Soft sand, blue water, permanent sun, cool breeze: a spontaneous mid-March trip to Miami from dreary-as-hell New York City. Peel off the sweaters and the socks. Throw on a bikini and a floppy hat. The sun toasts shoulders that haven’t felt warmth in months. I’m drunk with the pleasure of heat. Sunburn or bust.
I stole away this year for a weekend of tropical bliss with three friends. When we got back, I made rugelach inspired by the flaky guava pastries we ate in between our morning beach session and afternoon pool hang.
The texture of guava paste varies depending on the brand. You may need more or less water to soften the guava paste. It should be the texture of a very thick, spreadable jam.
Prepare the dough: In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and salt until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and beat until evenly moistened. Tip out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and bring it together. Divide the dough in half. Wrap each half with plastic wrap and shape into a disk. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days (alternatively, you can freeze the dough for up to 1 month).
Prepare the guava filling: In a small saucepan, heat the guava paste over medium-low heat with 2 to 3 tablespoons of water, as needed, smashing it occasionally, until it is smooth and jam-like but not too thin, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.
Prepare the cream cheese filling: In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of dough to an 11-inch circle. (If at any point the dough becomes too soft, you can transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet and pop it into the fridge for a few minutes.) Spread half of the cream cheese mixture on the top of the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch bare border. Top with half of the guava mixture, and sprinkle with half of the coconut. With a pizza wheel or sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 equal triangles. Starting from the wide end, roll up each triangle. Place at least 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Chill the cookies for 15 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough, cream cheese mixture, guava mixture, and coconut and transfer to another prepared sheet. Chill.
Heat the oven to 375°F. Brush each cookie with the beaten egg and bake until they are puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets once. Transfer the baking sheets to a wire rack to cool