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Real California Rugelach

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Ingredients:

Dough: – 1 pint small-curd Real California cottage cheese (4% fat) – 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface – 1/8 teaspoon salt – 1 cup (2 sticks) cold, unsalted Real California butter, cut into 1/4-inch slices Filling: – 1/2 cup sugar – 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon – 4 tablespoons apricot jam (see tip) – 1 cup finely chopped walnuts

Directions:

Prep time: 50 minutes, plus time for cottage cheese to drain and dough to chill

Cook time: About 90 minutes

To make dough: Place cottage cheese in a medium-mesh strainer over a bowl; set aside to drain, stirring occasionally, for 2 hours. Measure 1 cup strained cottage cheese; set aside (save remaining cottage cheese for another use).

Place flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Scatter strained cottage cheese over mixture and pulse until dough ball forms (dough may be soft); transfer to a lightly floured work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces. Shape each into a 3/4-inch-thick disk, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 3 days.

To finish cookies: Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll 1 dough disk out to a 10- to 11-inch circle, 1/8-inch thick. Spread with 1 tablespoon jam; sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar mixture and 1/4 cup walnuts. Use a rolling pin to lightly press filling into dough.

With a sharp knife, cut dough into 16 equal pie-shaped pieces. Starting at wide end, roll each piece into a small crescent roll shape; arrange rolls on the prepared baking sheet, 1 inch apart, tips down. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. (If jam oozes out or bottoms get too brown, move cookies to clean spots on the baking sheet.) Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes, then carefully transfer cookies to the rack to cool thoroughly; repeat with remaining dough, replacing the foil for each batch.

Store cooled rugelach in an airtight container. Makes 64 (1 1/2-inch) cookies.

Tip: If the jam is runny, strain it first—place about 1/2 cup in a coarse-mesh strainer over a bowl and set aside until the runnier parts have separated, about 2 hours. Use 1/4 cup of the strained jam for the recipe.

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