Why It Works
- Cream cheese in the dough means a tangy flavor, easier rolling, and a sturdy pastry that holds its shape for a bronzed, buttery, flaky cookie.
- Sprinkling fresh bread crumbs over the filling thickens any potential runniness.
- Baking the rugelach on stacked baking sheets prevents the bottoms of the cookies from burning.
- Egg-washing the cookies before baking gives them a shiny, bright finish.
Whether it was a party, or just for us kids, my grandmother always had a batch of flaky, golden-brown, stuffed-with-flavor rugelach ready to go. They were a traditional crescent shape with a cream cheese crust, and her trick of adding a handful of fresh breadcrumbs over the filling kept everything in place.
While hers were typically made with fruit and nuts, your only limit is your imagination. Raspberry-almond is a bright twist, but the dough easily makes the switch to host a savory filling. Nuts, olives, meats, and cheese would make a perfect rugelach party bite. Maybe onion jam and everything bagel seasoning?
This classic rugelach recipe has a more detailed explanation of making the dough and shaping (spiral or crescent?).
This innovative take on rugelach has all the flavors of the classic Tin Roof sundae (or a Drumstick from the ice cream truck, if you prefer). Browned butter stands in for caramel in the flaky pastry, which is wrapped around salty peanuts and a swipe of Nutella. The vanilla glaze ties all the flavors up in a bow, but don't even think about drizzling it on until the cookie has completely cooled.
For the Dough:
4 1/4 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup, spooned; 118g), plus more for dusting
4 ounces unsalted butter (8 tablespoons; 115g), browned, strained, chilled until hard, and cut into large cubes
4 ounces cream cheese (8 tablespoons; 115g), cut into large cubes
1/8 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use half as much by volume or use the same weight
For the Filling and Egg Wash:
1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) finely chopped salted peanuts
2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
4 ounces (about 1/2 cup) Nutella
1 large egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon cool water
For the Glaze:
4 ounces (about 1 cup, spooned) confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon (15ml) whole milk
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla extract
For the Dough: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, brown butter, cream cheese, and salt. Pulse 4 to 5 times, then turn the processor on and process until the dough forms a shaggy ball, about 1 minute.
Transfer dough to a lightly floured sheet of plastic wrap and lightly flour your hands. If making crescent cookies, gently form a disk 5 inches in diameter. If making sliced cookies, form dough into a 3- by 4-inch rectangle. Dust surface with flour and wrap tightly. Lightly press with a rolling pin to smooth, then lightly tap the disk or rectangle's edges on the counter. The smoother the edges, the less prone they will be to cracking later on. Chill until the dough registers 40°F (4°C) on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour. The dough may be frozen for 3 months; defrost overnight in the refrigerator to proceed.
Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 375°F (190°C). Stack 2 baking sheets and line the top one with parchment paper.
For the Filling: In a small bowl, combine peanuts and bread crumbs.
For Crescent-Style Rugelach: On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 9-inch circle, using a dinner plate and paring knife to trim edges. Spread Nutella over surface of dough using an offset spatula, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle peanut and bread crumb mixture evenly over filling. Using a sharp knife, pastry wheel, or pizza cutter, cut disk into 16 equal wedges. Starting from the wide end of each long triangle, roll up and press on the pointy end to seal. Place seam side down on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining triangles, working quickly and placing cookies about 2 inches apart. Transfer baking sheet to the freezer for at least 20 minutes before proceeding. Alternatively, freeze hard and transfer to freezer bags or containers for up to 6 months; defrost in the refrigerator overnight to proceed.
For Sliced Rugelach: On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 4- by 12-inch rectangle. Spread Nutella over surface of dough using an offset spatula, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the two 12-inch edges. Sprinkle peanut and bread crumb mixture evenly over filling. Starting at one 12-inch edge, tightly roll dough into a spiral. Aim to make 3 full revolutions, pressing seam firmly to seal. Place roll on baking sheet and freeze or refrigerate for at least 30 and no more than 45 minutes. (If chilled for longer, allow dough to warm very slightly at room temperature, so it will not crack when sliced.) Using a sharp knife, pastry wheel, or pizza cutter, cut roll into 12 cookies, each the shape of an isosceles trapezoid. Keep the smaller edge of the trapezoid no less than 1/2 inch in length, and the larger edge no more than 1 1/2 inches in length. Place seam side down on baking sheet and transfer to freezer for at least 20 minutes before proceeding. Alternatively, freeze hard and transfer to freezer bags or containers for up to 6 months; defrost in the refrigerator overnight to proceed.
To Finish and Bake: Brush cookies' surface with egg wash using a small pastry brush. Bake cookies until browned and flaky, about 22 to 25 minutes. Some filling may squish out; that’s okay. The bottoms of the rugelach should be caramelized, not blackened. Transfer the cookies (still on the parchment) to a rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
For the Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk confectioners' sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Use a fork to drizzle over chilled cookies, or transfer to a pastry bag and pipe over cookies. Let glaze firm up, then store rugelach in an airtight container, layered between sheets of wax paper, for up to 3 weeks, or freeze for up to 1 month.
It’s absolutely normal for the filling to squish out when the cookies bake, but if there are burnt puddles surrounding the cookies, leave a bigger border at the edge of the dough. The dough, unbaked cookies, or baked cookies may all be frozen.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 16g||20%|
|Saturated Fat 10g||49%|
|Total Carbohydrate 24g||9%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 15g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|