25 Days of Cookies, and Life Changing Rugelach


Last week I got this crazy idea…to bake cookies every day for 25 days until Christmas.

I have always loved to bake and always had an attachment to baked goods. My dad has a pretty serious sweet tooth, and it was a way for me to gain affection from him as a child (sorry, but it’s true, just another way you screwed me up Dad). But there’s always been something centering for me about baking, and it’s something that never, ever feels like work. 

As a mom of two (with another one on the way), it’s rare that I do something for myself. That in itself is a challenge, because I always feel like I *should* be doing something else – usually, cleaning, or doing something for one of my kids or my husband. But baking was my first real passion (pre-painting, post-hundreds of hours of violin lessons). I wanted to be a baker at a very young age and have been idolizing Alton Brown and Bobby Flay for as long as I can remember. I still remember watching Jacque Torres on The Food Network, wide-eyed and amazed at the things he would do with chocolate. But as I got older, I thought a liberal arts education would suit me better, and baking became something I did just for fun or for a challenge. The challenge thing isn’t new to me.

So when the idea crossed my mind to do a 25 Days of Cookies Challenge for Christmas, I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to do it, but needed a push…something to hold me accountable. So I did what any millennial mom would do…I reached out to other moms on Facebook. Who wants to do this with me? Who’s crazy enough to keep me from giving up on a day that I’m tired, and to join in the fun with me? I got five yeses, mostly from women that I have known on social media for a long time, one of whom I have met thanks to social media and both of us living in New England. We agreed, and so on December 1st, embarked on this crazy challenge. 

Hanukkah started last night so it was only fitting that I started my cookie challenge with a traditionally Jewish cookie: Rugelach! I used this recipe by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, who I trust wholeheartedly because a) none of her recipes have ever failed me and b) she’s a New Yorker with Jewish roots. How could I not trust her to deliver an authentic recipe?

The Dough

I forgot to take pictures making it but all of the ingredients go straight into the food processor (yay for not having to soften butter + cream cheese!) and then into the fridge for 2 hours to chill. Here’s the post-fridge dough!

The Filling

Livia seems to be ok with baked-in dairy but not “raw” dairy (yogurt, cheese, milk etc.) so I went with dairy-free chocolate chips by Enjoy Life! I also used pumpkin seeds instead of walnuts because nuts are a total no-go for her as well. Just a tiny deviation from the original recipe.

Make Again?

YES! I’ve had a lot of rugelach in my life but never made it from scratch because I mistakenly believed that it would be a lot of work. Huge mistake. These were bomb, 10/10 highly recommend.

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