Chocolate Rugelach

Tested & Perfected Recipes

chocolate rugelach

A much-loved Jewish holiday treat, rugelach (pronounced rug-a-lah) are miniature pastries posing as cookies. They’re made by rolling a buttery, flaky dough around a sweet filling of fruit, nuts, chocolate, or pretty much anything your heart desires. Yiddish for “little twists,” rugelach can be crescent-shaped, like this classic walnut-raisin version, or rolled into logs, much like a strudel, and cut into slices before baking. While they look like fancy bakery cookies, they are totally doable at home. The key is to think ahead: the dough needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour before rolling, and then quickly chilled again before slicing and baking.

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

chocolate rugelach

Pulse a few times to combine.

chocolate rugelach

Add the chunks of butter, cream cheese, and egg yolk.

chocolate rugelach

Process until the dough starts to come together into a well-moistened, crumbly mass, 20 to 30 seconds.

chocolate rugelach

Transfer the dough to a clean work surface.

chocolate rugelach

Gather the crumbly dough into a ball and knead, dusting the work surface and dough lightly with flour as necessary, until it comes together into a smooth ball.

chocolate rugelach

Shape the dough into a rectangle, then cut into 4 equal portions.

chocolate rugelach

Flatten each piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle.

chocolate rugelach

Wrap each section of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to 3 days.

chocolate rugelach

Next, make the filling. Place the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and melt in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until almost melted. Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the chocolate completely. (Alternatively, melt the chocolates in a double boiler on the stovetop.)

chocolate rugelach

Add the sugar and salt.

chocolate rugelach

Mix well; the mixture will be grainy.

chocolate rugelach

When you’re ready to roll the cookies, remove one section 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 it’s 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 an 8 x 11-in rectangle. Don’t make yourself crazy over it, but try to make it as even as possible around the edges; it will make it easier to roll. (Go ahead and trim slightly with a pizza cutter or sharp knife if it’s very uneven.)

chocolate rugelach

Using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, quickly spread 1/4 of the chocolate filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges.

chocolate rugelach

Starting from the long side, roll the dough tightly into a cylinder.

chocolate rugelach

Place the filled rolled dough, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and chocolate filling. Place the rolled dough logs in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, or until firm to the touch.

chocolate rugelach

Take the rolled dough out of the refrigerator. Using a serrated knife, slice off the uneven ends of each roll and discard. Then slice the rolls into 1-in-wide pieces.

chocolate rugelach

Place each slice, seam side down, on the prepared sheet.

chocolate rugelach

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool the rugelach on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

chocolate rugelach

Rugelach are best enjoyed fresh on the day they are made but any extra cookies can be stored in airtight container for up to 3 days, or freeze for longer storage.

chocolate rugelach

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Chocolate Rugelach

Servings: 36 cookies
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 50 Minutes, plus 1-1/2 hours to chill the dough

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-in chunks
  • 6 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 1-in chunks
  • 1 egg yolk

For the Filling

  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, best quality such as Ghiradelli, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Make the dough: Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse a few times to combine. Add the chunks of butter, cream cheese, and egg yolk. Process until the dough starts to come together into a well-moistened, crumbly mass, 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface. Gather the crumbly dough into a ball and knead, dusting the work surface and dough lightly with flour as necessary, until it comes together into a smooth ball. Shape the dough into a rectangle, then cut into 4 equal portions; flatten each piece of dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap each section of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 3 days.
  2. Make the filling: Place the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Melt in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until almost melted. Stir, allowing the residual heat in the bowl to melt the chocolate completely. (Alternatively, melt the chocolates in a double boiler on the stovetop.) Mix in the sugar and salt. The mixture will be grainy; that's okay.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Roll the cookies: Remove one section 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 it's 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 an 8 x 11-in rectangle. Don't make yourself crazy over it, but try to make it as even as possible around the edges; it will make it easier to roll. (Go ahead and trim slightly with a pizza cutter or sharp knife if it's very uneven.) Using an offset spatula or back of a spoon, quickly spread 1/4 of the chocolate filling (a heaping 1/4 cup) evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border around the edges.
  5. Starting from the long side, roll the dough tightly into a cylinder. Place the filled rolled dough, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and chocolate filling. Place the rolled dough logs in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  7. Take the rolled dough out of the refrigerator. Using a serrated knife, slice off the uneven ends of each roll and discard. Then slice the rolls into 1-in-wide pieces. Place each slice, seam side down, on the prepared sheet. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Cool the rugelach on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Rugelach are best enjoyed fresh on the day they are baked but any extra cookies can be stored in airtight container for up to 3 days, or frozen for longer storage.
  8. Make-Ahead Instructions: The unbaked sliced rugelach can be chilled and stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator before baking.
  9. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The unbaked sliced rugelach can be frozen for up to 3 months. Before freezing, let the sliced rugelach set on a baking sheet in the freezer for approximately 20 minutes, then place in a sealable bag and press out as much air as possible. Bake as needed directly from the freezer. (Allow 1 to 2 minutes longer in the oven.) To freeze after baking: Let the rugelach cool completely and store in an airtight container separating layers with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Before serving, remove the cookies from the container and let them come to room temperature.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (36 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 144
  • Fat: 9 g
  • Saturated fat: 5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Sodium: 51 mg
  • Cholesterol: 23 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Reviews & Comments

  • These cookies were delicious and loved by my whole family! However, when I rolled the the dough out, it kept sticking onto my work surface even after I dusted it liberally with flour. The chocolate filling also hardened after awhile making it difficult to spread onto the rolled dough. Any solutions to these problems?

    • — Cindy on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Cindy, The dough may have gotten too warm — you can always pop it back in the fridge for a bit if it’s sticking. As for the filling, you can heat it in the microwave in 10-second intervals to soften it if it gets too hard to spread — just don’t let it get too warm or it will heat the dough. 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 4, 2018
      • Reply
  • Just prepared this recipe today, we loved them! Thank you, Jennifer for another great recipe!

    • — Cesia K on October 4, 2018
    • Reply
  • This recipe is delicious and easy to make. Only thing about it is, I would melt the sugar with the chocolate because the sugar made the chocolate very grainy. Other than that the recipe turned out well.

    • — Alyssa on October 3, 2018
    • Reply
  • My grandson is allergic to eggs. Can the egg yolk be left out of the dough recipe or is there a substitute you can recommend?

    • — Barb S. on September 18, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Barb, Totally fine to leave out the yolk. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 19, 2018
      • Reply
  • This looks delicious! I don’t have a food processor. How do you recommend mixing the ingredients without one? Thanks!

    • — Elizabeth on September 18, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, If you have a mixer that would work (bring the butter and cream cheese to room temperature first). The dough won’t be quite as flaky, but they’ll still be good.

      • — Jenn on September 21, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    This recipe is just what I was looking for. Looks absolutely delicious 😋 I was wondering if I could sprinkle some sugar on top And would I do this before or after baking?
    Warmest regards,
    Christina

    • — Christina L on September 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Definitely, Christina! I’d brush them with a beaten egg, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar right before baking.

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2018
      • Reply
  • Jen, first of all I love your recipes. They are always very dependable and great tasting, so a very big, grateful thank you. My question is what could you do with a 3 pound Hershey’s milk chocolate bar? I was gifted one for a birthday. That is a lot of chocolate for the two of us!

    • — Susan White on September 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Susan, You could actually use it here in place of half of the bittersweet chocolate – I’ve made these with half milk chocolate with good results. You could also use it in my chocolate chunk cookies or double chocolate cookies. So happy you’re enjoying the recipes!

      • — Jenn on September 15, 2018
      • Reply
  • Hi Jen,
    I love your recipes and Website.
    Is there a good ready-made substitute to melting the chocolate? And would adding walnuts work well? Anything other than chocolate? Store bought rugelach have something brown but I am not sure it is chocolate. Sinamon + something?
    Thanks

    • — Ada on September 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Ada, You might prefer this recipe with walnuts, raisins and cinnamon. As for a chocolate substitute, you could try a chocolate/nut spread like Nutella but it won’t have the same intense chocolate flavor. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2018
      • Reply
  • These sound amazing! Would Nutella work ok as an easy filling?

    • — Danielle S on September 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Danielle, Nutella should definitely work, although I don’t think the chocolate flavor will be as prominent. I’d love to know how it turns out if you try it.

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2018
      • Reply
  • Definitely going to try this; I’d like to make a few with cinnamon and sugar as well instead of chocolate – would the cooking time be different? Thanks!

    • — janet on September 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Janet – I think it’d be about the same. I’d love to know how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2018
      • Reply
      • I made with mix of 1.5c br sugar and 3 TB cinnamon – results were ok, but the cinnamon was a bit overpowering. I want to try again – can you recommend a brown sugar:cinnamon ratio? Thanks

        • — janet on September 20, 2018
        • Reply
        • Hi Janet, I’d cut back the cinnamon but a lot – I’d add 1 – 2 tsp. at the most. 🙂

          • — Jenn on September 21, 2018
          • Reply
  • This looks wonderful, and thanks to your always beautifully written/photographed presentation, feasible for the rugelach-inept like me! One question: I’m a big fan of always having balls of cookie dough in the freezer that I can bake a few of at a time, when the urge for a freshly baked cookie strikes (in fact, I have a huge bag of your Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookie dough in the freezer right now 🙂 )… do you think it would work to slice each roll, then freeze all the sliced cookies in a Ziploc bag unbaked? Or would you recommend freezing the logs, then taking out the frozen log, letting it defrost enough to slice off a few cookies to bake, then sticking the rest of the (still mostly frozen log) back in the freezer (like with Dorie Greenspan’s World Peace Cookies)?

    Thank you for yet another wonderful recipe!

    • — RL on September 13, 2018
    • Reply
    • Yes, definitely – see the make-ahead/freezing instructions at the end of the recipe (this is a new feature on the site!).

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2018
      • Reply
      • I’m sorry I missed that (I was looking at the recipe on my Kindle & it got cut off) – love this new feature! Is there a difference in consistency (etc.) between freezing them baked vs. unbaked? In other words, do you have a preference?

        Thank you!

        • — RL on September 14, 2018
        • Reply
        • No worries! For best results, definitely freeze the rugelach unbaked.

          • — Jenn on September 14, 2018
          • Reply

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