Raisin in the Sun

Or does it explode?
It’s hot, hot, hot.
Summer is coming.
The other day, it was about 90 degrees here in Ithaca, which translates to approximately 110 degrees on the inside of a certain little red Volvo.
Obviously, I raced home and did the one thing any sane person would do in the heat:
I turned on my oven.
My pup has never faired well in the heat, but as she ages, it becomes even more difficult for her.
Her lethargy is taken to a whole new level.
The other day, I took her on a walk (it was cool, but the sun was very strong), and, right in the middle of it, she sat down.
And refused to move.
She is no lightweight, either.  When a 95-100 lb chocolate lab makes up her mind to sit, your walking plans better change, pronto.
What ensued must have looked hilarious to passerby, but was most certainly not amusing for me.
We had stopped at the bottom of a shallow hill.
When Ginger decided she could take no more and wanted to go back, I realized her mortal mistake, but it would take her a few more minutes to come to the same realization.
We had to turn around and go UP the hill.  In the sun.  
Actually, she didn’t go up the hill.  She sat.
I pulled.  I pushed.  I wanted to carry her, but that would have been a feat perhaps to great for me.
I was sweating.
She was panting.
I was mad.
She sat.
When we got home, the poor old dear was panting so heavily, she sounded the way I do when I’m having a panic attack.
She slumped down on the cool stone floor of our porch.
I set a bowl of ice water near her and strategically placed a fan aimed at her belly.  
So lazy was she that she could not even get up to drink the water.
I had to push it closer so that she could half drink it by flopping over on her side.  
I mean, really?
Alright, ready for me to bring this back around to rugelach?
We got Ginger when I was 7- my mom likes to say that we were puppies together.  
At that point in my life, I was still a good little devout Catholic and my family attended church every Sunday, without fail.
Um… Best part about church?  You always got doughnuts or cookies afterwards at the faith group that met on Sundays.
Ithaca Bakery, here in town, makes killer rugelach.
Rugelach that we often indulged in on Sundays.
(I know, Jewish cookies for Catholics.  Cookie love unites all!!)
Ithaca Bakery makes their rugelach in scrolls, like those shown, rather than the more traditional crescent shape.
When I first saw the rugelach in Dorie Greenspan’s book, I was very confused.
Those were not rugelach.
I did not trust these strange moon shaped cookies.
Surely they were not those that I knew and loved.
Turns out, they are.  Egads!
I find that the scroll shape holds the innards in far better than do the crescents, and it’s the shape I like, so I stuck with it.  
Feel free to shape the cookies into crescents if you so desire.
I slicked my dough with a thin layer of apricot jam, then a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, and finally, a thin topping of walnuts and raisins.
You could do raspberry jam, or orange marmalade- or anything- run with it!
Same goes for the nuts.  Use whatever floats your boat.
I’m also thinking of some rugelach with sour cherries or golden raisins.  Yum.
The key to your filling not spilling out and burning the bottoms of your cookies to kingdom come is to be frugal with it.  Trust me.
With rugelach, it’s all about the shatteringly flaky pastry.  This pastry is seriously flaky, people.  Like, crumbs everywhere-unless-you-eat-it-in-one-go type flaky.
If that doesn’t convince you to make these, then I don’t know what will.
Anyways, me and Ginge enjoyed a few of these cookies together, just like the good old days.
She approves.  

for the dough:
from Dorie Greenspan
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1/2 ounce pieces
8 tablespoons butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1 cup all purpose flour
3/8 teaspoon kosher salt (she calls for 1/4 teaspoon of regular salt; I always prefer to use kosher or sea salt and I generally use pinches rather than measurements; here, a good, hearty 2 pinches will do.)
Place flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine.  Sprinkle the chunks of cream cheese and butter over the top of the flour and pulse until a rough dough forms.  
Gently form dough into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap.  
Flatten slightly and refrigerate. 
to assemble:
apricot or raspberry jam
3/4 cup sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 handfuls of raisins
chopped walnuts
1 egg mixed very well with 1 half egg-shell full of water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Roll out your dough into a rectangle that is 1/8-1/4 inch thick.
Spread a thin, thin, thin layer of jam all over the dough.
Sparsely sprinkle a thin layer of cinnamon sugar all over the dough, then press a handful of raisins and walnuts over the sugar.  
Do not fill your dough too full with the fillings, because they will leak out and burn in the oven.
Roll up your dough rectangle tightly (roll starting with the long end of the rectangle, NOT the short, unless you want gigantic rugelach).
Cut into 1-inch wide pieces, and place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet.
Brush lightly with egg wash, and sprinkle more cinnamon sugar on top.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until puffed, golden, and crispy.

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