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Rugelach

I absolutely adore rugelach and can’t believe that it took me so long to make them myself. Ironically, I made them the same day that I made the Chocolate Babka – it was a Jewish baking extravaganza! The history of rugelach, much like babka, is that they were first brought to America by Eastern European immigrants and are popular during Jewish holidays. Rugelach is made up of a wonderfully tender cream cheese dough and is filled with dried fruit, chocolate, or nuts or a combination of all three. Most versions include raisins which is what I filled half of mine with, and the other half I filled with dried figs. I just love figs and look for any excuse to use them! These would also be fabulous brushed with raspberry jam and filled with bittersweet chocolate. Yum!

While these take some time and a few extra steps to put together they are not at all complicated; and that flaky pastry dough is well worth the effort!

Have you had rugelach before? If so, what is your favorite flavor combination?

More great ethnic cookies:
Lebkuchen: German Christmas Cookies
Pizzelle
Cucidati: Italian Fig Cookies
Italian Walnut Pillow Cookies

Rugelach

Yield: Makes 4 dozen

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 20 to 25 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon plus a pinch of salt
1 large whole egg, plus 3 large egg yolks
2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups (4 ounces) walnut halves or pieces
Pinch of ground cinnamon
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (12 ounces) apricot jelly, melted
2 cups currants, raisins or other dried fruit, or mini chocolate chips
Fine sanding sugar (or granulated sugar), for sprinkling

Directions:

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add ½ cup granulated sugar and ¼ teaspoon salt; beat until combined and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating to combine after each. With the mixer on low speed, beat in flour to combine. Mix in vanilla.

2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide into three equal pieces, and shape into flattened disks; wrap each in plastic. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.

3. Preheat the oven to 325°F, with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. In food processor, pulse together the walnuts, remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar, the cinnamon, and pinch of salt until finely ground; set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one disk of dough into a 10-inch round about ¼ inch thick. Brush the top evenly with melted jelly. Sprinkle with a third of the walnut mixture and a third of the currants. Using the rolling pin, gently roll over the round to press the filling into the dough.

4. Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the round into 16 equal wedges. Beginning with the outside edge of each wedge, roll up to enclose filling. Place about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough and filling ingredients. Lightly beat the whole egg; brush over tops, and sprinkle with sanding sugar.

5. Bake two sheets, rotating halfway through, until the cookies are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining baking sheet. Rugelach can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

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39 Responses to “Rugelach”

  1. rebecca on January 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    wow looks awesome great with a cup of tea!

    Reply

  2. Hannah on January 5, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    I made rugelach with a simple brown sugar and cinnamon filling. It went wonderfully with the cream cheese dough! Basically a mock cinnamon roll. Next time I think i’ll add pecans.

    Reply

  3. Erika from The Pastry Chef At Home on January 5, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    These are so cute and you can see the tenderness through the computer screen!

    This brings back memories of elementary school. On some days students would bring in treats from their heritage to share with the class. Someone would always bring in rugelach and I absolutely loved it. I haven’t had it for years! I will definitely try this recipe. Happy New Year!

    Reply

  4. BethieofVA on January 5, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Amazing!

    Reply

  5. Mari on January 5, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Looks delicious!

    Reply

  6. Adair@Lentil Breakdown on January 5, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I love your idea of dried figs! I’ve made rugelach for many years, as it’s a tradition in my family of Eastern European Jews. I use sour cream in the dough as opposed to cream cheese, and I have experimented with many jams, and the undisputed winner is apricot. I use white raisins, as opposed to regular ones since they look pretty and don’t burn when the filling oozes out. Your pics are lovely. I tend to stuff mine chock-full and they bleed out on the wax or parchment paper. Then I scoop up the sloppy overflow before it hardens on the paper. It’s a special treat for the chef without hogging the coveted final product!

    Reply

  7. Drick on January 5, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    really do like your cream cheese dough – looks very tender … I have tried to make a similar one with not much luck, too stiff…will certainly try yours with your great directions……

    Reply

  8. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie on January 5, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    I have fond memories of rugelach – my grandmother made them! Yours look just picture perfect, I bet they are so very good!

    Reply

  9. Emily Ziegler on January 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Beautiful!!! Looks yummy, too!

    Reply

  10. Aimee on January 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I love rugelach and am fortunate to live by some nice Kosher bakeries that make my favorite flavor: chocolate. :) I am beyond impressed you took up this endeavor – its hard! They look amazing and delicious!

    Reply

  11. Emily (iBAK3) on January 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    I can’t believe that I am Jewish and have NEVER made these!
    I am ashamed of myself :P

    I will have to try these very soon!

    Thanks for the recipes :]

    By the way, my favorite flavors are Chocolate and Raspberry :9 YUUUUUUUUUM

    Reply

  12. Pilar on January 5, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    My favorite filling is the traditional apricot, walnuts and raisins, but I have never melt the jam before using it… do you think it makes a difference?
    Yours looks very nice!

    Reply

  13. Hannah on January 5, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    I have always wanted to try these! I’ve seen them so many places, but have never actually had one! Good job!

    Reply

  14. Jeanne on January 5, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I’ve never had rugelach before, but now I think I’ll have to try it. I’m sure I’d love the chocolate filling!

    Reply

  15. Bibiana Bailey on January 5, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    I never had or made Rugelach and can’t wait to try it. It is something very similar to Slovak Kolacki.

    Reply

  16. Gretchen Noelle on January 6, 2010 at 12:05 am

    I always think about them with peanut butter & jelly…wouldn’t that be fun?!?

    Reply

  17. Mary Poppins in Heels on January 6, 2010 at 12:19 am

    Your rugelach is a thing of beauty! I’ve had it–I love to make it–and I think I like it with dark chocolate and chopped nuts the best.

    Reply

  18. PT on January 6, 2010 at 2:23 am

    You’re killing me! This looks scrumptious! I’m trying this one. Thank you for sharing.
    PT

    Reply

  19. dokuzuncubulut on January 6, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Delicious! I’m crove for…

    Reply

  20. Baking is my Zen on January 6, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    My brother’s favorite. I always bake him a batch for his birthday.

    Reply

  21. Margaret on January 6, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Have only made once with TWD and it had a jam/nut/currant/chocolate filling. Really good.

    These look so delicious. Light and flaky.

    Reply

  22. Michelle on January 8, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Hi Pilar,

    I think melting the jam just enables it to be spread/brushed a little easier than if it was still “clumpy” if you will.

    Reply

  23. Monika on November 18, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I have been making these for years, and they are truly one of the best cookies one can make (and eat!). I have two favourite fillings for mine – (1) plum butter and (2) Nutella with crushed roasted walnuts. Both variations are absolutely heavenly and I always get rave reviews from family and friends when I make these. I have not made them with apricot yet, but am excited to try it.

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 19th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

      Oh gosh, both of those fillings sound outstanding! I am definitely going to try both of them for Christmas this year!

      Reply

  24. Ellen on December 3, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I’m going to bake this recipe tonight and I’m so excited! It looks delicious.

    One question, though, do you think the finished product can be frozen with much success? Have you ever tried freezing these before?

    Reply

    • Michelle on December 6th, 2010 at 11:48 pm

      Hi Ellen, I have never frozen them myself, but you can always give it a try! If you do, let me know how they are out of the freezer!

      Reply

    • Caroline on January 10th, 2011 at 8:37 pm

      I have frozen rugelach many times, and it freezes impressively well!
      I usually freeze a batch & box up frozen (wrapped in parchment paper)
      to mail to my parents for holidays. When it arrives it is fresh, according to
      mom! —
      Take it out of the ziplock OR uncover container it is in before thawing to
      avoid condensation while thawing.

      Reply

  25. Rae on December 23, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Could you use a nut butter melted (example: almond butter or PB) instead of jelly? with the chocolate chip version of this recipe?

    Reply

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  28. Cheyenne on September 17, 2012 at 1:11 am

    I have made them with orange marmalade and mini chocolate chips

    Reply

  29. danielle on September 17, 2012 at 7:05 pm

    Please help me. They came out completely flat. What am I doing wrong??

    Reply

    • Michelle on September 26th, 2012 at 10:21 am

      Hi Danielle, I’m not sure if you made any substitutions, but assuming you didn’t, make sure that you handle them lightly and aren’t pushing on them too hard when you roll them. There isn’t any baking soda or baking powder involved, so you’re not relying on an agent for them to rise.

      Reply

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  32. Vanessa on September 26, 2013 at 3:03 am

    Hi!

    This is the first time I’m seeing a recipe with egg/yolks in the dough, it’s very interesting… Most of the recipes out there have just cream cheese, butter, flour and sugar.. what do the eggs/yolks do in this recipe?

    Reply

    • Michelle on October 3rd, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Hi Vanessa, The egg and egg yolk help to create a more tender dough.

      Reply

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