We’re in the thick of it. We’re in deep.
There’s no use fighting the heaps of cookies, the balls of popcorn, the piles of chocolate bark, not to mention the pound of toffee I just devoured… it’s the holiday season and really the best way to show our deepest sentiments is with golden baked sugar in some form, right?
These Fruit Cake Rugelach are a play one a holiday pink (or is it white?) elephant, that dreaded dense and oddly moist loaf of fruit cake.
To be fair, Fruit Cake is like Brussels Sprouts…. you think you hate them until you have one done riiiight. I know how to master a sprout. Afterall, there’s little that bacon and hard roasting won’t make delicious. With Fruit Cake though… I thought it best to cut my loses and cookie them, housing simplified fruit cake flavors in tender, rolled cookie dough.
If you’re making cookies, surely you have a friend who must be making cookies in their kitchen, too! Invite them (and their cookies) over for a good old-fashioned cookie swap! The more the merrier as long as there are plenty of cookies, paper cups and boxes to wrap them in.
In other cookie considerations, please see: Cardamom Spiced Stained Glass Cookies.
Also… cookie swaps don’t have to be a pre-Christmas-only endeavour. Those precious days between Christmas and New Year’s day are prime days to bake and exchange treats. Winter cookies are totally a thing.
In this Fruit Cake cookie adventure, we’re essentially making sweet dough wedges and rolling them into cookie shapes.
Here’s what you’ll need to bring these tender cookies filled with fruit together:
• Softened cream cheese and Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening (both work to make the dough tender)
• Granulated sugar and all-purpose flour
• Dried cherries, golden raisins, pitted dates
• Brown sugar and ground cinnamon and nutmeg for spice flavor
• Salt and pure vanilla extract for balance
We’ll start by adding Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening to the mixing bowl along with cream cheese and granulated sugar. Mix on low-speed until the three ingredients are well combined. This may mean stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the bowl.
We’ll add pure vanilla extract, flour, and salt to finish off this soft and tender dough. It’s really so simple!
The dough finds its way to a floured counter where we’ll flour it into a soft disk.
The dough will be a bit sticky, that’s ok! Just flour it well.
Divide the disk into equal quarters.
And wrap each quarter individually.
The dough will need some time in the refrigerator to chill before rolling out.
While the dough chills we’ll assemble the filling.
It starts with brown sugar, granulated sugar, and spices. We’ll sprinkle this mixture inside the cookies making things understandably delicious.
Next up, fruit and nuts!
Walnuts are chopped. We’ll want all of our fruit and nut filling fairly fine since there’s a lot going into these little cookie rolls.
Golden raisins finely chopped too. Sure it’s a sticky endeavor, but entirely worth it.
You could also use dried apricots if you’re adverse to raisins.
Plump and dried pitted dates- that earthy sweetness, chopped fine.
I also added chopped dried cherries.
The chopped nuts are mixed with the chopped fruit.
So here’s what we have on hand:
• sugar and spice mixture
• chopped fruit and nut mixture
Now it’s time to welcome everything together!
We’ll start with one of the chilled wedge at a time, leaving the other three dough-brothers in the refrigerator to stay chilled.
The dough is rolled on a well-floured surface.
To create a precise circle, I placed a 9-inch round cake pan across the dough and trimmed the edges away.
The dough will be about 1/4 inch thick. Thick enough to hold a good schmear of jam, sugar and spice, and fruit and nuts.
The thicker the base, the easier it is to roll.
Jam is spread across the dough.
Cinnamon + sugar is sprinkled generously.
Fruit and nuts, too!
We’ll slice the dough into 12 wedges.
It’ll look like a fruity sweet pizza and that’s exactly right.
Now let’s start to rugelach these little gems.
We’ll start at the wide end of the cookie wedge and lightly but tightly roll the cookie towards the center, gathering all of the jam and fruity goodness inside.
Place each cookie on a parchment lined cookie sheet, about just and inch or so apart.
We’ll crack an egg and make a wash for brushing.
Lightly brush each cookie with beaten egg,
and sprinkle generously with more cinnamon sugar.
Bake until golden, and bubbling and caramelized around the edges.
Fruit Cake Rugelach Cookies
- Prep Time: 90
- Cook Time: 15
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- 1 cup Crisco® Butter-Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup lightly packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
- ¾ cup coarsely chopped golden raisins
- ½ cup coarsely chopped pitted dates
- ½ cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
- ½ cup seedless raspberry preserves
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 large egg, beaten
- To make the cookie dough, combine shortening, cream cheese, and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until thoroughly combined at medium speed. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt on low speed until well combined.
- Transfer the soft dough to a well-floured work surface and divide into 4 pieces. Wrap each piece in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- To make the filling, combine the sugars, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In a separate small bowl toss together walnuts, raisins, dates, and cherries. Set aside.
- When you’re ready to roll the cookies, on a lightly floured work surface, working with one dough ball at a time, roll the dough into a 9-inch circle. I use a 9-inch round cake pan to measure the dough and trim the edges clean.
- Spread a very thin layer of raspberry preserves on the dough (about 2 tablespoons per cookie dough round).
- Sprinkle the dough with the spiced sugar mixture and fruit mixture; press gently. Keep in mind that the filling mixtures need to be divided between four dough rounds.
- Use a pizza cutter to divide the dough round into quarters, and each quarter into thirds, creating 12 wedges. Starting from the wide edge, roll the dough and filling towards the tip, pressing gently.
- Transfer rolled cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet and repeat with all of the dough rounds and filling. Chill for 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking.
- To top the cookies before baking, toss together sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. In a separate small bowl beat egg with a splash of water.
- Brush cookies lightly with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool to room temperature.
- Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 5 days.