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 Make it Low Carb by Joan Hedman

Making an Amazing Low Carb Rugelach...

You know, this is the time of year when you should avoid taking on unnecessary stress. It seems that everywhere you go, a new task awaits, and everyone you know needs a favor. If you're anything like me, I'm sure you've all got more than enough tasks on your to-do list already.

So why am I writing about such a complicated little cookie?

Maybe because this is as close to strudel as I can get while still remaining somewhat faithful to my low carb diet. Maybe it's because they're really not that difficult, once you get the hang of it.

Most especially, it's because these cookies are so delightful, I'm sure you'll love them as much as I do.

Converting this recipe was challenging in a couple of areas. Traditionally, the filling uses apricot jam, and I started out thinking I could just use my reduced sugar preserves. They taste good, but it turned out that mixing up my own jam for the filling significantly reduced the carb count, so away went the pre-made jam.

The real challenge was the dough. My first attempt used no all purpose (AP) flour, just my old standbys, vital wheat gluten flour, oat flour, and almond flour. The taste was very good, but the dough had no structural integrity (as my engineering friends would say); the cookies literally fell apart. So it was back to my spreadsheet to work the numbers, and then back in the kitchen to work the dough.

I probably could have reduced the amount of AP flour even more, and added back in the vital wheat gluten and oat flours. But the fact is, a single cup of AP flour divided among 24 cookies doesn't do that much damage, and keeping it in yields a dough that is both elastic enough to roll and nicely flaky when baked. I simply wasn't willing to sacrifice the texture for the savings of a single gram of carbohydrate per cookie!

I hope you are happy with the final recipe.

Low Carb Rugelach
Makes 24 cookies.

Dough
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese, softened Low Carb Rugelach
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 1/2 C almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Filling
  • 1/4 C Splenda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 T raisins, chopped fine
  • 1/4 C walnuts, chopped fine
Jam Topping
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 T water

First, make the dough. Combine the butter, cream cheese, regular flour, almond flour, and salt in a medium size bowl. The mixture will become both stiff and sticky; mix well to make sure that no lumps of butter, cream cheese or flour remain. Scrape out the bowl onto a piece of plastic wrap; wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before continuing.

While the dough is chilling, make the jam: measure the apricots and sugar free syrup into a microwave-safe container, and microwave on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Let the apricots soak until they are tender, then tip the softened apricots and cooking liquid into your food processor or blender and puree it to make a smooth jam. Set aside.

Next, reserve a tablespoon of your measured Splenda. Then chop the raisins and walnuts into very small pieces, or the bits will tend to fall out of the cookies! Combine the chopped raisins and walnuts, the remaining Splenda, and the cinnamon; stir well.

When the dough is well chilled, separate it into three even portions. Roll each portion into a ball; wrap two of the balls and place them back into the refrigerator while you assemble the cookies.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil for easier clean up.

Roll out the dough into an approximately 7-inch circle. Because this dough is made with almond flour, it doesn't have the elasticity than a strictly AP flour dough would have, so don't try to stretch it. You can use a rolling pin or just put it out into a circle using your hands. Spread one third (about 2 tablespoons) of the apricot jam over the entire surface, and then sprinkle with one-third of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Lightly press the raisins and nuts into the jam to help them adhere.

Cut the dough into eight wedges. Then, one by one, roll each cookie up, starting from the broad end, up to the tip. If the dough seems sticky, use your fingers to gently lift it up from beneath as you roll it. Place each cookie on the prepared cookie sheet, tip side down to prevent unrolling. Curve the edges around to give the cookie a characteristic crescent shape.

Repeat this process with the remaining dough balls. It helps if you clean your hands and your work space in between batches; bits of jam and raisins tend to make things sticky.

When all the cookies have been rolled out, combine the egg yolk and water and beat well. Brush each cookie with the egg mixture, then sprinkle very lightly from the reserved tablespoon of Splenda.

Bake in the center of a preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, until light golden brown. The cookies are very fragile when warm, so allow to cool slightly on the pan before removing them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Approximate nutrition information per cookie:
130 calories; 11 g fat; 6.2 g carbohydrate; 0.6 g fiber; 1.6 g protein.

Variation: Prune Rugelach: Omit the raisins; substitute 1/4 C prunes for the apricots, and replace the sugar free syrup with water. Continue as before, making prune puree instead of apricot. Nutrition information will run about the same, since prunes are higher in carbs than apricots, but we're leaving out the raisins.

Another New Year is just around the corner, the one time of year when it seems most everyone is "dieting." But low carb's not a diet, it's a way of life, so my focus will be on real food. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions, please write.

                                                

Copyright © December 2006  Joan Hedman and Low Carb Luxury




       

 

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