Rugelach, not to be confused with arugula (a lovely peppery green), is a traditional Jewish pastry. To pronounce correctly, you should sound like you’re coughing up phlegm at the end.

rugelach 7

Rugelach is the perfect thing to make this time of year. First of all, you can use it for Hannukah or Christmas because everyone loves it. You can make a huge batch and bring to both houses like us, one Jewish (sorta), one not. My Chinese family got addicted to rugelach from eating the giant boxes from Costco, which are dangerously good. Secondly, in December, fresh fruits are not very good in New York, so jams, preserves, and dried fruits are what’s in season.

Rugelach are in between pastry and cookie, a little crumbly, but also rich and a little doughy. They’re dense and combine the flavors of fruity and nutty, laced with cinnamon. Very addictive. The two-bite size is tricky cause you feel like you’re not eating that much, but they are quite caloric.

rugelach 5

I first started making rugelach about 10 years ago, before culinary school and all, but I have no idea where I got the recipe from. The early favorite has been tweaked many times over the years, till I got my perfect version(s), which may be a tad less sweet than most, but it did get Lon’s family’s (Jewish) stamp of approval. It’s a very versatile recipe, and I like to make a batch using different flavors of jams, or alternating the nuts. You’ll see the many “or” options in the recipe.

~ 48 individual pastries

  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots or raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or almonds
  • 3/4 cup jam or preserves (strawberry, raspberry, apricot, blackberry, etc.)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • turbinado as needed

Instructions –

1. Cream butter and sugar together with the paddle attachment on a mixer. Add flour and salt and mix until well combined.

2. Divide the dough into 6 equal disks and wrap them in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour. (You can make it the day before if you want.)

3. While dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, toss together sugar, cinnamon, dried fruit of choice, and nut of choice. Set aside.

apricot, pecan, cinnamon sugar mix

4. When the dough is ready, remove one piece from the fridge at a time, as you are using. Roll out disk between two pieces of plastic wrap, into an 8″ circle.

rugelach dough

5. Spread 2 tablespoons of jam/preserves on the circle dough.

dough with jam

6. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of cinnamon/sugar/fruit/nut mix.

jam, fruit, nut, cinnamon sugar 2

7. Cut into 8 wedges like a pizza.

cut in wedges

8. Roll each piece from the outside edge in, as pictured. Place point side down on an un-greased cookie sheet, two inches apart.

Roll up rugelach 1Roll up rugelach 2
Roll up rugelach 3
Roll up rugelach 4

9. Repeat steps 4 through 8 for remaining dough. You can use different flavors of jam/preserves for each circle (8 pieces) if you want.

10. In a small bowl, mix together egg yolk and water. Brush on top of each rugelach. Sprinkle with turbinado.

Rugelachs -before baking

11. Bake for 15 minutes on the top shelf, or until golden. Remove from oven and cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes. (If you wait too long, they may be harder to get off the cookie sheet.) Carefully remove to a cooling rack with a spatula. Cool and serve warm or room temperature.


posted by jessica at 10:35 PM Filed under Jewish, Recipes. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.