Rugelach

classic-rugelach

Delicious to eat and fun to make, rugelach (pronounced rug-a-lah) are miniature crescent-rolled pastries posing as cookies. They’re made by rolling a triangle of dough around a sweet filling of fruit, nuts, chocolate or pretty much anything your heart desires. If you’ve never had them or made them from scratch, definitely roll up your sleeves and give this classic walnut-raisin version a try. They’re easier than they look and vastly better than store bought. I’ll be honest: they do take some time to make as the dough needs to be refrigerated for a few hours and rolled out, but I promise you it’s worth it. Fresh out of the oven, they’re buttery, crisp and flaky, with a sweet cinnamon scent that will tempt you to eat the entire batch.

rolling-dough-with-kids

Since rugelach are hands-on, they are wonderful to make with kids. Mine love rolling out the dough (which, thankfully, is very forgiving!), creating their own fillings (scroll down to the recipe for chocolate chip and Nutella variations) and then rolling the cookies into little twists.

ingredients

Begin by making the dough. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade.

flour-and-salt

Pulse a few times to mix.

flour-and-salt-blended

Add the cubed butter, cream cheese and egg yolk. The cream cheese is what makes the dough pliable, easy to work with, and reliably tender. The egg yolk adds a little extra richness and helps the dough turn golden in the oven.

adding-butter-cream-cheese-egg

Pulse until the mixture forms large curd-like pieces. Be careful not to over-mix; all those little chunks of fat will steam while the rugelach bake, making the dough tender and flaky.

crumbly-dough

Dump the crumbly dough onto a work surface. It will look like a mess but don’t worry, it will come together.

dough-on-worksurface

Knead the dough just until it comes together and shape it into a square or rectangle.

knead-dough

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.

portioned-dough

Flatten each portion into 1-inch thick disks, then wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

wrapped-dough

Wipe out the food processor and make the filling by combining the brown sugar, cinnamon, raisins and walnuts in the bowl.

filling

Process until the nuts and raisins are finely chopped, then transfer the filling to a bowl and set aside until the dough is ready to roll.

blended-filling

Once the dough has chilled, remove it from the refrigerator and place it on a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well so the rolling pin doesn’t stick.

ready-to-roll

Roll each disc into a rough 10-11″ circle (it should be just under 1/8″ thick). Turn the dough and dust with more flour as necessary so it doesn’t stick. Don’t worry if the edges are a little cracked or rough.

rolled-dough

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the filling evenly over the dough and press down with your hands to anchor it.

pressing-filling-into-dough

Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, slice the dough into 12 wedges, just like you would cut a pizza or pie.

cutting-dough

Roll each wedge up, beginning with the wide end and ending with the narrow end.

rolling-rugelach

Place the rolls point-side down, about an inch apart, on parchment lined baking sheets.

ready-to-bake

Bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly golden. 

baked-rugelach

Transfer the rugelach to a rack to cool completely. They are best served warm out of the oven, but keep well for several days stored in an airtight container. Enjoy…and Shana Tova to all who celebrate!

rugelach-cookies

Rugelach

Print Recipe
Servings: 48 cookies
Cook Time: 25 - 30 Minutes
Total Time: 2 Hours 45 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off with back edge of knife, plus more for rolling dough
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 8 oz (1 package) cold cream cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 egg yolk

For the Filling

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 4 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine.
  2. Add the chunks of butter and cream cheese, as well as the egg yolk. Pulse until the dough is moistened and crumbly with curd-like pieces about the size of peas. Dump the dough out onto a work surface. Knead just until it comes together and shape into a square or rectangle. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and flatten into 1-inch thick discs. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Wipe out the food processor. To make the filling, place the brown sugar, granulated sugar, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon in the bowl of the food processor and pulse until the walnuts and raisins are finely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and set aside until the dough is ready.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Remove one disc of dough from the refrigerator, unwrap it and place it on a lightly floured work surface. (If necessary, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes until pliable enough to roll, but not too soft.) Dust the top of the dough lightly with flour, then use a rolling pin to roll it into a 10-11" circle, or just under an 1/8" thick. Sprinkle more flour and turn as necessary so the dough doesn't stick. Spread 1/2 cup of the filling over the dough and lightly press it into the dough with your hands.
  6. Using a pizza cutter or very sharp knife, cut the dough into twelve equal wedges (just like you would cut a pizza). Roll each wedge up, beginning with the wide end and ending with the point. Place the rolls point-side down, about an inch apart, on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining dough. You should have 24 rugelach on each baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the tops are lightly golden and the bottoms are golden and crisp (at first glance, it might look like the bottoms are burnt, but that's just the dark filling oozing out). Transfer the rugelach to a rack to cool.
  8. Delicious Ideas for Chocolate Fillings:
  9. Chocolate Chips: Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips over each portion of dough (you'll need 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1 cup mini chocolate chips total). Be sure to press the chocolate chips firmly into the dough before rolling the cookies.
  10. Nutella: Warm 1 cup of Nutella in the microwave until it is just spreadable (not too hot!) and smear 1/4 cup evenly over each portion of dough. It's a little messier to roll the cookies when the dough is covered with chocolate spread, so pull each triangle wedge away from the circle before rolling.

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  • I’ve had this recipe since a baby shower given for me before my oldest daughter was born. I’ve always been afraid to tackle it. Your instructions have spurred me on. I’m going to do it. Thank you for shairng.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,
    Linda @ Tumbleweed Contessa

  • Veronica Hughes

    My mom used to trim pies, and use the left over to make similar ones. She just added sugar, cinnamon, butter. So yummy. :)

    • Jenn

      Yes, this dough is very similar to pie dough. Bet those were delicious!

  • MickMil

    Yes Jenn, these would make for a very happy new year!

    These rugalehs sure seems like something your great grandmother used to make and serve to us at the holiday dinner.

    Thanks for bringing those memories alive!

  • Jane

    You make it look so easy. Have you tried freezing these. Would be nice to stock up for the holidays

    • Jenn

      Hi Jane, Yes, you can freeze rugelach before baking. They can go straight from the freezer to the oven, just might take a bit longer to cook.

  • I’m tempted to make this today! I have all of the ingredients :) Looks delicious.

  • Wow! Looks easy! I must try it!

  • Myrna

    My mom spreads seedless raspberry jam over the dough, then sprinkles a similar nut/raisin mixture.

    Another use for this very easy dough is cheese knishes. Cut circles out and then add a TB of a filling made of cream cheese, farmer’s cheese, eggs, and sauteed onions in the middle of the circle. Fold dough over the filling and use fork tines to seal. Cook time is about the same as rugelach.

    • Jenn

      Apricot jam is delicious too…and I love the idea of savory fillings.

  • Judy

    Here the ending is kh as in a khet ח. If you see what I mean. I like them (bought) with chocolate in and heated in the microwave. Yum.

  • Debbie

    They look delicious, but can you recommend a substitute if you can’t use nuts (allergies)? Thanks.

    • Jenn

      Hi Debbie, You can just leave them out…it won’t make a difference. Or try adding a few tablespoons of apricot jam or dried apricots to the filling. There are also some wonderful chocolate variations…see the instructions in the actual recipe.

  • Becky Slater

    almost like our family recipe -but we spread just a touch of warm honey on the dough, then sprinkle on the brown sugar/nut mixture. We don’t use the berries, but nice idea Be careful if you use honey though – too much will ooze all over the place and burn…

  • Eliana G

    Would this work with anything else that could make it dairy free? Like margarine?

    • Jenn

      Hi Eliana, Yes, just be sure it is unsalted.

  • Michelle

    These were wonderful to eat, but not as pretty as yours in the picture – do you have suggestions for if the dough is too mushy? Many of my rugelach stuck to the table, despite my use of copious amounts of flour. Thanks!

    • Jenn

      Hi Michelle, Did you use the dough right out of the refrigerator? If you let it sit out too long, it will get too soft. You might try rolling it out on parchment paper; that way if it gets sticky, you can lift the parchment paper right up and chill in the fridge for a bit. u As for making them pretty, it just takes practice :)

  • Sharon

    My mother in law used to make these and I was thrilled when i found the recipe. Super easy to make and soo delicious!

  • I absolutely love your rugelach reciope…it’s so easy and tastes amazing. I make it very often now that I have your recipe.

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