The "Years Past" footer on our blog posts is as much for our benefit as it is for yours. We enter it manually on each post and it forces us to look at back at what we've done in the past. This can be very helpful at times. On January 26, 2016 we were playing around with using cream cheese dough rugelach dough for sugar cookies. It reminded me that I happened to have some rugelach dough in the fridge that was supposed to be for Alex's fig newton project but had been forgotten in the midst of several other projects that had taken precedence. I had been meaning to test out rolling this dough in powdered sugar for a couple of years now and it seemed like an opportune moment.
Back in the days when we worked at Clio, there was a dessert made with layers of brik (or feuille de brick) dough. The dough was simply cut out in rounds, brushed with butter and dusted on both sides with powdered sugar, before being baked in and under sheet pans. They came out as little burnished disks that reminded me were thin, crisp, buttery, and sweet. I love the idea of rolling out sugar cookies in powdered sugar to get and extra crisp texture but most dough are too sweet. Rugelach dough is not overly sweet and it has the perfect texture to create a simple cookie that you can sink your teeth into. So today I rolled some dough out in powdered sugar, dusting it heavily on the top and bottom, and then added some raw sugar on top for extra crunch. Then I baked them at 300°F for 20-22 minutes, in the style of our Bordeaux-Style Cookies in Maximum Flavor.
When I tasted one I was transported back to high school. A french bakery had opened up on Austin street, just down the block from the subway station, and we walked past it every day on our way home from the train. They had these cinnamon twists, which were long sticks of puff pastry that were impossibly crisp and buttery, with the warm heat of cinnamon and a crackly sugar coating. These cookies reminded me of them, sans the cinnamon, in all the best ways, only better. I realized that memory was what I had been chasing in the first place. The cookies had risen slightly and were crisp-tender, with the sweetness of butter and little tang from the cream cheese in the dough. The sugar gave them a delicate crunch and they were sweet without being sickly. They had a richness and full flavor that is often lacking in sugar cookies and they had a sweetness that lingered on the tongue making me want to reach for another bite. Darned near perfect, if I do say so myself.
January 26, 2005