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Rugelach. It's a fun word to say, especially if you let yourself get good and phlegmy with it. Rugel-aagchhhh. So you've said it, and that's fun, and then you eat it, and...nope. Not even a little fun. Other, less enthused phlegmy noises ensue.
If you've ever had rugelach of the synagogue-basement-function, cookie-tray variety, you'll know what I'm talking about—the dry, powdery dough; the anemic layer of sticky, congealed jam; the gluey paste it forms in your mouth, so dense you'll brave a glass of Manischewitz just to get it all down.
Fine, so Jews aren't champions at cookies. You win some, you lose some, right?
Meet real rugelach. The irresistible little crescent-rolled, sugar-encrusted packages of tart-sweet jam and rich, satiny swaths of dark chocolate. The rugelach that's crisp and flaky on the outside; and moist, tender, and chewy on the inside. That stuff I was describing before? Not rugelach. Barely cookie.
This recipe? It's pretty much perfect, and totally beginner-friendly. I'm talking fatty, tangy cream-cheese-laced, melt-in-your-mouth dough and a chunky filling of chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, and sugar. And, to avoid spending an entire day in the kitchen, we use a handy cheat: simply roll the dough into logs and slice them into even portions, rather than rolling each cookie individually. Yup. This is rugelach that's as enjoyable to make and eat as it is to say out loud.