I have been on a quest for the ultimate rugelach recipe for many years now. For anyone who doesn’t know what rugelach is, it’s a bite size cookie made with a cream cheese dough that is filled with nuts, jam, and/or dried fruit. It is a traditional Jewish pastry served on holidays.
Each time I tried to make rugelach, the dough was just not right. This recipe, however is the ultimate recipe for rugelach. The dough was crispy, flaky and sweet. The fillings were sweet, crunchy and gooey in the middle. They couldn’t have come out better. Growing up, I have had many fond memories of rugelach being at social events, holidays and more specifically in my dad’s special “dessert drawer”. I believe with certain foods that bring back so many memories, you really need the perfect recipe. It is also important to pass down those “special desserts” to your own children so they can have wonderful memories of it as well.
You can easily use different jams and/or fillings for the middle. Experiment with different nuts, jams, dried fruit and chips. This recipe takes some time and love but well worth it in the end! I followed the recipe pretty much to a tee but did modify the fillings. I also made my own jam which made it even better. It is also best started the night before so the dough has plenty of time to chill. Find the recipe here at epicurious.
Kid Friendly Tips: This recipe can easily be done with your child. They can help you with picking out a filling for the rugelach and rolling it up like a log. You can work on counting by trying to figure out how many cookies you can yield in one log. Have your child “paint” the rugelach with milk. The best part will be eating them at the end. With regard to language, work on various actions (e.g. roll, brush, mix, measure, etc), sequencing, describing, recalling information, expanding vocabulary and much more.
Here is how I made it:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup apricot jam and/or strawberry jam (or jam of your choice)
1 cup loosely packed golden raisins or dark raisins
chocolate chips (optional)
Milk for brushing cookies
1. Cream together butter and cream cheese in one bowl (I did this in the food processor which made it super easy). In another bowl whisk flour with salt. Add flour mixture to butter cream cheese mixture. Combine until it forms a ball.
2. Make until a ball and wrap in sarah wrap. Flatten out to a 7 by 5 inch rectangle. Stick in fridge overnight (at least 8 hours)
3. Preheat oven to 350 and use butter to grease a cookie sheet.
4. Cut dough into 4 pieces. Chill 3 pieces, wrapped in plastic wrap, and roll out remaining piece into a 12- by 8-inch rectangle on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin.
5. Whisk 1/2 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
6. Arrange 1 dough rectangle on work surface with a long side nearest you. Spread 1/4 cup preserves evenly over dough with knife.
7. Add desired toppings (apricot jam, walnuts, and golden raisins are a good combination. Another great combination is strawberry jam and dark raisins). I want to experiment with nutella and banana next! Yum.
8. Sprinkle rectangle with cinnamon sugar.
9. After filling with desired jam and toppings, roll up tightly into a log. Place, seam side down, in lined baking pan, then pinch ends closed and tuck underneath. Make 3 more logs in same manner and arrange 1 inch apart in pan. Brush logs with milk and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of remaining cinnamon sugar. With a sharp large knife, make 3/4-inch-deep cuts crosswise in dough (not all the way through) at 1-inch intervals. If the dough is too soft to cut, stick it back in the fridge for about 20 minutes long or until firm enough to cut.
10. Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer log to cooling rack. Cut rugelach when cooled.