My new and improved twist on a traditional Rugelach cookie is so addictive with flaky, buttery, melt in your mouth pastry. I have created my own version of this pastry with a new technique discovered quite by accident in 2012. This Italian style version uses Nutella and mini chocolate chips in the filling.
COOKS NOTES: Use your food processor to make this pastry in less than 5 minutes! Don't over process; leave bits of butter and cream cheese showing in the dough. To achieve a flaky layered croissant- like dough I have discovered an easy technique of rolling and folding the dough 4 times (in thirds like a letter) before refrigerating and resting. Use good quality ingredients as the taste of this pastry depends on it. I use Plugra butter, Daisy sour cream, and Philadelphia cream cheese. Yeah! FULL FAT, no low fat here. I also like the vanilla specks in Neilsen Massey vanilla bean paste. Stir the jar of Nutella first and then spread the 1 inch from the edge of the dough circle; smear in a circular motion in an even layer. Use a small offset spatula. Use a floured pizza wheel to cut the dough. The trick is to work with this dough cold; if it becomes too warm, return it back to the refrigerator for 30 minutes to firm up. —Lorraine Fina Stevenski
MAKE THE PASTRY: To the bowl of a large food processor, add the flour and salt; pulse to aerate. Cut the butter and cream cheese into chunks. Add to the food processor with the sour cream, sugar and vanilla bean paste. Pulse a few times just until crumbly and when pinched the dough stays together. Pieces of butter and cream cheese should still be visible in the dough.
On a lightly floured surface turn out the dough. Gently knead into a ball and slightly flatten. Roll into a rectangle and fold into 3 like a letter. Repeat 2 more times. Cut the dough into 4 portions. Roll each into a ball and then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm; preferably overnight. This dough must be COLD to work with.
MAKE THE COOKIES: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line four 1/2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Remove 1 piece of dough at a time from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface (use Wondra flour), roll the piece of dough into a circle. Flour and turn the dough once or twice as not to stick to the surface. Use an 8" - 9" dessert plate as a guide to cut the circle. Wrap the scraps in plastic and refrigerate. With a small offset spatula, spread Nutella 1" from the edge of the circle in an even layer that is about 1/4" thick. Lightly sprinkle chocolate chips over the Nutella. Use a floured pizza wheel to cut the circle into 8 equal wedges. Roll each wedge beginning with the wide end and ending with the narrow end. Dip the rolled cookie in vanilla sugar. Place 9 to each cookie sheet. Form each cookie into a crescent shape and pinch each tip. The end of the cookie should be on top and should be slightly pressed with your finger as not to separate while baking. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces of dough. Roll the refrigerated scraps into a ball, roll into a circle and repeat the process.
Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. As the pastry bakes it should have a crunchy crust and a caramelized base. Cool on the pan 15 minutes before removing to cool completely on a tray before storage.