In a new weekly segment, NBC Chicago teams up with Chicago chefs for a lesson in cooking. This week, chef Mindy Segal from Mindy's Hot Chocolate offers a lesson in cookies as she prepares hot fudge rugelach with cocoa nib hazelnut chocolate streusel.
Here's Mindy on her unique cookie recipe:
What makes sense in my brain does not always make sense in real life. When I dreamed up pairing hot fudge with cream cheese dough, I felt as if I were on the brink of something brilliant. So I put together a sheet pan filled with hot fudge rugelach. Halfway through the baking process, I peeked in the oven.
The hot fudge was oozing all over the place. But I thought, what the heck, and went ahead and finished baking them. I put them on the speed rack and walked away, nearly forgetting about them. When I came back, the oozy hot fudge had cooled, forming a crisp tuile surrounding the rugelach.
Disaster averted. I had an incredible pan of chocolate “cracklins.” Sometimes I catch new and well-meaning employees breaking off the cracklins to make these cookies more presentable. I stop them on the spot. These cracklins are the whole point.
In addition to hot fudge, the inside of the rugelach has a streusel made by grinding hazelnuts with chocolate and cocoa nibs. If you want to mix things up a bit, cashews or smoked almonds are fine alternatives to hazelnuts.
Ingredients for Streusel
- 1⁄2 cup (2 1⁄2 ounces) hazelnuts, toasted
- 1⁄2 cup (2 1⁄2 ounces) dark milk chocolate discs (preferably 53% cacao)
- 2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
- 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
- 1⁄4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1⁄4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 1 recipe Classic Cream Cheese Dough (see below), divided in half and chilled
- 1 1⁄4 cups Hot Fudge (see below), at a warm room temperature
- 1 extra-large egg white, lightly beaten
To Make the Streusel
Put the nuts and chocolate discs in a bowl and freeze until thoroughly chilled, approximately 20 minutes. In a food processor, grind the nuts and chocolate. Pulse in the cocoa nibs, sugars, flour and salts until a coarse meal forms.
Put a sheet of parchment paper the same dimensions as a half sheet pan (13 by 18-inch) on the work surface and dust lightly with flour. Unwrap one dough half and place on top.
Using a rolling pin and a pastry roller, roll the dough half into a rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border from the edge of the parchment paper. The dough should be just shy of 1/4-inch thick. If the edges become uneven, push a bench scraper against the sides to straighten them out. To keep the dough from sticking to the parchment paper, periodically dust the top lightly with flour, cover with another piece of parchment paper, and, sandwiching the dough between both sheets of parchment paper, flip the dough and paper over. Peel off the top layer of parchment paper and continue to roll. Repeat with the second dough half. Stack both sheets of dough on top of each other and refrigerate until chilled, approximately 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a few half sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Invert the sheets of dough onto the work surface and peel off the top sheet of parchment paper. For each sheet of dough, spread half of the hot fudge in a thin, even layer across the surface. Sprinkle approximately 1/2 cup of the streusel per sheet over the hot fudge. Trim the edges. Using a dough cutter or a pizza cutter, divide the sheet in half lengthwise into two long strips. Working with one strip at a time and moving crosswise, cut out triangles with flat tips, with each base approximately 1.5 inches wide and each tip approximately 1/4 inch wide. Shoot for 12 triangles per strip.
Using an offset spatula, separate a triangle away from the rest of the dough. Starting from the base, roll the dough up like a crescent roll. Place tip-side up on the prepared sheet pan and repeat with the remaining triangles, spacing them on the pans 2 inches apart (the hot fudge needs space to spread). Brush the tops with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup streusel.
Bake one pan at a time for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 8 to 10 minutes, or until the hot fudge has oozed out and bubbled on the sides. Let cool completely on the sheet pan so the hot fudge solidifies around the rugelach. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Rugelach can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days. Rolled, unbaked rugelach can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
To Make the Hot Fudge
(Makes a generous 4 cups)
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 13⁄4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup (such as Lyle’s, see page 269) or light corn syrup
- 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken into pieces
- 11⁄2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1⁄4 cup (2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
In a 6-quart or larger heavy pot over medium-high heat, combine the cream, sugar and syrup until dissolved, approximately 3 minutes. Add the chocolate and salt and bring to a boil. Lower to a gentle simmer so that the bubbles percolate in the center of the pot. Cook, stirring periodically to avoid scorching the bottom, until the mixture breaks and the oils separate from the solids, 40 to 45 minutes.
Whisk in the butter and vanilla thoroughly (you can also use an immersion blender to do this if you want it extra smooth) and let cool.
Hot fudge keeps in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
To Make the Classic Cream Cheese Dough
(Makes two 13 by 18-inch sheets of dough)
- 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1⁄3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium speed for 5 to 10 seconds. Add the cream cheese and mix on medium speed to combine, 10 to 15 seconds. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until aerated, approximately 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
On medium speed, add the vanilla, mixing briefly until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salts.
Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together but still looks shaggy, approximately 30 seconds. Do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. With a plastic bench scraper, bring the dough completely together by hand.
Stretch two sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface. Divide the dough in half (each half will weigh around 14.5 ounces) and place a half on each piece of plastic. Pat the dough into rectangles, wrap tightly, and refrigerate until chilled throughout, at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.