For some reason, I got on a baking kick this week. And I decided to make rugelach. Rugelach is a jewish pastry, sort of. Like all "jewish" foods, its a European thing, brought to America first by Jews, and adopted into Jewish culture. I like them, and I thought I'd try and make them.

All of the recipes sounded a little hard, but it actually turned out to be a snap. The first few times I made these, I used these two recipes. However, when I stumbled upon this recipe, it became the instant winner.

Here I've only included the recipe for dough (and then the process for making the rugelach) because you can honestly fill them with anything you want. I think jams are best, but a cottage cheese/cream cheese filling also works.

Ingredients for Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces cream cheese, cold and cut into cubes
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
powdered sugar
filling of your choice (such as jam or a cottage cheese/cream cheese/sugar/vanilla blend)

Making the Dough
Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to mix.

Scatter the cubes of cream cheese and butter over the flour. Pulse 10 to 12 times until coarse crumbs form.

Whisk together the vanilla and yolk in a bowl, and the pour them over the butter-flour mixture. Run the processor continuously until the dough starts to clump together and form large curdlike pieces.

Turn the dough out onto the counter and gather the pieces into a ball. Divide into four portions and flatten each into 1-inch thick disks. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate the dough at least 2 hours or up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months (thaw in the refrigerator before using).

Making the Rugelach

Preheat the oven to 375 dF.

Spread powdered sugar liberally on your rolling surface, your rolling pin, and your dough.

Roll each ball of dough into a 14-inch circle.

Spread filling evenly over dough. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Leave both the edges and a 2" hole in the center of the circle free of filling.

Cut the circle into 12-16 equal wedges (your choice for how large you want the rugelach).

Tuck in the corners of the wide end. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge.

Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Refrigerate the cookies for 20 minutes.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes. Move to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Rugelach: in progress
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