When I was younger, I had a real thing for the rugelach sold at Macy's Cellar in New York. Every trip to the Big Apple had to detour through Macy's so I could get my fix, and if Dad went up there on business, well, he had his instructions. A while back, Macy's re-thought the whole gourmet food thing and did away with most of it, including my favorite cookies. Others I've tried since then were good, but none had exactly the right flaky pastry.
I figured I should probably make my own, but I didn't want to fiddle around with rolling out dough. Martha's recipe required rolling, too, but as they were bar cookies, I figured I could get away with doing my own thing.
Not rolling the dough worked fine - the pastry was nicely flaky. However, the filling was not up to snuff. For one thing, the one tablespoon of cinnamon called for is Too. Much. Cinnamon. Seriously. And the granulated sugar made the filling unpleasantly gritty. Otherwise, my substitutions of almonds and hazelnuts for walnuts and dried cranberries for currants worked perfectly. Below is the recipe as I made it; next time I'd add more chocolate, and lower the sugar to about 3 tablespoons. Oh, and use about half the cinnamon!
Rugelach Bars (adapted from Martha Stewart)
1 cup (total) almonds and hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries
Grated zest of 1 orange
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons melted butter
1.5 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into small piece
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons sanding sugar, or granulated sugar
In a bowl, combine nuts, chocolate chips, cranberries, orange zest, corn syrup, sugar, and melted butter. Mix well until solid ingredients are coated by the syrup and butter. Set aside.
With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter and cream cheese together until mostly incorporated but some butter chunks remain. Add flour and salt and mix until just beginning to hold together. Divide dough into two parts. Press one part into a 9 x 13" inch pan. Spread the prepared filling evenly over the dough. Spread remaining dough as evenly as possible over filling. Refrigerate at least one hour or until ready to bake.
Preheat oven to 350F. Beat egg yolk and water together and brush over bars. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake rugelach bars in center of oven for 35 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into 30 or so bars.