Rugelach is one of my all time favorite cookies. They are like tiny rolled crescents filled with a raisin & nut mixture. Today they are easily bought in any bakery aisle but don’t let the store-bought varieties fool you. They lack the rich flaky dough as well as the sweet and savory filling that make them so addictive. I don’t make rugelach very often because it’s a bit time-consuming. Years ago I started to double the recipe because it’s easier to make more than make it more often.
Rugelach רוגעלך is a Yiddish word which is interpreted as “little twists” which refers to the shape of the cookie. There are many different recipes, some with no dairy products, some with a sour cream dough and others with a cream cheese dough. I prefer the latter, the combination of cream cheese, butter and flour make a delicate cookie with appropriate flavors to compliment the filling. Fillings can vary as well. Ultimately, you can roll pretty much anything that will fit in this.
I tend to make smallish Rugelach, they bake evenly and are easier to work with. Most often I make them for Jewish holidays. They freeze well and actually taste great frozen. I made a large batch to split over Thanksgiving and Hanukkah but forgot to serve them last Thursday. It’s ok this way there’s more for me! The recipe also works best if you make the dough, split it into balls and refrigerate for a short while. I find the dough rolls easily then.
My Rugelach do not come out evenly sized and shaped but it doesn’t matter. They should be similar enough in size to bake evenly. Once I roll them out I use a pizza cutter to make the circles and then cut them into triangle pieces like a pizza. I doubt this is the way my great-grandmother did it but it works for me.
2 cups flour
1 8 oz block cream cheese (light is fine)
1 stick of butter room temperature
Mix the 3 ingredients together and break into 6 equal sized balls, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour
This part is truly a rough guess, I’ve never measured it!
3/4 – 1 cup each raisins and chopped walnuts
8-10 oz apricot preserves or jam
1/3 cup of sugar
cinnamon to taste ( a little nutmeg if desired)
Mix these ingredients together set aside
More flour and sugar will be needed for rolling
Take a ball of dough and roll it into a circle about 1/4″ thick and approximately 10″ round, use flour and sugar as needed so dough doesn’t stick
Using a pizza cutter trim ends of the circle and cut into 6-8 even pieces depending on desired size
On the wide end of each triangle add a small amount of the filling so that it spans the width
Roll it up from the filled side to the narrow end and gently push the narrow end to stick to the dough, it should stay easily
Place on a pan (sometimes I gently grease, sometimes I don’t) and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes until golden brown on the outside
Repeat with each ball, I often take the scraps and toss them into the bowl in the refrigerator holding the dough, usually there’s enough scraps to make 1 last circle of cookies