Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chocolate, Cranberry, and Pecan Rugelach

22 medical students.

11 cases of beer.

5 bathrooms.

1 house in Jamaica, Vermont.

No. Running. Water.
Sometimes I read over these posts and I think. Wow. It is amazing that anyone believes anything I say. Ever.

And most of the time, you are probably right in harboring some disbelief. (Hint. I exaggerate. Sometimes. Slightly.)

But this time. I am a hundred percent telling the truth. The whole truth. And nothing but the truth. So help me God.

We drove up to Vermont on Friday night. Didn't get in until around midnight. Had a few beers. Some Everclear-spiked hot chocolate to calm our nerves after almost getting lost (Dear Vermont city planners. If you could make your street signs bigger. That would be nice. If you could actually have street signs on every street. That would be even nicer.) And went to bed, preparing ourselves for a big day of skiing ahead of us.

Saturday. Up at eight. Most people were out by 8:30. I wasn't actually skiing due to this injury that I've been harboring for, oh the past decade or so, and so I waited around to drive the stragglers over. We eventually headed out around 11:30, had a day of skiing/drinking cappuccinos (ahem yes that was me), and all ended up back at the house around 5.

Three showers, one bath, and one dishwasher load later.

There is no hot water. Fine, we kind of expected that to happen. No problem, we'll just wait for the boiler to get its act together.

There is no cold water. Odd considering it is approximately 20 degrees outside.

And then it dawned on us. No hot. Plus no cold. Equals none. At. All.

Interject mass chaos here.
Now we all have our own coping mechanisms.

Some of us sneak into the kitchen and immediately start doing shots. (Yes, it was only about 6PM at this point. I believe the line of thinking was, "If I'm going to have to pee outside, I had better be drunk while I'm doing it.")

Some of us spend a half hour in the boiler room trying to analyze which of the three filters (if any) could be the source of the problem. And then attempt to turn each of them off in sequence in the hopes of bypassing the one that is stopping up the system. To no avail.

Some of us experience what is commonly referred to as denial. Keep chugging that beer. In fact, finish a whole case. But remember that what goes in. Must come out. Laws of physics. (I didn't graduate from MIT for nothing.)

Some of us drive the quarter of a mile to the 7-11 down the road and buy ten gallons of water. Not going to name any names. But that may or may not have been me.

Yes, we all react differently. Sometimes. Very differently.

One thing we all have in common? When presented with a situation in which there is no running water. We all eat cookies.

So while Saturday night will forever be remembered as The Night We Found Out What Living in a Third World Country Must Be Like. It will also be referred to as The Night We Ate 64 Rugelach.

It's a good thing the water was fixed by noon the next day. Otherwise there would have been another trip to the 7-11. Followed by a lot of baking.
Chocolate, Cranberry and Pecan Rugelach
Makes 64, highly adapted from The Bon Appetit Cookbook

1 cup butter, room temp
8 oz neufchatel, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
2 3/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
raspberry preserves
dried cranberries
chocolate chips
finely chopped pecans

1/3 cup half and half

1. Beat together butter and cheese in large bowl. then beat in the sugar until light. Gradually mix in flour and salt and when the dough comes together into a smooth ball (you might need to help the mixer with your hands), divide into 2 equal discs and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Divide each of the discs into four pieces (for a total of 8) before rolling out.

2. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. Split each dough disc into four equal pieces. Roll out into piece into an 8-inch round. Spread 2 tablespoons raspberry preserves over each, leaving 1-inch border. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, then 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar and 2 tablespoons pecans. Press filling firmly to adhere to dough. Cut dough round into 8 equal wedges. Starting at wide end of each wedge, roll up tightly. Arrange cookies, tip side down, on prepared baking sheet, spacing 1 1/2 inches apart and bending slightly to form crescents. Repeat 3 more times with remaining dough disks, preserves, dried cranberries, chocolate chips, cinnamon sugar and pecans.

3. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Brush cookies lightly with half and half. Bake cookies until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and cool completely.

This is my submission to Have the Cake!


Sweet and Savory said...

This is the second time I read this story, and it is as funny as the first. You do have an interesting life.

Your rugelach look too good. I love your choice of fillings.

I guess, when I get to make mine, I will have to make more than one filling. My first choice is apricot.

Wouldn't it be great if we all could share our joint efforts?

Sweet and Savory said...

There must be some irony here. You have photos of your rugelach as you discuss your efforts in finding water for personal use. Was that delicate enough?

Tori said...

I love this story, and the rugelach look wonderful!

Aux délices des gourmets said...

une belle gourmandise je te félicite
bonne soirée

Jen said...

That looks amazing!!

Vanillastrawberryspringfields said...

Hulllo again,love the wash of half and half u had on ur rugelach as muc as u did on the fillings too.....

ellebee said...

Everclear spiked hot chocolate? Yikes! Great story. Having lived without running water for over 36 hours during a bad winter storm, I can see how mass quantities of rugelach can help. :)