Originating from Eastern European Jewish culture, rugelach cookies are a treat for any time of the year, but they’re often served during Rosh Hashanah. It’s a delicious and versatile dessert…one you can make with seemingly endless fillings!
Immigrants from countries like Hungary and Poland brought rugelach to the United States, where American families and chefs altered the recipe slightly to include cream cheese. Together with the butter, this makes for decadent and soft dough that turns delicate and flaky once baked.
Preserves, jams and dried fruit are common ingredients, but you could even substitute mini chocolate chips for the raisins in our recipe.
Rugelach dough can be made and refrigerated up to several days in advance, which makes it a great go-to dessert for large parties!
Classic Rugelach Recipe
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cut into ½" cubes
- 8 oz cream cheese, cut into ½" cubes
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 egg yolks, reserve white for brushing
- 1 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- Add flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse to combine and then add the butter, cream cheese, vanilla and egg yolk. Pulse several more times until everything is combined and the mixture appears crumbly but will hold together when pressed.
- Divide the mixture into 4 equal parts and shape into flat discs. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to several days.
- To make the filling, place the walnuts into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer the walnuts to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt and stir until completely and uniformly mixed and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Remove 1 disc of dough from refrigerator and roll into a 10" circle. Spread about 2 Tbsp of soft butter over the surface of dough. Sprinkle ¼ of the filling over the dough and press lightly into the dough.
- Use a knife or pizza cutter to cut the circle into 12 equal sized wedges the same way you would cut a pie. Roll up each wedge beginning from the wide end and rolling to the tip. Place on the prepared baking sheet with the point on the bottom to prevent unrolling. Repeat with remaining wedges. Refrigerate the already shaped cookies while you finish shaping the remaining cookies.
- Allow each batch of cookies to chill for at least 15 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together 2 Tbsp brown sugar with 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Brush the top of each cookie with the reserved egg white and sprinkle lightly with the cinnamon sugar.
- Bake 20 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden. Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Rugelach are especially popular during Rosh Hashanah because eating dessert during the holiday marks the start to a 'sweet' New Year!