Dr. Winnie had little trouble making the adjustment from a lab coat and stethoscope to a pair of rubber boots and garden hoe when she made the decision that her young family would be better served with her at home full time. Even if you are not yet following her blog Healthy Green Kitchen, it’s quite possible that you have met Dr. Winnie somewhere around the blogosphere before. Her earlier blogging experiences include having been a member of the professional staff at enita.com where she was a contributing author and professional advisor. While her scholastic background may lie in naturopathic practices and therapies, Dr. Winnie’s familial background is all about food. From 1975 to 1992 her parents owned the Quilted Giraffe Restaurant. Located first in New Paltz, NY before moving to it’s prime Manhattan location fours years later where her father, a lawyer turned self-taught chef was instrumental in bringing the restaurant to the forefront of New York’s dining society. Not only for it’s luxurious surroundings and platings but so too for his own creativity in the kitchen. It is apparent that his daughter shares in this creative culinary gene as is evident in her love of not only food but in recipe development. Winnie has been writing posts for Healthy Green Kitchen from her home in the Hudson Valley of NY since 2009, as well as contributing articles and recipes to Cook, Eat, Share, Foodista, Mind Body Green and Hudson Valley Food Network. She has also been featured on Nature Made Wellness, Fine Cooking , Foodbuzz and has contributed recipes to the blog, Preserves Heirloom Recipes Feature . Winnie’s degree in Naturopathic Medicine paired with her love of culinary and photography makes for a one-of-a-kind aesthetically appealing, informative and most enticing healthy food blog where readers are served up options ranging from nutrition, green living and organic gardening to all natural remedies for common ailments. Her *kitchen* is a breeze to get around in and readers will be easily enticed to follow up on a post if not for her beautiful photographs then certainly for her wonderfully detailed catalogue of recipes . Life in *the Valley* with two young children, a household to run, an organic garden to tend, egg-laying hens to care for as well as 10 pets, bee hives to monitor and a food photography business to manage no doubt keeps Winnie very busy! It is highly doubtful however, that the Dr. would prescribe anything different for herself and her family. I’m very grateful that she is here today sharing her story and recipe with us. You can follow Winnie on Twitter @drwinnie
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My maternal grandma Bessie loved to cook and bake. We were very close all of my life: I feel very lucky in that she lived until I was well into my 30s. Diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer in 1993, she underwent surgery and subsequent treatments that kept her alive until 2005. Those last 12 years of her life were not easy on her, but I am so grateful that she was there for milestones like me finishing graduate school, getting married, and having my two kids: her greatest joy was being their great grandma.
We all have someone in our lives, whether a family member or a friend, who has fought or is fighting the battle that is cancer. That’s why I am honored to be a part of Frosting For Cause…making these cookies to provide comfort and raise awareness, and making a donation toward research that might someday lead to a cancer cure, means maybe someone else won’t have to see their grandma (or other beloved person in their life) suffer.
When I was thinking about what to make for this post, I was initially stumped because I don’t bake all that much for my blog and when I do, it’s not usually gorgeously decorated cookies or cupcakes. All of my recipes utilize all natural, whole foods ingredients and I stay away from refined sugar and white flour. I was thinking up a cookie I could make with spelt flour and sweeten with organic cane sugar when it hit me.. rugelach! Rugelach is, to me, the quintessential Jewish cookie just like Bessie was the quintessential Jewish grandma.
If you aren’t familiar with rugelach, it’s a rolled cookie often filled with cinnamon sugar and nuts; rugelach may also be filled with jam (usually apricot or raspberry). Rugelach is said to have originated in Eastern Europe, and came to America with immigrants of Askenazi Jewish heritage. Rugelach are standard fare for most Jewish holidays, but they’re delicious anytime, really.
Rugelach dough is usually made with cream cheese, but here I have lightened them up a little by substituting Greek yogurt. The dough is simple to throw together in your mixer, then I recommend letting it rest in the refrigerator overnight before rolling out the cookies (this allows the flavor of the dough to develop, plus it makes them easier to roll).
When rolling out the dough, don’t be afraid to use quite a bit of flour if your dough is not behaving. It’s quite a forgiving cookie…hard to mess up…so no need for your rolled out circle or wedges to look perfect or anything. Make sure not to use too much jam or it will ooze out during baking- a thin layer is best.
Recipe for Spelt Rugelach with Jam
Yield: 16-24 crescent shaped rugelach
1 stick (4 oz.) room temperature salted organic butter
1/2 cup (4 oz.) plain organic Greek yogurt (or organic cream cheese)
2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
2 cups organic spelt or all-purpose flour
your favorite jam (raspberry and apricot are traditional)
powdered sugar for dusting the rugelach- optional
1. Place butter and yogurt in the bowl of an electric stand mixer and cream until light. Add flour and sugar and mix until all ingredients are combined and dough starts the come together.
2. Remove dough from bowl and, on a surface dusted with all-purpose flour, form dough into a ball. Cut into two equal pieces. Roll each of these into a ball, wrap in plastic, and store in the refrigerator overnight.
3. Remove dough balls from refrigerator 15-30 minutes before you want to make the cookies and preheat the oven to 3oo degrees F.
4. On a well-floured surface (I used all-purpose flour for this), roll each ball of dough out into a circle. Spread the dough with a thin layer of jam. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut the circle into 8-12 equal triangles/wedges (depending on how big you want the cookies to be).
5. Starting with the wide edge, roll each triangle up, and place the cookies, pointy edge tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. If you like, you can “curve” the cookies into crescent shapes.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.
If you don’t want to make the crescent-shaped wedges, another way to make rugelach is to roll out a rectangle, spread it with the jam, then roll it up long-ways. Once it’s rolled into a long log, cut 1-2 inch slices all the way along, then place these on your silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet cut edge down.
If you like you can turn one ball of dough into crescent-shaped rugelach and make the second ball the other way, as I did. I used a pomegranate-raspberry jam in the crescents and an apricot butter in the others: I absolutely love them both.
Rugelach can be stored in a covered container for a few days at room temperature, but is best stored longer-term in the refrigerator or freezer. These particular rugelach make a fairly wholesome snack with tea; I’ve also been known to eat them for breakfast.