Tag Archives: caramel sauce

Cinnamon Brickle Rugelach

with tea 2 dpiAccording to my sister Bo, if I post any more of Melissa Clark‘s recipes I will be veering dangerously close into stalker territory. We both have a bit of a girl crush on Melissa. She is pretty awesome. To date, I have posted 9 of her recipes on my blog. I think that 10 is the line I must not cross or the restraining order will be shortly forthcoming.

Not to worry Melissa, I have a new girl crush. Her name is Mindy Segal. Although her book, Cookie Love, was released in 2015, for some reason, I just discovered it last month. Which, for a cookie fanatic like me, is kind of surprising. Mindy has turned the cookie world on it’s ear, taking the classics and updating them into fun and most decidedly delicious little bites.

Deciding which cookie to bake first, from this gem of a book, was not easy. As you can see, I have bookmarked lots.cookie loveThis is not a book for those looking for simple mix and scoop cookies. Many of the recipes in this book involve multiple steps and several “mini recipes” within a recipe. If that sort of thing bugs you, then this is not the book for you. If you are looking to up your cookie game, and enjoy spending time in the kitchen, creating little master pieces, then look no further, you have found your guru.

I decided to start with her cinnamon brickle rugelach. Rugelach, for the uninitiated, are a small Jewish pastry, of Eastern European origin. You can learn more about the history of rugelach in this post.

For these cookies you need to make a cream cheese dough, cinnamon nut brickle, and caramel sauce. All three of these components can be done several days ahead and you can assemble and bake the rugelach on another day if you like.

I started with the caramel sauce. Mindy’s recipe makes a generous 4 cups, and you really only need about 1/4 of this amount for the rugelach. But the caramel sauce keeps in the fridge for 6 months and it’s always a good idea to have some caramel sauce around in case of emergency.  I don’t know about your emergencies, but some of mine can be resolved with a spoonful of salted caramel sauce. You can of course buy caramel sauce in a jar, but please don’t. Homemade is so much better. caramel sauceWhile the caramel sauce is cooling, make the cream cheese dough.cream cheese doughcutting circleThis is a supple dough, easy to roll, with no cracking. Mindy suggests you roll it into a rectangle and then cut it into triangles. I read her instructions for doing this 3 times and could not figure it out. Geometry was never my strong suit. I decided to form mine into a circle, and used a 13 inch round plate to make my circle perfect, because that’s how we roll around here.

The dough needs to chill for about 30 minutes before you can make the rugelach, so go on to the cinnamon nut brickle. Brickle refers to something with little elasticity; hence it is easily cracked or fractured or snapped. Does anyone else remember Butter Brickle Ice Cream from their childhood? My mom used to buy the “light” version and we’d end up eating twice as much.

We’re essentially making nut toffee here. Butter, sugar and cinnamon are heated until melted. Mixed salted nuts are coated in this concoction and then tipped out onto a baking sheet to harden.nut brickleThen get out the food processor and make some noise. There will be leftover brickle after forming your rugelach. It will keep for over a month, and is excellent on yogurt or ice cream, in case of another emergency.chopped brickleNow for some fun.


I altered Mindy’s recipe slightly, using less caramel sauce and less brickle than she does. spreading caramel saucesprinkling brickleA pastry wheel or pizza cutter make quick work of forming the wedges. You could also use a sharp knife. cutting rugelachrolling rugelachMake sure you brush with beaten egg whites so that the cinnamon sugar will stick. Mindy topped her rugelach with more brickle, but I found that most of it just fell off and burned on the baking sheet, so I left that step out. I did however, sprinkle them lightly with flaked sea salt (Maldon), before baking. The salt really balances out the sweetness of the caramel sauce and brickle filling. ready for bakingThe rugelach will ooze quite a bit of their filling so don’t be alarmed. Those little pools of ooze will harden into a delicious toffee. Keep a ring of the toffee around each rugelach for a more delicious treat. caramel oozing on baking sheet

Click here to print recipe for Cinnamon Brickle Rugelach.

with tea 1one rugelach




Betrayal on Big Rideau Lake


So this is a story about betrayal, deception and denial. But it’s not all dark and horrible. It takes place in a very bucolic setting. Take a look.

We decided to go up to our cottage last weekend. All this cold weather and snow has been starting to get to me and I figured if you can’t beat it, join it. We were joined by one of my oldest and dearest friends, and her husband. We have been friends since we were 13 years old and now that we live in different cities, we just don’t get to see each other enough.  Leading up to the weekend were a flurry of phone calls and e-mails to discuss, what else, the food! She offered to bring Friday night dinner and I graciously accepted. (YAY!!)

As we were discussing menus we slipped into the obligatory January discussion about overindulgence in December. We agreed that we would not do appetizers before dinner. We always eat too much of them and then by the time dinner is over we both feel stuffed. We would, however, allow drinks before dinner.  Clearly we have our priorities in order. Feeling virtuous we said goodbye and hung up. The next day, she inquired in an e-mail, “If we’re not doing hors d’oeuvre, does that mean we aren’t doing dessert either? I have a banana recipe that I really want to try out.” I shot back a reply, “Bananas are fruit. That’s allowed. I’ll do apples for Saturday night dessert .”

About an hour after we arrived at the cottage on Friday afternoon, it began to snow. Big fat fluffy snowflakes, with no wind at all. My friend said it was as if someone had turned on a tap up above and let these snowflakes fall. And they continued to fall, in their lazy steady way all weekend long. It looked like something out of a Disney movie set. We built a fire and poured out some red wine to let it breathe.

We were vigilant in our no hors d’oeuvre pledge and proceeded to dinner after a glass of wine. I sat back and relaxed as my friends served a beautiful dinner. We all cleaned up together after dinner and reminisced about when we used to rent a cottage together in the mid 80’s. It was a beautiful cottage on Lake Simcoe. The house was set high on a hill, and you had to walk down stone steps through a forest to get to the sandy beach. We spent many happy hours there sunning and listening to the Blue Jays on the radio (Those were the good old days!!).

After doing the dishes we collapsed on the couch and dessert was served. My friend brought out a banana cake. Cake??? I thought we were having fruit for dessert. So either I had been deceived or my friend was in complete denial. Either way, my brain was way too happy humming on a sugar high to care. This banana cake was better than Sarah Lee! You have to understand that this is very high praise as I grew up on Sarah Lee Banana Cake and consider it the gold standard. I feel compelled to disclose that  I also grew up on TV dinners and Swanson’s Chicken pot pies. It was an idyllic childhood.

The next day, those big fat flakes of snow continued to fall. We decided to take a walk on the frozen lake. My friends strapped their snowshoes on (yes, they’re those kind of people), and I got to try out my brand new winterproof boots. We almost fell into an ice fishing hole, but aside from that, the 90 minute hike was beautiful. And I am happy to report that my feet stayed warm and dry.

When we got back, I took a shower and upon entering the living room discovered an empty bowl with a few orange crumbs clinging to the bottom of it. I licked the crumbs from the bottom of the bowl. Aaargh…Honey Barbecue Chips. Betrayal!! In her defense, my girlfriend swore they were the  baked variety. After that, it was a slippery slide into Prosecco and  red wine. I tried to stem the tide by bringing out edamame pods and carrot and celery sticks but it was clear at this point we were into full-scale deception and denial. I did what any self-respecting woman would do and trooped off to the kitchen to make salted caramel sauce.


To serve with the caramel sauce…Apple Fritters, from Karen DeMasco’s new book, “The Craft of Baking.”

We dipped the fritters into a cinnamon-sugar mixture and skewered them with a cinnamon stick. Salted Caramel Sauce was drizzled onto vanilla ice cream. Deception never tasted so good!


To print recipe for Salted Caramel Sauce, click here.

To print recipe for Apple Fritters, click here.