19 December, 2015

Fruit and Nut Rolls

I believe in recipes that are customizable. The filling for this recipe can be done a thousand ways. Take your favorite dried fruits, your favorite nuts, and any spices you think would go well with the two. This recipe seems like a lot of steps and time and work but it isn't actually as difficult as it seems and it yields a great result -- perfect for taking to holiday parties if you want to impress. There's also no added sugar in this recipe and the low-fat cream cheese adds a nice tang to compliment the natural sweetness of the fruit without letting the fat content become too high.

Fruit and Nut Rolls
Cook time: 20 minutes
Rest time: 1 hour
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Yield: 36 cookies

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 4 ounces (1/2 package) reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour
For the filling
  • 1/2 cup dried soft fruit, such as dried berries, dried plums, dried apricots, etc...dried hard fruit such as apples and pears probably won't work as well, but feel free to try and let me know
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp nuts
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or other spice(s)
Directions
  1. Cream the butter and cream cheese until fluffy.
  2. Add the flour and mix just until it comes together.
  3. Knead the dough slightly with your hands until it comes together, then roll into two balls. Wrap the balls and let them chill in the fridge for an hour.
  4. While waiting for the dough to chill, add all of the filling ingredients to a food processor.
  5. Processes filling until it resembles coarse, sticky crumbs. If you don't have a food processor, chop the fruit and nuts as finely as you can, then mix in the butter and spices.
  6. When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 350F.
  7. Roll out one ball of dough with a rolling pin (or a smooth, round glass bottle). The ideal shape would be a 12"x7" rectangle, but it doesn't have to be perfect.
  8. Cover the dough with half of the filling. I found the best way is to use your fingers to sprinkle it evenly, then gently press everything down into a solid layer. Don't worry if you can't cover the edges.
  9. Roll the dough into a spiral log (roll along the short direction so your finished log is about 12" long).
  10. Cut off the ragged, filling-less ends, then cut the log into 16 pieces.
  11. Repeat for the second ball of dough, then place all the pieces onto a lined baking sheet. I pressed the scrap ends into two small blocks and added them to the sheet. You can see that my first log wasn't perfect -- the spiral was a little too loose -- but they'll still puff up nicely and taste great.
  12. Bake for about 20 minutes, checking after 18 or so, until the rolls are golden brown. Leave the sheet on a cooling rack to cool, then enjoy.

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