Wish me bon voyage, everyone – I’m going to Israel!
Yes, I know they speak Hebrew there, and if I walk up to someone in my American-flag baseball cap and pungent sunscreen asking, “parlez-vous francais?” I’ll probably just get a bunch of weird looks. (So much for my two years of language class.) But what I love about the world is the diversity of different cultures that are all distinctive, yet at the same time can find ways of blending together to create interesting things. This phenomenon is most evident in multicultural places such as California. In my California kitchen, in fact, is where I created these Israeli Chocolate Cheese Rugelach to celebrate my upcoming trip, as well as the diversity of cultures and the best that some few out of a myriad nations have to offer here in the U.S. in terms of food products. I didn’t incorporate representatives from every corner of the earth in these croissant-esque cookies, but I did combine some elements from various different parts of the world and I think this would be a great dessert to bring to any table. If you like, add your favorite flavors from elsewhere on the globe! As you’ll see in the ingredient description, these cookies are already bursting with multicultural materials.
Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry, sort of like a pinwheel cookie with a pie-crust-like exterior wrapped around sweet fillings such as raisins, nuts or sugar. Usually cream cheese is included in the pastry shell. But my version has cream cheese in the filling, Swiss cheese made in America to be exact. And that cheese is blended with real Israeli milk chocolate, which I received at an orientation for my Israel trip. I thought the packaging for the chocolate was pretty amazing: all the information on it was written in English, Hebrew and French. Try chocolat au lait paired with Swiss cream cheese -it’s a killer combination. And I gave it a tropical twist with coconut flakes and dried cranberries before rolling up these pinwheel cookies. By the way, the pastry shell for these cookies is made from frozen puff pastry. And not just any frozen puff pastry – puff pastry from Aussie Bakery, a traditional Australian bakery located in Seattle, Washington.
So I think these cookies truly encompass the diversity I enjoy as a resident of the very multicultural California – all different cultures originating from all over the world, wrapped up together in an unbroken circle of sweetness. And the only thing sweeter than a global sentiment is a delicious chocolatey cookie adorned with chocolate drizzle.
Wherever you live, whatever your flavor preferences are, give this recipe a try. I know it’s a winner (at least with my mom) because she urged me to store the cookies in the freezer, traditionally reserved for only the best of my baked goods as there simply isn’t room to store everything. She also made sure to note precisely where in the cluttered freezer I placed the cookies, and returned day after day to enjoy them. I have been warned that by the time I return from my trip in early July, the rugelach I made before parting will be nothing but a memory.
These cookies are tasty warm, with the chocolate drizzle melting down a warm, croissant-like pastry. But I found I preferred them cold, straight from the freezer with a minimal amount of thawing or defrosting. Whatever style of cookie consumption you choose, I hope you do make and enjoy these multicultural cookies.