I know, I know what you’re thinking-“what does a woman with an Italian last name know about Rugelach?” Well, I’m going back to my roots! I’m not Italian, I’m of Eastern European descent and I used to be Jewish. It’s a long story, but I still cook a lot of traditional Jewish foods and my mixed heritage kids love them! Rugelach are one of those foods that transcend ethnicity. The are little, rolled pastry/cookies filled with jammy, nutty, raisiny, cinnamony goodness!
They look difficult, but they’re really easy and are they addicting! The best recipe I’ve found so far is Ina Garten’s. The following recipe is hers and it will be followed by tips and ways to change it up. By the way these freeze really well.
Rugelach (about 4 dozen cookies)
8 oz. cream cheese, room temp 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 sticks (1/2 lb.) unsalted butter, room temp 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus 9 tablespoons 3/4 cup raisins
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in food processor
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 sugar, the salt and the vanilla. With the mixer on low-speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well floured surface and roll into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.
On a well floured surface, roll each ball of dough into a 9″ circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges-cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each into thirds. Starting with the wide edge roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on cookies. Bake 15 -20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.
1. Room temp means room temp! If the cream cheese and butter are too cold, they won’t mix properly.
2. If you haven’t invested in a stand mixer, the dough can be done by hand-its just more difficult.
3. The refrigeration period is important! It will enhance the flakiness of the dough and not cause it to spread too much or open up.
4.You can use different fillings: seedless raspberry jam and almonds, nuts and mini chocolate chips etc. the combinations are endless!
5. When you blend up the preserves it will become opaque-that is the way its supposed to look-don’t worry! Enjoy! They won’t be around long.