quick and easy. It only took about half an hour including stopping to take pictures a bunch of times.
I got to use our KitchenAid again! Woo hoo! (You can read about the first installment of the KitchenAid adventures here.) I started doing stuff with it, and then I was like, “Oh wait, I don’t have to do anything. It’s doing its own thing. I can go off and do other stuff.” I can’t tell you how much I love it. Okay, I guess I can. I love it a lot.
When measuring out the flour, I used my scale as usual. It called for 11.25 ounces of flour and I guessed it right on the first try. I dumped out a bunch, and voilà! It was 11.25 ounces exactly. I know I really shouldn’t get that excited about it, it’s not like I guessed the right number for the lottery, but sometimes it’s the little things that make one’s day.
The recipe said to mix it until it looked like “very coarse bread crumbs”. I wasn’t sure how it would look, but it got there quick enough. Mixing the cream cheese was very quick. Maybe I had it on too high of a speed, but it was very quick to mix up. I don’t know if it was even the 30 seconds the recipe called for. Have I told you how much I love our KitchenAid? (I swear I’m not shilling for them. I’m legitimately just enjoying it.)
I kneaded the dough and split it into pieces. I used a scale to measure the pieces, because otherwise I’m not sure I would have gotten the pieces so even. I measured out the size on the cutting board and used that as a guide for flattening. I wrapped the dough and left it in the fridge. I aimed to make the filling and finish up the cookies the next day.
The next day I started on them late, around 11pm. It was actually pretty quick to make the filling. Instead of doing a double boiler for the chocolate, I microwaved it. This had worked well for me in the past and worked well here, too. I mixed in stuff by hand. I used liquid eggs instead of the regular eggs called for in the recipe. It took a total of 20 – 25 minutes, including getting all the ingredients and washing the necessary dishes and utensils. I put the filling in the fridge to firm up. The bowl was too big, but better safe than sorry.
A little while after it was done firming up, I started on the dough. It called for rolling out the dough to 9″ x 11″. I measured a cutting board which I used to roll the dough on. It was 9″ one way, and I measured out 11″ the other way to a specific spot on the board. (It has an interesting pattern, so it was easy to remember which part of the pattern on the board was the 11″ mark.) That way I wouldn’t have to measure the dough each time, I could use the board as a reference. I floured the board and the rolling pin, maybe a bit too much, but again better safe than sorry.
I shoulda let the dough sit out a little bit more, as it was a little bit tough to roll. I more or less used the smitten kitchen method for rolling out the dough. I cut it, but I wasn’t paying attention to the instructions right. I cut rectangles instead of squares. I smooshed it back up and rolled it out again. This time was much easier. I cut along the edges of the cutting board to trim, and along the mental mark I had made on the fourth side.
I wasn’t sure exactly how much filling to put in so I estimated. (Later I split up the filling into parts so I could better gauge each round.) Per the instructions I filled the dough, I wet one bit, folded it over, pressed and sealed. It was pretty easy and fun once I got the hang of it. Some were a bit too filled, but oh well. I did one round as I thought that’s all I could fit. (As I found out later, I could fit more on the sheets.) And I also wanted to get them started. I brushed them with milk, and sprinkled them with sugar. I guessed on how much to use of both of those too.
I used parchment paper on the cookie sheets. I arranged the racks in the “upper and lower thirds of the oven” as directed. The recipe said to bake for 18-20 minutes. I baked them for 18 minutes. As suggested, after 9 minutes I rotated the pans from top to bottom and front to back, followed by the other 9 minutes. It was just right. They were nice and brown.
As the first batch was cooking, I started on the second batch. They were almost ready to go in after the first batch came out. While finishing the next batch, it gave enough time for the cookie sheets to cool before I reused them. I repeated this process throughout, reflouring each time, although not nearly as much. Each round was 18 minutes. In later rounds I realized I could do all 12 cookies from each round on one sheet. I still rotated bottom to top and front to back though.
At the end, I had a bit of extra sugar leftover, so the last batch got extra. I planned it out pretty well with the filling though, so that ended up right. The chocolately filling busted out of some of them, but that’s to be expected. Some had more or less filling, and some of the squares were a little bigger or smaller.
As they were cooling I consolidated them. This let me reuse the pieces of parchment paper once or twice until they got too much debris on them. I left them on the remaining parchment paper to cool, but I reused the cookie sheets. I let them cool on the rack. I did not use any of the optional cinnamon or nutmeg on top. They looked amazing. They smelled good, but not overpowering. After they cooled, I put them into plastic containers, which were good for storage, as well as transport to the party.
I made 48, which is exactly what they said you would make. That wasn’t a surprise, as the directions had you dividing the dough very specifically. On the last batch, which had a lot of sugar on it, you could see the sugar all over the chocolate. Fun!
So the million dollar question: how were they? They were kinda great. It didn’t necessarily seem so up front, but they ended up edging towards the realm of what I call ridiculous desserts. As in, this is so complex and amazing that it’s almost too ridiculous to exist. At some point I realized they’re like dessert versions of pigs in a blanket.
They had a nice taste. Kind of like how they smelled, they were subtle and not overpowering. Sophisticated almost. Someone described them as tasting nostalgic, like an old-fashioned cookie. A nice simple cookie surrounding a yummy chocolate filling. And as a fun side note, they fit together kinda like puzzle pieces. People ate them up.
They turned out to be a little bit more work than I had anticipated, but they were fun to make and totally worth it. Do you have any recipes that are labor intensive but worth the results? Any “ridiculous desserts”? Any party favorites that you like to make over and over? Let me know!
Recipe courtesy of Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt In Your Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich.