Rugelach is…(still haven’t decided if it should be rugelach “is” or rugelach “are”)…a traditional Jewish pastry traditionally served on Hanukkah.

Rugelach are little rolled cookies, similar to cinnamon rolls, that typically have a honey-walnut filling. The dough does not contain any yeast and results in what tastes like buttery, light, and flaky croissants.

Rugelach descend from an Eastern European pastry known as kipfel, a croissant-like cookie often filled with fruit or nuts.

  

In 1683, according to one legend, the Ottoman Empire army sent at least 300,000 soldiers to capture the walled city of Vienna, Austria. 

These Turkish secretly began digging a tunnel under thc city wall during the night.

City bakers working at this time in their underground chambers, heard the noise of the construction, alerted the authorities, and foiled the underground attack. 

Eventually the Turks gave up their attacks on Austria, thanks to the help of armies of neighboring countries, including Poland and Bavaria.
Viennese bakers celebrated the end of the Ottoman siege by creating special small breads and cakes in the shape of a crescent, the symbol displayed on the Turkish flag.

Austrian bakers originally called these little pointed loaves of white bread “zipfel,” the German word for “corner.”

  

in 1783 the Catholic Priest Gottfried Uhlich first published the story of how coffee came to Vienna in his History of the second Turkish Siege
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Kulczycki began his career working as a translator for the Austrian Oriental Company in Belgrade. He was fluent in Polish, Ruthenian, Serbian, Turkish, German, Hungarian and Romanian languages. 

Turkish authorities began accusing foreign traders such as Kulczycki of being spies. 

 In 1678 Kulczycki avoided being arrested for espionage by claiming Polish citizenship and moving to Vienna, where he opened his own trading company.

In 1683, he volunteered to leave the captured city of Vienna and plead with Duke Charles of Lorraine for help fighting the Turks.

Kulczycki left the city, wearing Turkish attire and crossing enemy lines singing Ottoman songs, met with the duke and returned to Vienna with a promise of imminent relief. 

This promise influenced the city council’s decision to not surrender to the Turkish forces, and soon the siege was broken by Christian forces under the leadership of Polish king John III Sobieski.

 Kulczycki was celebrated as a hero by the grateful townspeople of Vienna, awarded a considerable sum of money, given a house in the borough of Leopoldstadt, and presented large amounts of coffee that had been found in the captured Turkish military camp by King John III Sobieski himself.

Kulczycki opened the first coffee house, named the Hof zur Blauen Flasche (‘House under the Blue Bottle’), in Vienna at Schlossergassl.

Cafe owners of Vienna decorated their shop windows with Kulczycki’s portrait and held a special Kolschitzky feast in his honor every October.

Recently, however, it has been debated as to whether these stories about Kulczycki were true, or simply invented by Gottfried Uhlich in 1783. 

  
 Regardless, the Viennese coffee house has played an important part in shaping Viennese culture.

The coffee houses have been described as places “where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill.”

The coffee houses have their very own culture including their own…

  • social practices
  • rituals
  • elegance

Socially, coffee houses are “actually a sort of democratic club, open to everyone for the price of a cheap cup of coffee, where every guest can sit for hours with this little offering, to talk, write, play cards, receive post, and above all consume an unlimited number of newspapers and journals.” 

In the late 19th and early 20th century, leading writers, famous artists, scientists, and politicians were frequently seen socializing, doing business, and even writing there. 

Coffee house poets writing coffee house literature while consuming cup after cup of coffee…(sounds like a blogger’s world, right)…

Rituals among the coffee house kingdom include not only the different coffee-based creations, but also pastries such as… Apfelstrudel, Linzer torte, Millirahmstrudel, and Punschkrapfen.

As far as elegance, these coffee houses were noted for their marble tabletops, designer furniture, literary readings, and piano music being performed in the evenings.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, Jewish immigrants brought the kipfel to America. 

In the early 20th century, American Jewish cooks added cream cheese to the kipfel dough, resulting in the modern rugelach.

         

        1.  Using your dough hook, make a dough from…

        • 2C flour
        • 1/4tsp salt
        • 8oz cold cream cheese, cubed
        • 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cubed
        • 1tsp vanilla 
        • 1 egg yolk

         Lightly dust the counter or a cutting board with flour. Turn out the dough. Shape into a ball. Divide the ball into four equal portions. Flatten each portion into 1″ thick disks. Wrap each disc separately in plastic. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour.

        2.  Make the filling by stirring together…

        • 2 cups walnuts
        • 1/4 cup melted butter
        • 1/4 cup honey
        • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

        3.  Roll out the rugelach…

        • Sprinkle work surface, dough, and rolling pin generously with confectioners’ sugar.
        • Roll one disc of  the dough into a 1/8″ thick circle.
        • Spread 1/4 of the filling in a thin layer evenly over the surface.
        • Press the filling gently into the dough with your hands.
        • Cut the dough into 16 “pizza slices.” Roll up each wedge. 
        • Place on the baking sheet with the small tip tucked under.
        • Refrigerate cookies on the baking sheet for thirty minutes. 

        4.  Bake them…Preheat oven to 375. Bake 20min. Cool on the baking sheet 5min. Transfer to a wire rack.

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