Snapshots from Israel: Rugelach from Marzipan Bakery in Jerusalem

"These are very different from any rugelach I've ever tried."


Rugelach. [Photograph: Leah Douglas]

On our way to Mahane Yehuda market in central Jerusalem, a friend raved on and on about the rugelach at nearby Marzipan Bakery. These chocolatey, fudgy cookies have a cultish following among Israelis and Americans alike.

Marzipan is not a typical bakery. The sweets aren't displayed behind glass panes; there's no swinging door. Rather, enormous trays of freshly-baked—and I mean piping-hot, still-melty, really-freshly-baked—rugelach surround the cashier at waist level. About a dozen customers are grabbing and bagging their own cookies at any given moment, waving shekels at the unhurried, almost bemused cashier. In one corner of the narrow shop is an extremely hot oven; keep your head down or risk getting bonked by a baker running with a steaming tray of cookies out to hungry locals.

These are very different from any rugelach I've ever tried. Many American Jews tend towards cinnamon-sprinkled, raisin-dotted rugelach with a crispy, flaky exterior. Marzipan rugelach are shamelessly rich, practically oozing a chocolate filling. The dough is still tender and somewhat flaky but certainly not crisp. A single bite of these two-inch treats nearly sent me into a sugar coma.

Going to Marzipan is an experience. I have never before been so overwhelmed, exhilarated, and amused while purchasing cookies. The rugelach themselves are a little too mushy and sweet for me, but it's tough to wholeheartedly complain about a cookie that's just a little too chocolatey.

Marzipan Bakery

Agrippas 14 Jerusalem (map)

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