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.
My grandmother was famous for her rugelach: she kept them at the ready under a cake dome where us kids could easily reach them, and she offered them at bake sales and parties. Hers were the “American-style," made with cream cheese dough, and always included a secret ingredient: fresh breadcrumbs sprinkled over the filling to keep it in place.
You have a few decisions to make—the filling is ripe for creativity. Try this nutella-brown butter-peanut filled version. Rugelach can also be made savory: think olives, ham, or onion jam and everything bagel seasoning.
Also, what shape? My grandmother always rolled her cookies into crescents, which takes a little more time, but you can also choose spirals. This classic rugelach recipe has a more detailed explanation of making the dough and shaping.
Lastly, I bake rugelach on two stacked baking sheets, which tempers the heat and ensures you get golden, caramelized bottoms, instead of burnt ones.
For this raspberry-almond version, I add a whisper of orange zest to the dough, which zings in contrast with the jammy filling studded with nuts. You can substitute any jam, nut, or citrus here—this recipe is like a roadmap to rugelach. Start with rich, flaky cream cheese dough; add the citrus zest; and wrap it around the filling. This is less about the spices and more about the jam, so select a good spread, and be stingy while spreading it. Just a scant half cup will do the trick.
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), cut into large cubes
4 ounces cold cream cheese (8 tablespoons; 115g), cut into large cubes
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
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 to Finish:
1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) almonds, toasted and finely chopped
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup raspberry jam, homemade or a good-quality store-bought brand, such as Bonne Maman
1 egg yolk whisked with 1 teaspoon (5ml) cool water
1 teaspoon sparkling sugar
For the Dough: In the work bowl of a food processor, combine flour, butter, cream cheese, orange zest, 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 almonds and sugar.
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 jam over surface of dough using an offset spatula, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Sprinkle almond mixture evenly over jam, then top with bread crumbs. 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 jam over surface of dough using an offset spatula, leaving a 1/2-inch border along the two 12-inch edges. Sprinkle almond mixture evenly over jam, then top with bread crumbs. 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. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar. 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. Store 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)|
|Servings: 12 to 16|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 10g||13%|
|Saturated Fat 5g||27%|
|Total Carbohydrate 15g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||2%|
|Total Sugars 6g|
|Vitamin C 1mg||5%|
|*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.|