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Nuts in a Blanket

Nuts in a Blanket

I just learned that at 38 I’m middle-aged.  Someone had to tell me.  I guess I thought that middle age was 50 (we’re all going to live to at least 100, right?).  Inside, though, I must be 12 because I can’t help but giggle at a recipe titled nuts in a blanket.

Nuts in a blanket is an adorable riff on pigs in a blanket.  They are ricotta cheese pastries filled with an orange walnut log.  They remind me very much of rugelach, but in a fun, different shape – and I’ve never had orange in a rugelach filling (now I want to!).  I love the idea of serving nuts in a blanket as a passed dessert at a cocktail party.

Great Cookies: Secrets to Sensational Sweets

The recipe for nuts in a blanket came from this James Beard award-winning cookie book.  I was given the author’s permission to reprint it.  Great Cookies is a cookie book definitely worth adding to your collection.  The recipes are well-written and thorough.  There are baking tips and lovely baking quotes strewn throughout the book, making it a wonderful read.

View on Amazon.com

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Nuts in a Blanket
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Nuts in a Blanket

Nuts in a blanket is an adorable riff on pigs in a blanket. They are ricotta cheese pastries filled with an orange walnut log. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword nuts in a blanket, ricotta pastry
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Chill 2 hours
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 20 cookies
Calories 154kcal

Ingredients

Ricotta Cheese Pastry Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour spooned in and leveled (this yields a smaller amount of flour than scooping)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 1 egg yolk save the egg white for use with the filling

Walnut Filling Ingredients

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • egg white from above
  • 1/2 cup sugar for garnish

Instructions

Ricotta Cheese Pastry Instructions

  • On the kitchen counter, arrange two linen or pure cotton dish towels (do not use terry cloth) on top of each other.
  • Spread the ricotta lengthwise on the towels, shaping it into a thin rectangle.
  • Roll the cheese tightly in the towels and twist over the sink to remove excess liquid.
  • Let sit for 30 minutes and repeat with fresh towels, waiting for another thirty minutes before using the cheese.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small bowl and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium-low speed until smooth.
  • Add the drained ricotta and mix well.
  • Pour in the sugar and then blend in the egg yolk until just combined.
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half of the dry ingredients.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the remaining dry ingredients by hand, mixing until just incorporated.
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead four or five times, until smooth.
  • Shape into a 3" x 6" rectangle. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, 2-3 hours or up to three days.

Walnut Filling Instructions

  • Place the walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until the nuts are finely chopped.
  • Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan.
  • Add the chopped nut mixture and milk.
  • Cook over low heat for 8-10 minutes or until the mixture is very thick, like thick oatmeal.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the orange zest and vanilla.
  • Refrigerate until cold.

Assembly Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Roll out the pastry dough to just under 1/4" thick.
  • Use a knife or a pastry wheel to cut dough into 1 1/2" x 3" strips.
  • Make heaping teaspoon-sized balls of nut filling and roll them into log shapes just slightly longer than than the short side of the dough strips.
  • Place the nut logs on the short side of the pastry strips and roll the pastry around the logs.
  • Brush on a little egg white at the end of each strip to glue it closed.
  • Transfer unbaked nuts in a blanket seam-side down onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. If any of the nut log is falling off (this can happen), just push it back into the blanket.
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the pastry just begins to brown.
  • Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with sugar.
  • Set on cooling rack to cool.
  • Store in an airtight container layered between strips of wax paper for up to three weeks.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Nuts in a Blanket
Amount Per Serving
Calories 154 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 15%
Saturated Fat 4g 20%
Cholesterol 27mg 9%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Potassium 49mg 1%
Total Carbohydrates 14g 5%
Sugars 8g
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 4.1%
Vitamin C 0.2%
Calcium 2.9%
Iron 2.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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