My relationship with baking Christmas cookies goes way back and sad to say, it’s been a rocky relationship at best.
From year to year, I try my damnedest not to leave anything out, but invariably, whenever it’s time to put away all the ingredients I find one unfortunate item left alone, bereft and shivering on the counter that was not used.
It usually doesn’t damage the cookies that much, and for the most part they come out tasty enough, but I really wish I was able to focus enough not to leave anything out at all.
There have been times, however, when the omissionwas disastrous. One year I baked with Marie. We made chocolate chip cookies without the walnuts, which wasn’t that bad. We made cream cheese cookies with out the cream cheese, which was not good. When it came to the Mexican wedding ball cookies, well let’s just say that flour, confectioners sugar and milk do not make a really good tasting cookie.
There was also the year that my sister-in-law Mary and I decided to make gingerbread cookies to hang on the tree. After leaving out a hefty portion of the flour and leaving them entirely too long in the oven, even with paint and embellishments, they were unworthy of anything other than the trash bin.
This past weekend, and in honor of Chanukah, my favorite channel, Create, offered tons of how-to cooking, baking and holiday themed shows, I decided to try my hand at making rugelach cookies. The recipe looked easy enough -- flour, cream cheese, butter and vanilla. I went online to double-check the correct proportion of ingredients and printed out the recipe sheet.
This particular recipe called for sour cream to be added. Not a lot, but nevertheless, sour cream. So I methodically took out all the items. I vowed not to leave out not even a pinch of salt. I measured the butter, sugar, flour, and cream cheese and put the sour cream container (there was just enough left for the recipe, why dirty another spoon?) next to the food processor. As I began following the directions,measuring, mixing and whirring, the phone rang, my husband wanted a spoon, my daughter was getting ready to go out and the dishwasher timer was going off. Somewhere between putting everything in, forming the dough discs and cleaning up I realized that the sour cream never made it in.
What to do, take the dough out and re-mix? Nah, who would know? So the dough went in to the fridge, I said not a word and crossed my fingers hoping for my own miracle.
After two hours in the fridge, I took out the dough, rolled it, added the filling, cut the cookies and put them in the oven to bake. They looked beautiful.
When they came out, all golden and smelling very cinnamony, I held my breath waiting for the final verdict from the best cookie judges around, my husband and daughter.
Their verdict? Well, there wasn’t a crumb left and no one -- not even myself -- missed the sour cream. In fact. the rugelach cookie has now become a family must-have right along withmiracle bar cookies and ice box pudding cake.