I found this recipe on epicurious after Lou made a request for cookies and I realized I had cottage cheese that needed to be used up. (One of the great things about using Epicurious is you can search by ingredient.) Rugelach are like little crescent rolls that in this case are filled with a brown sugar/walnut mixture. If you are reluctant to make a rolled cookie, this is a great recipe to try. The dough at first may seem a little sticky, but after being refrigerated, it is very easy to work with. The dough calls for just three ingredients- Cottage cheese, margarine, and flour. The obvious change that must be made here is to use butter instead of margarine. Because, as you should well know after reading this blog, we do not use margarine in anything- and if you forget why, just remember simply that margarine is not natural and more specifically, the trans fats will eventually kill you. I replaced the margarine with unsalted butter, which I always use in baking and cooking so I can control the salt content. This required an addition of about 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, which would equal about 1/2 teaspoon table salt. I tasted the dough to determine this. If you use salted butter, you may not need to add any salt as one stick of butter contains about 1/2 teaspoon on average.
With the above substitution and addition of salt, these came out to be some top notch cookies. They are dangerously easy to scarf down, and as I've just determined, make for an excellent breakfast treat with your coffee- like a mini danish. Here's the recipe, revamped:
Cottage Cheese Rugelach with Walnuts
(based on this recipe from Bon Appetit, March 1996)
2/3 cup small-curd cottage cheese
2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (about 2 ounces)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk
Mix cottage cheese and 2/3 cup butter in a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in flour and salt until dough is smooth, about 1 minute. Divide dough into 2 balls. Flatten into disks. Wrap each in plastic; freeze until firm enough to roll, about 10 minutes, or place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, vanilla and 3 tablespoons margarine in a food processor. Blend until almost smooth paste forms.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll out 1 dough disk on lightly floured surface to 10-inch round. Spread half of brown sugar mixture evenly over. Cut round into 16 wedges. Starting at wide ends, roll up wedges. Bend ends in, forming crescents. Place on ungreased heavy baking sheet. Repeat rolling, filling and shaping with remaining dough disk.
Beat egg and milk to blend in small bowl. Brush glaze over crescents. Bake until cooked through and light brown, about 25 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)