recipe

Rugelach: the delicious recipe for a classic Jewish cookie

Total time: 1H20 + resting time
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 15 people
By Cookist
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Ingredients
for the dough
All-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups
Salt
1/4 tsp
cold butter, cubed
1 cup
cream cheese, cubed
8 oz
egg yolk
1
for the filling
Brown sugar
1/2 cup
Sugar
1/4 cup
Walnuts
1 cup
Raisins
1/2 cup
Cinnamon
4 tsp

Rugelach (pronounced rug-a-lah) is an irresistible Jewish pastry that is a delight to the taste buds. These small crescent-shaped treats are made from buttery, flaky dough and filled with a sweet cinnamon, walnut, and raisin filling. They look like cookies and are ideal to make and serve anytime you're hosting a large group, especially on Jewish Sabbath and Hanukkah.

Rugelach means “little twists” in Yiddish, the language spoken by Ashkenazi Jews. They're super easy to make and even easier to customize – you can fill your homemade rugelach with anything from chocolate to fruit jam, chopped dried fruit, nuts, and more!

What is Rugelach?

Rugelach are a type of filled pastry with origins in Poland's Jewish communities, although they're a favorite treat found everywhere from Israel to all over the United States. Rugelach are crescent-shaped and filled with cinnamon, jam, nuts, and chocolate.

Schnecken is a similar treat. It comes from the German word for snail and is shaped in a spiral. Schnecken usually has sour cream in the dough, which rugelach usually does not. They're almost exclusively filled with cinnamon and raisins, while rugelach may contain jam and other fillings.

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Traditional Rugelach Ingredients

To make rugelach cookies, you'll need flour, cream cheese, butter, egg, and salt to make the dough. Making sure you use cold ingredients for the dough will yield wonderfully tender, flaky, buttery cookies.

For the filling, the most traditional versions of rugelach are made with sugar, nuts, and cinnamon. However, you can swap these out for other fillings if you prefer.

How to Make Rugelach

Don't worry if you've never made rugelach before. Making a tasty batch of traditional rugelach is a cinch! Start by sifting the flour and salt into a food processor. Add in the butter, cream cheese, and egg yolk and combine until small chunks form. Turn the dough out onto a clean work area and knead briefly until the dough just comes together. Don't overwork the dough!

Roll it into a square, then slice the dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a flat disc, then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour or up to overnight. Put the nuts, raisins, cinnamon, and sugars into the food processor. Run the food processor until the nuts and raisins are finely diced.

Roll out the dough and spread ½ cup of filling over the disc. Cut the dough into 12 equal triangles and roll them into crescents, the same way you would a croissant. Bake the rugelach for 25 to 30 minutes at 350F. Remove them from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool completely before enjoying.

Tips for Rugelach Cookies 

Make sure to measure the flour properly. Level off the measuring cup with a knife.

Using a food processor is the easiest way to make rugelach, but you can make it completely by hand as well.

Don't overwork the dough.

Some other tasty rugelach fillings you might enjoy include chocolate, Nutella, Biscoff, raspberry or apricot jam, marzipan, or other dried fruits like cranberry, figs, or dates.

How to Store Homemade Rugelach

Keep your rugelach fresh by storing them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week. In the fridge, they'll keep for up to 2 weeks, or you can freeze the cookies for up to 2 months.

Instructions

Sift the flour and salt into a food processor.

Add in the butter, cream cheese, and egg yolk. Blitz the ingredients until they're combined and roughly the size of peas.

Turn the dough out and knead briefly until the dough just comes together. Roll it into a square, then chop the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a flat disc, then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

Rinse out the food processor. For the filling, put walnuts, brown sugar, sugar, raisins and cinnamon into the food processor.

Blitz until the nuts and raisins are finely diced. Preheat your oven to 350F. Line two baking trays with parchment paper.

Take out one of the dough discs. Lightly flour your work surface. Sprinkle flour over the top, then roll it out. Spread ½ cup of filling over the disc. Cut the dough into 8 to 12 equal triangles.

Roll the wedges starting with the wide end to form crescents.

Put the crescents point-side down on the baking trays. Repeat with remaining dough.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

Make sure the butter and cream cheese are quite cold. This will make the cookies extra flaky.

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