Thursday, February 24, 2011

Cherry Chocolate Almond Rugelach Seasoned with Grains of Paradise

I’ve been asked to take part in the “Ridiculously Delicious” Recipe Challenge being sponsored by Marx Foods. This is a 4 step winner take all challenge and this is my post about:

Step 2 “The Original Recipe”

My job…you guessed it…come up with an original recipe using two mystery ingredients. Marx Foods shipped a box of 8 ingredients to each of the contestants. Included in the box were things like: saffron threads, dry tart cherries, dill pollen and grains of paradise. I knew at first glance that my recipe would focus around the grains of paradise. Why? Well as the Food Hunter I felt it was my civic duty to “hunt” out this unusual spice for my readers.

Here’s what I found out. These peppercorn shaped little balls are produced from a leafy shrub found mainly in West Africa. They have a spicy flavor that is reminiscent of ginger and cardamom with hints of citrus. This spice is used in a lot of savory recipes as a replacement for black pepper. I also saw recipes pairing it with fruit such as apples and plums. I did a taste test and decided that I wanted to pair it with the tart cherries and use them to make rugelach.

The Results:

Cherry Chocolate Almond Rugelach Seasoned with Grains of Paradise

These little bite size delights are packed with flavor just waiting to explode in your mouth. My husband said they were the best Rugelach ever. A co-worker described them as awesome. Try them for yourself and let me know.

Voting starts next week. I will be posting details soon.

Cherry Chocolate Almond Rugelach Seasoned with Grains of Paradise

4 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
1 stick of butter at room termperature
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp grains of paradise
1 1/2 Tbs sugar

2 Tbs brown sugar
1/2 tsp grains of paradise
1/4 cup chopped tart cherries, plumped
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter,  melted and cooled

egg, beaten
Mix flour, salt, sugar and grains of paradise in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the vanilla. Add cream cheese and butter in chunks.  Pulse the machine about 8 times. Then process until a crumbly dough forms.
Turn it out on your work surface and gather it into a ball. Divide in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2-24 hours.

In the meantime you can make your filling.  Pulse all of the filling ingredients together until a thick paste is formed.

When ready remove the dough half from the refrigerator and roll it out into a 12 inch circle.  Spread filling over the circle all the way to the edges.  Cut the cicle using a pizza cutter into 16 wedges.  Starting at the large end of each wedge roll the dough towards the point.  Place cookies tip point down on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Slightly curve each cookie into a crescent shape. When finished repeat with other half.

Brush the tops with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes or until they've turned a nice golden color. Transfer to wire racks for cooling.


  1. Your rugelach is insanely delicious looking! I never had grains of paradise - from the sound of them I would love the flavor!

  2. You will have my vote! I just adore rugelach (it tastes amazing and it always looks beautiful!) And those grains of paradise sound wonderfully romantic. Thanks for sharing, sweet friend. I hope you have a splendid weekend full of sleep, laughter and love!

  3. Hmmm, that looks perfect!

    To be honest with you, I never succeeded on making this delicious treat. I must give it another try.

  4. I've honestly never heard of grains of paradise before. Lovely job on the rugelach!

  5. Now I'm really curious about Grains of Paradise. The Rugelach looks fabulous!

  6. I've never heard of grains of paradise either. Your rugelach is gorgeous. I've never attempted making it before, but wish I could try one of yours. What a wonderful job. Good luck and I will be back for voting!!

  7. Grains of Paradise - the name alone is fabulous and your rugelach looks sooooo good!

  8. I saved my grains of paradise for the do=over... one of my favorite things... great idea to put them in the filling... I can imagine they would be awesome with chocolate.. Nice stopping by your blog!

  9. Wow, a lot of us used those cherries! They were so good, I was afraid I was going to eat them all before I could use them. Those rugelach look tasty! Good luck with the contest!

  10. I am so curious to taste them now! Well, this looks and sounds so sinfully good, I HAVE to make them!

  11. I love rugelach anyway, and your combo is just something I will have to make! It looks amazing!