It’s pretty cool that Thanksgiving and the 1st day of Chanukah fall on the same day this year! Although my family is not Jewish, a friend very near and dear to my daughter’s heart happens to be just that! Their family acknowledges a blended faith of Christianity and Judaism, and they do a wonderful job raising their daughters to appreciate their religious diversity.
So while you’re munching on your turkey leg or your latke, here’s a few facts to ponder over:
- Thanksgiving became an American national holiday in 1863.
- Chanukah became a Jewish holiday in 138 BCE.
- The Hebrew lunar calendar is 354 days, much shorter than the solar calendar of 365 days.
- Chanukah is never early or late, it always starts on the 25th of Kislev.
- Thanksgiving used to be the last Thursday in November, which was sometimes the 4th or 5th Thursday.
- The last Thanksgivukkah was November 30, 1899, which was on the 5th Thursday in November.
- In 1939, President Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving to the 4th Thursday in November.
- Thanksgivukkah won’t happen again for 70,000 years!!!!!
In honor of Thanksgivukkah, I baked a traditional Jewish pastry called rugelach. Apparently rugelach and croissants are cousins of some sort, which is AWESOME, because even though I’ve never tasted rugelach, I’ve had my fair share of croissants. 😉 Rugelach is a crescent shaped pastry made with a sour cream or cream cheese dough with a filling, such as fruit, nuts or chocolate. Since we are honoring both Thanksgiving and Chanukah tomorrow, I think it’s only fair that we include a traditional Thanksgiving ingredient: CRANBERRIES!
The recipe I am using today is adapted from Food Network, however, I am adding apple butter (a family favorite, yum, yum) to the filling, as well as swapping out the pecans for walnuts and drizzling the pastries with a brown sugar glaze. Since cranberries and walnuts are filled wth cancer-fighting and age-defying ingredients, I figure it makes up for the butter and cream cheese, which means, this recipe is healthy! 😉 Right, Katie, whatever eases your foodie conscience…..Happy Thanksgivukkah! 😀
Cranberry Walnut Rugelach + Brown Sugar Glaze
Yield: 3 dozen pastries
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 cup brown sugar
6 TBSP apple butter (or 3 TBSP melted butter if you aren’t using apple butter)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg + splash of milk, beaten (egg wash)
powdered sugar, for rolling out dough
Brown Sugar Glaze:
2 TBSP butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 TBSP milk
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, cream together butter and cream cheese. With mixer on low, gradually add in flour. Form dough into 3 disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, cover the cranberries with water and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool. Drain and set aside. In a small bowl, combine walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle your rolling surface and rolling pin with powdered sugar. Roll each disk of dough into a 10-inch circle. Using a pastry brush, paint with 1 TBSP of melted butter OR 2 TBSP apple butter. Sprinkle with the sugar/nut mixture and cranberries. With a pizza wheel, cut each circle into 12 wedges. Roll up the wedges starting from the thick outer edge and rolling in, and line them up on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet. Using a pastry brush, paint the rugelach with the egg wash. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer rugelach to a cooling rack.
Combine melted butter and brown sugar, whisk until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla, powdered sugar and milk, whisk to combine. Drizzle over the rugelach. Serve at room temperature.