In theory, the recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Chip Ruggies sounded ideal: indulgent, versatile, and widely popular. After all, who can fault the raspberry-chocolate combination?
Indeed, whoever sampled these cookies had nothing but complimentary words for me, but at the end of the day -- and even several days afterwards -- I am disappointed. But I will be honest enough to say the recipe is not entirely to blame, some of it should also fall on my shoulders. The recipe I used is from "The SoNo Baking Company Cookbook" (follow this link for my review of the cookbook, and follow this link to see how SoNo's Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars turned out).
Once again, I was unable to locate the recipe online and don't feel comfortable typing it out verbatim, so I will briefly outline what went into these cookies. In the dough: all-purpose flour, baking powder, unsalted butter, cream cheese, granulated sugar, coarse salt, egg yolks, vanilla extract.
For the filling: granulated sugar, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, seedless raspberry jam, semisweet mini chocolate chips; egg for egg wash, and sanding sugar for finishing.
My first batch was a disaster. The dough was not rolled out thin enough and the recommended amount of jam ended up being too thick, so that when the cookies baked, the jam oozed out and hardened until it became a sticky, icky, hard crunchy halo around each cookie. While there was no photo of how the baked rugelach should look in this cookbook, I've seen enough rugelach to know the jam shouldn't be darkening in colour so that it turns brown. Perhaps the baking time should be less, or perhaps strawberry jam would be a good substitution.
With the second batch, I spread half the amount of jam on the dough, rolled it out even more, and then realized when it was in the oven that I had forgotten to add the sugar filling to both of the batches.
In the third batch, the dough was fine, I had the right amount of jam, and I remembered to add the filling. These cookies were delicious but I was still so unimpressed with the messy final appearance of the rugelach that I refused to let only but my closest family members see them.
Substitutions: None in this case. But in the future I would substitute teeny tiny chocolate chips for the regular-sized ones. In fact, the colour photo accompanying the recipe depicted the smaller chips; but the recipe did not specify that readers should use them. It should have, as the regular-sized chips are too large for this recipe. They ended up spilling out of the dough and burning. I will also use apricot jam in the future as a lighter-coloured jam will be more forgiving if it spreads and the end result will be more dainty.
Would I make these again? I'm not sure -- perhaps. Like I said above, I'd like to try making them with apricot jam and mini white chocolate chips. At the same time though, it seems like too much of a hassle. It might just be easier to buy rugelach at a bakery.
Grade: Two-and-half-stars out of five. Yes, the taste was there. But before any sweet hits my lips, I am savouring them with my eyes and that is half the enjoyment. These rugelach just looked clumsy. Something else that grated on my nerves, as the pedantic editor I am, is that the recipe missed a key direction.
The recipe tells readers to bake one sheet at a time and rotate the sheet about two-thirds of the way through the baking time. But the instructions fail to mention why we should set out two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and where we should place the cookie sheet first, and at what point we should move it. I've baked enough to guess what they meant, but I was scratching my head and stamping my feet out of frustration. Not impressed. Not impressed at all.