When I met Adam he had this weird addiction: these strange looking pastries his grandfather would buy him from Haymishs' Bakery which he called "The Cookie".
They looked like a big shortbread cookie with some sort of fruity filling. The whole thing was weird because Adam usually doesn't go for anything that doesn't involve chocolate. I couldn't figure out the appeal since I hate shortbread and just kind of figured that's what they were.
Then I tried one.
I was addicted.
They are like these gigantic rugelach with a rich vanilla cookie, topped with sugar, and a filling of jam and raisins, only instead of being rolled crescents, it's the two layers of cookie dough folded over with the fruity stuff in between. Believe me, the description doesn't do them justice. In spite of all the white flour and sugar, I started gobbling them down as fast as Adam.
Since they are from a Kosher bakery, however, I knew that sugar and white flour weren't the only evils lurking in those treats. They certainly weren't making them with lard, and I suspected they weren't using butter either. One day when I was in the neighbourhood, I popped in and asked. Just as I feared, they used SHORTENING (aka trans fat)!
I reported back to Adam - who was already worried about how they might be affecting his cholesterol levels - and he finally asked his grandfather to stop buying them for us. And so it was, our addiction came to an end.
Since then (that was about 6 years ago), I've periodically thought about making a healthier version, but have felt a tad intimidated about doing so. I've never even made rugelach, and being a favorite of Adam's I knew there would be high expectations.
Recently I was inspired. I can't really say these are now HEALTHY given that you do have to use a fair bit of butter and cream cheese for the dough. But I've removed all the sugar and used whole grain flour. But the best part, is that even Adam was really impressed with them. Although he did say, "They don't taste exactly like THE COOKIE...it's filled with crap and crap tastes good." I disagree. I think crap usually just tastes like crap (perhaps THE COOKIE is one exception) and these taste awesome!
If you aren't a dried fruit fan, you can use chocolate chips instead.
THE HEALTHIFIED COOKIE
1/2 cup butter, softened
250g light cream cheese, softened
1 cup erythritol, xylitol or stevia baking blend + extra for sprinkling on top
1 tsp vanilla extract
Liquid stevia, to taste (optional)
2 cups whole grain kamut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup no-sugar added jam or spread (apricot or raspberry)
1 cup raisins
10-12 dried figs, diced or chopped dried apricots (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
Cream together wet ingredients in a food processor. Add flour, soda and salt and pulse, just until dough forms. Scrape onto a large piece of parchment paper and roll out into a large rectangle, about 1/2 inch thick. Cut in half. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon and then spread jam over top. Evenly distribute dried fruit over top.
Use parchment paper to fold one half over the other. Then carefully lift parchment paper to lift the whole thing onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle top with sugar-substitute and cut into squares. Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes until bottom pastry is cooked through and the top is golden. Let cool and then run knife along cut lines and separate into squares. Keep in an air tight container for up to 1 week or freeze. But don't worry, they won't last long!!
Honestly, who needs Haymish's Heart Stoppers? These are fantastic, I am so pleased with how they turned out and will definitely be making them again.