Throwback Thursday: Rome + Chocolate-Cherry Rugelach

My bff and I took Italian together from middle school to high school so with seven years of Italian classes under our belts, we finally decided to travel to Italy together two years ago. We were very ambitious and went to Rome, Florence, and Naples all in the short time we were there, which was only for four nights. It was a whirlwind experience and I loved it. Our favorite city was Florence but I'd love to visit Venice some day too.

The Colosseum!
Of course I shopped! :)
Jacket: LOFT, Bag: BCBGeneration, Scarf: The North Face, Sunglasses: Chanel, Boots: BCBGeneration 'Petler'
Until next time!
And while I'm thinking about Italy's delicious sweets, here's my recipe for Chocolate-Cherry Rugelach, which was a big hit when I made it. It's surprisingly easy and fun to make too:

1/2 cup butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cherry preserves
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/4 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips
Milk and sugar, for glaze

1. Cream the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until well blended. Stir in the salt and confectioner's sugar. Add the flour a third at a time, mixing well after each addition.
2. Form the dough into a ball and place it on a floured surface. With floured hands, knead it until smooth, then divide it into 2 balls. Flatten each into a 3/4-inch-thick disk. Cover both in plastic wrap, then chill them for at least 2 hours.
3. Line a large baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or lightly greased aluminum foil. Set the sheet aside.
4. On a piece of lightly floured waxed paper, roll one of the chilled disks into a 12-inch circle, dusting the dough with flour to prevent the rolling pin from sticking. Slide the waxed paper with the pastry onto another bkaing sheet and chill it for another 10 minutes. Repeat the rolling and chilling with the other pastry disk.
5. Spread half of the cherry preserves over one of the rolled disks, leaving a 1/2-inch border and a 2-inch circle in the center uncovered to prevent jelly from oozing out later. Sprinkle half of the chopped cherries and half of the chocolate chips evenly over the preserves. With a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 12 wedges, as you would a pie. Starting at the wide end, roll up each wedge like a carpet. Place each rugelach point down on the lined baking sheet, pulling the sides down a little to form a crescent. Chill teh cookies on the baking sheet for 10 minutes while you heat the oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, assemble the second batch of rugelach and chill it.
6. Lightly brush the chilled cookies with milk and sprinkle on a bit of sugar, then bake them on the center oven rack until lightly golden, approximately 25 minutes. Cool them briefly on the sheet, then transfer them to a wire rack with a spatula.

Makes 2 dozen.

Leaving you with the fortune cookie quote, "Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains it's original dimensions."


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