My brother, Shlomo Shimon Shitrit, was born on Aug. 20, 1968, in Givat Ada, Israel. In October 1986, Shlomo was recruited for infantry service in the Israel Defense Forces and volunteered for the Givati Tzabar Brigade, an infantry unit.
On May 17, 1994, Shlomo was called up for active reserve duty. He was stationed with his unit near an area close to the Gaza Strip. On May 29, 1994, Shlomo was killed during a military operation while commanding a unit near Oz river.
He will forever be 26.
Chocolate rugelach was always waiting for Shlomo at home—that was his favorite, especially when they were out of the oven fresh and warm. My mom used to make them for him before his trip back to the base. Sometimes he would stop by with his dusty Jeep accompanied by all his friends, just for a little stop. And my mother would make the rugelach “to go” for the whole unit.
Ever since Shlomo was killed, my mother can’t make them anymore. I decided to share this recipe on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, to honor his memory—it’s bittersweet to cherish the moments with him and remember the amazing person he was.
Shlomo’s Chocolate Rugelach
- 6 cups (1 kilogram) flour
- 2 tablespoons yeast
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup orange juice
- 1 cup water
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 sticks butter or margarine
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 eggs
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup oil (not olive oil)
- Egg wash topping before baking:
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 spoonful honey
- Sugar syrup:
- 2 cups water
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- In a stand mixer using the dough hook, mix all the dough ingredients together for about 10 minutes. Cover for 45 minutes.
- Make the filling. In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients.
- Preheat the oven to about 340°F or 170°C.
- Divide the dough in two and roll each into a thin rectangle.
- Spread the chocolate filling over one half of each rectangle, then fold the dough over itself toward you into a long rectangle. Roll gently again and keep the shape of a rectangle.
- Cut into triangles. Start at the wide edge of the triangle and roll the dough up toward the point to the shape of a croissant/rugelach.
- Transfer to a pan lined with parchment paper. Give the rugelach space, as they will “grow” while baking. Brush the rugelach with the egg wash, then let rise for about 15 minutes before placing in the oven.
- Bake for 20-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
- In the meantime, prepare the sugar syrup by adding all ingredients to a saucepan. Cook until boiling for about 5 minutes.
- When the rugelach are out of the oven, brush them with the warm syrup and let cool at room temperature.
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