Apricot Walnut Rugelach wins Cookie Contest


Tahoe Vista resident Katie Kyler was the winner of The Weekly’s 2nd Annual Christmas Cookie Contest. Katie wowed all of the judges with her Apricot Walnut Rugelach.

When she dropped off the rugelach for our cookie contest, she declared that they “will rock your world,” and her cookies lived up to that statement.

“I fell in love with these cookies when I was 21 and living in the Village of Mendocino,” she said. “I worked at the bakery in town and this was my favorite cookie we sold there. It was also one of the few things not made there, so I assumed they were complicated.

“A few years back, I received a cookbook which explained just how easy they are to make. I have been sharing my beloved cookies ever since.”

Katie received a $100 gift certificate to Spindleshanks for her winning entry. Second and third place were both awarded to Vanessa Guajardo, who submitted three entries to this year’s contest. She received a $50 gift certificate to Spindleshanks for each of her winning recipes.

Thank you to all of the delicious entries that we received this year. We look forward to enjoy more delights at the 3rd Annual Christmas Cookie Contest in 2014.

Thank you to our judges: Nicole Cheslock, Charlie Good, Alyssa Ganong, Katherine E. Hill and Jenn Sheridan.



1st Place

Katie Kyler of Tahoe Vista

Apricot Walnut Rugelach

Note: You can add chopped golden raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, dried currents, chopped prunes or even mini-chocolate chips.
Yield: 32 Roulades or 48 Crescents

2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
½ pound butter, chilled
8 oz. cream cheese
2 Tablespoons sour cream

Apricot Walnut Filling
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup apricot preserves, processed briefly in the food processor to break up large chunks
2¼ cups walnuts, chopped fine

2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons milk

Pulse flour, sugar and salt to combine in food processor fitted with steel blade. Add butter (cut into ¼-inch pieces), cream cheese (cut into ½-inch chunks) and sour cream; pulse until dough comes together in small, uneven pebbles the size of cottage cheese curds, about 16, 1-second pulses.

Turn mixture onto work surface, press into 9 inch by 6 inch log, divide into 4 equal portions and press between two sheets of plastic wrap; roll out to form 9-inch circle (1/8-inch thick.) Stack dough circles on plate; freeze 30 minutes (or up to 1 month if stored in freezer bag).

Meanwhile, mix sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl; set aside with other filling ingredients.

Working with one dough round, remove from freezer and spread 2.5 Tablespoons preserves, 2 Tablespoons cinnamon sugar and ½ cup walnuts (in that order) over dough and pat down gently. Cut dough into 12 wedges. Roll each wedge into crescent shape and place at 2-inch intervals on parchment paper-lined, heavy rimmed baking pans. (I like to sit them on their tails and once they’re all rolled up put them in the freezer for 15 minutes so that they hold their shape instead of unrolling while baking. Before putting them in the oven, from the freezer, position them with tail of crescent facing up).

Freeze crescents at least 15 minutes. Frozen crescents, if well wrapped, can be frozen in a freezer bag up to 6 weeks.

Repeat with remaining dough rounds.

Adjust oven racks to upper and lower middle positions and heat oven to 375°F.

Whisk egg yolks and milk in a small bowl until smooth. Brush top and sides of frozen crescents with egg-milk mixture and sprinkle each cookie with scant teaspoon cinnamon-nutmeg sugar.

Bake crescents, turning baking pans from front to back and top to bottom halfway through baking time, until pale gold and slightly puffy, 21 to 23 minutes (Check often). Carefully transfer hot, fragile cookies to cooling rack using a thin-bladed spatula.

To shape Rugelach into Roulades
Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to soften slightly on countertop for 12 to 15 minutes so it becomes pliable for rolling. On a lightly floured surface, and working with 1 rectangle of dough at a time, with a floured rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a rectangle measuring about 10 inches by 8 inches and ⅛-inch thick. Lift dough often while rolling and add extra flour to surface as necessary to prevent sticking. Proceed as directed, starting from long side, roll dough tightly into a cylinder, taking care not to squeeze the filling out and place seam side down.

Cut off ¼-inch section from each side, cut roll into 1-inche pieces, (I always end up with 8 roulades and the 2 funky end bits, but since I love these cookies so much, I bake the end bits, too).

Place them seam-side down on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 15 minutes, then bake as directed.



2nd Place

Vanessa Guajardo of Carnelian Bay

Toasted Almond Joy Cookies

1 cup soft butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
3 cups of flour
4 brown eggs
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla

Mix all together.

1 cup toasted almonds (toast in oven or stove top)
1/3 cup white chocolate chips
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup toasted sweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes at 375 and enjoy.


3rd Place

Vanessa Guajardo of Carnelian Bay

Salted Caramel Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup soft butter
2 cups dark brown sugar
3 cups of flour
4 brown eggs
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp vanilla

Mix all together.

1 cup 1-minute oatmeal
1 cup Trader Joe’s Salted Caramel (chopped up)
½ cup milk chocolate chips
½ cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix and drop onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 12 minutes at 375 and enjoy.