Rugelach Cookies

19 Sep

This is the last Jewish recipe I will share for the week, and after matzo ball soup and honey apple challah, of course we have to finish with some dessert.  As promised, I baked some cookies:

I really love the taste of these cookies.  Of course the raisins, walnuts, brown sugar and honey are classics that I adore, but the cookie dough is unique.  It tastes like shortbread, but lighter from the cream cheese.  The mild cream cheese flavor also offsets the filling which would otherwise be too sweet.


The dough comes together in a snap—cream together softened butter and cream cheese, then sugar and flour. Combine that into a ball (the dough is thick), then into the fridge for a few hours to chill.

It will be hard when it comes out of the fridge.  Just press hard, sprinkle on a bit of flour, and repeat until you can roll it more easily.  After a few minutes it becomes more cooperative.  You do still want it to be reasonably chilled when you apply the filling so it will be easier to roll and not as sticky.  I probably rolled my dough too thin, but you want a rectangle 1/8-1/4 inch thick.

First, a drizzle of honey, then a sprinkling of sugars, walnuts and raisins!  Easy!

Roll as tightly as you can and give it a good squeeze on the seam to seal.  Then transfer to saran wrap, wrap it up tight and throw it into the freezer for 15-30 minutes (or your fridge if you want to make the cookies later).

The dough will be quite firm and easily sliced with a sharp knife.  Cut into ¼ inch or so thick rounds, place on a greased and parchment paper lined baking sheet, and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  These don’t rise much (no eggs or leavening agents), so you can bake them pretty close together.

Bake for 18-20 minutes at 350 F until slightly golden brown.  The filling will be bubbly, and the dough will look set.

Now, when recipes say “line with parchment paper”, I usually ignore it.  I give some aluminum foil a spray of Pam and have never had any problems.  Until these cookies.

The honey, sugars and raisins heat into a delicious, delicious sticky-bun like caramel in the oven.  The problem:  caramel is sticky!  Like, really sticky.  These would not come off of the baking sheet!  I waited for them to cool, got out a thin spatula and used some elbow grease and I did release them all from the tin foil, but I broke several in the process (my dough was rolled pretty thin and they were fragile)…guys, use parchment paper.

Turn the cookies upside down after you scrape them from the baking sheet onto whatever cooling tray you use (should ideally also be lined with parchment paper) to avoid more stickiness.

In spite of my lack-of-parchment-paper frustrations, I do like these cookies.  They look and taste like cute little sticky buns, and are overall a pretty easy concoction.  Plus they’re totally customizable!  Apricot preserves, raisins and walnuts are traditional, but you can use whatever nuts and dried fruit you like (and I used honey instead of jam).


Rugelach Cookies 

Makes~24 cookies

Adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup fruit preserves (warmed), or honey

Cinnamon Sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • Cream together cream cheese and butter with an electric mixer until smooth and fully incorporated, add sugar and blend until well combined.  Stir in flour until the dough comes together (it will be very thick), then form into a ball, wrap with saran wrap, and chill in the fridge until stiff (at least an hour)
  • Once chilled, remove from fridge, and on a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a rectangle 1/8-1/4 an inch thick.  Spread on a thin layer of preserves or honey, then sprinkle with sugars, fruit, and nuts.  Roll very tightly into a log (roll from the long sides so that you will have a long log), then wrap with saran wrap and return to the fridge or freezer again to chill.
  • Once chilled, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (seriously, use parchment paper) and set aside. Mix together the cinnamon sugar and set aside.
  • Slice chilled dough into pinwheels 1/4 inch thick.  Toss each cookie in the cinnamon sugar and place a few inches apart on the baking sheet (they won’t rise much though in the oven).  Bake 18-20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Lift parchment paper from baking sheets and transfer to a cooling rack to cool.

One Response to “Rugelach Cookies”

  1. foodfrommetwoyou September 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

    these look delicious…i bet the sourcream dough makes them so yummy..nice post..

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