Hm, after all that, I looked back at my blog and realized that I already shared one of the cookie recipes with you. So, it is just a single dose of recipe today. I imagine you are devastated. If not, please see above note about keeping me in ignorance.
Anyway, a few years ago I got in the "habit" (if doing something two years in a row counts as a "habit") of making cookie tins for some family members. The first year I made 5 different kinds of cookies. The next year, I made 3. This year, I trimmed it to a very sleek and slim 2 varieties. I highly recommend this to myself for any future cookie tins.
I made molasses spice cookies again, and rugelach. Both cookie recipes are from Dorie Greenspan, and can be found on the internet or in Dorie's Baking: From My Home to Yours.
I love rugelach--so tasty, and so festive in appearance. Perfect for a cookie tin.
I made this recipe twice. The first time I followed the recipe as is, putting all the filling ingredients into each cookie. The second time, I made half with the jam, cinnamon sugar, currants and nuts, and the other half with a brush of egg wash, cinnamon sugar, chocolate chips and nuts. You can play around with this recipe.
For the Dough
4 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into 4 pieces
1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
For the Filling
2/3 cup raspberry jam, apricot jam or marmalade
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup chopped nuts (I generally use pecans for any baking that calls for nuts, unless the recipe calls for peanuts, in which case I use peanuts--I won't get into this now)
1/4 cup plump, moist dried currants
2/3 cup mini chocolate chips (or 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, but the mini chips are so much easier)
For the Glaze
1 large egg
1 teaspoon cold water
2 tablespoons sugar, preferably decorating (coarse) sugar (I forgot this)
Notes: I like to make the dough, form the cookies, and freeze them at least a day beforehand just to break things up. If you freeze your cookies before baking, add a few minutes to the baking time (no need to defrost).
To make the dough, place the flour, salt, butter and cream cheese in a food processor.
Dorie says to pulse the dough 6 to 10 times, scraping down the sides as you go, then processing continuously until large curds form. I didn't scrape the sides down, just pulsed and then processed. I think it turned out okay. You don't want to process it so that it forms into a big ball--that's going too far and bad things will happen. Divide the dough in half, form each half into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day (or freeze for up to 2 months).
When ready to form the rugelach, take out 1 disk of dough and let rest on the counter for about 10 minutes. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the disk into a 11 to 12-inch diameter circle. Thinly spread half of the jam onto the dough circle.
Then sprinkle half the cinnamon-sugar mixture, currants, nuts and chocolate over the dough. Take a piece of wax paper (or plastic wrap) and gently press the filling ingredients down into the dough.
Rugelach pizza! Using a sharp knife or a pizze cutter, divide the disk into 16 wedges (start by quartering the pizza, then halving each quadrant into 8 pieces, and then halving each piece for a total of 16). Starting from the outside of each wedge, roll up tightly, ending with the tip tucked under the bottom.
The one on the right rebelled against the whole "tip under the bottom" instruction.
Place the formed rugelach onto a greased baking sheet (a greased/nonstick surface is important because some of the jam will seep out) and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes (or, you can freeze them, lightly covered, for up to 2 months).
Repeat with the second disk of dough.
Whenever you are ready to bake the rugelach, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the egg and water, and brush the tops of each cookie with the egg wash. If you remember (which I didn't), sprinkle the 2 TBS sugar over the cookies.
Bake the rugelach for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back midway through, until the rugelach are golden.
Remove each rugelach to a cooling rack.
Cameo by molasses spice cookies.
For packing the cookie tins, I bought some red and green packing filler from World Market and placed it at the bottom of the tin, and then nestled the cookies into muffin wrappers. For the larger molasses spice cookies, I flattened out the muffin wrappers into disks. I covered the whole thing with parchment paper before putting the lid on and sending the tins on their way.
Hail the cookie tin! Ta-da!