Breads Bakery’s ‘Roselach’ is the delicious Valentine’s Day treat you need in your life this year
Most pastries are good pastries. But every once in a while a bakery turns out so spectacular that it demands your full attention. Breads Bakery in New York City has a number of these knockouts under its belt. (The shop takes chocolate babka, for example, helped spark a nationwide craze around the twisted cake-bread hybrid.) But for me, their rugelach with rose– the cheeky named “roselach”, which they bake every year for Valentine’s Day – take the proverbial cake.
As someone who writes about Jewish food for a living, I have tasted several dozen rugelachs over the years and have also developed many recipes for them. I love rugelach for its ability to turn a few modest ingredients like flour, jam, nuts, and chocolate into something that tastes like love. Roselach of breads, which are arguably more extravagant, taste more like first love: heady, dramatic and completely addicting.
Like many of Breads’ baked goods, the roselach defy the rules of traditional pastry for a delicious effect. In this case, the shortbread dough made from cream cheese and typical rugelach butter is replaced by ultra-thin layers of puff pastry. The alternating layers of red and white are filled with rosewater-scented marzipan, then spiraled into a characteristic rugelach crescent shape. The resulting cookies have a chewy, almond-scented interior and a crescent-shaped flake on the outside. They are finished with a rose syrup frosting and a sprinkle of freeze-dried raspberries.
I learned that the roselach is the brainchild of Breads pastry chef Edan Leshnick. Inspired by his love for rose water, he decided to create a version of rugelach that captured the alluring glamor of floral confections like Turkish delight. the roselach are packaged in a white box that looks like a bouquet of roses. Indeed, I discovered that opening a box of a dozen roselachs was the edible equivalent of reading a letter written by a flame from a long distance. The romantic vibe may have been interrupted by my two young children, who immediately begged for a cookie, but whatever.
While the pandemic still dictates how and where we can safely celebrate, my husband and I (like so many other couples) will have to forgo our usual Valentine’s Day evening. There won’t be a babysitter with our sleeping kids as we toast over expensive cocktails and eat a ridiculous amount of cheese fondue.
Instead, we will spend the evening like so many others: at home. Fortunately, I had the foresight to freeze half of our roselach stock for the occasion. (Breads Bakery can ship a dozen roselach or one Valentine’s Day Combo roselach plus a banana chocolate chip cake and one of their nationwide chocolate babkas.) After a few minutes warming up cookies in the oven, our take out, boxed wine and movie night Valentine’s Day will certainly be rosier.