March 6th, 2009



i’m not sure if it’s the weather, but lately i’ve been craving christmas cookies. it actually snowed here a few days ago, and since i’ve associated being cold 24/7 with stuffing my face with festive baked things, it’s been a delicious week. although rugelah are decidely jewish, we always had them on christmas morning with breakfast as a treat.


i don’t mention my day job very often, but i’m privileged enough to work a place where i can use my passion for food every day. i don’t want to get into much more detail, but one of my perks is occasionally getting free cookbooks, like  joan nathan’s The Jewish Holiday Kitchen. i’m especially excited because her challah recipe was my first yeast bread.


does this look like a lot of extra filling? it is. i accidentally halved the dough recipe but kept the filling recipe the same, so not only were the cookies stuffed, there was a bunch of spill-over. luckily, when sugar coated raisins and nuts get baked, the result is an incredible caramelized trail mix (minus any redeeming health benefits). i’ve been eating it by the handful since.



i’ve had trouble in the past with doughs that need to be refrigerated and then rolled out later, but this one seemed to hold together perfectly. it didn’t stick to the table when i rolled it out, and it puffed and crisped every so slightly and perfectly in the oven. don’t like raisins and nuts? try any kind of jam or preserves and whip up a batch. then eat them in front of a roaring fire with big cup of hot cocoa to stave off freezing. spring, get here NOW!


makes 24. from joan nathan’s The Jewish Holiday Kitchen.

1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts (i used walnuts and pecans)
1/4 cup decorating sugar (for sprinkling)

1. in a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese together. beat in the flour, little by little. knead the dough slightly until all the flour is incorporated. refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. combine the filling ingredients (except for the 1/4 cup decorating sugar) and set aside.

3. prehead the oven to 350F. remove the dough from the fridge and divide into two portions. roll out one of the portions of dough in a circle about 1/16 inch thick. spread half of the filling on the dough. using a knife or pastry wheel, cut the dough into 16 pie-shaped wedges. roll the the dough wedges starting from the wide edge and ending at the point.

4. place the cookies on an ungreased baking sheet and sprinkle with decorating sugar. bake for 15 minutes, remove, brush with 1 Tbsp melted butter, and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown.

20 Comments for rugelach - why not leave some love?

  1. Jane says:

    Yummy looking rugelach! I have also made mine with a mixture of chopped dried apricots, pecans and golden raisins. Sheer heaven with a hot cup of tea or coffee!

  2. radish says:

    these look just like the ones my grandmother used to make – i love them! she also added a tiny drop of apricot preserves…

  3. Joy says:

    Hi Pete!

    Your rugelach look simply scrumptious! Even without extra filling, I always seem to have that spillage problem, and along with cookies, my baking sheet emerges with a layer of bubbling jam, toasty nuts, and shriveling raisins (or sometimes even some melting chocolate chips!). I also wanted to recommend my favorite baking book for classic Jewish recipes, Marcy Goldman’s “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking.” It’s packed with lots of great recipes, and a number of my favorite signature challahs come from its pages. Definitely check it out.

    Are you going to make Hamantashen this weekend for Purim? Let me know if you need a good recipe!


  4. flourchild says:

    I made rugelach at Christmas for the first time. By this time, I had baked 2 batches each of 12 different kinds of cookies plus mint fudge for shipping out to family. Maybe being so tired and making a half-baked attempt (sorry!) to continue is the reason these turned out less than stellar. Maybe the dough was too thin. They tasted fine but were, in the end, not worth all the work involved. And I much preferred all the other cookies above them. Yours look wonderful, however. Maybe had I turned out ones like yours, I wouldn’t have sworn off baking them again!

  5. Lauren says:

    I don’t think there is such a thing as too much (filling, pieces consumed, …) when it comes to rugelach! Beautiful work.

  6. jetlaaged says:

    Just wanted to thank you for all the great recipes you’ve shared with us all. I especially liked the bread recipes. We usually go through 2 loaves a week. But if my son & daughter-in-law stop by it’s at least 3 loaves. The cheese gougere’s were also a big hit.
    Bill (

  7. dawn says:

    last time I made rugelach it was, well, a mess. all the filling came out. yours looks perfect, you must have that special touch.

  8. Dee Miller says:

    I have been getting your emails for a couple of months now. I cannot believe how much I have started looking forward to getting them. My coffee tastes much better while viewing the pictures of your latest creative endeavor. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Sara says:

    These look great, you rolled them perfectly. I recently made rugelach for the first time a few months ago. My favorite kind is with nuts and apricot jam.

  10. Kristina says:

    I’m pretty sure the reason the dough was so easy to roll is the sheer amount of fat! Two sticks and 8 oz of cr. cheese?! It has to be super delicious.

  11. Kirsten says:

    I had always wondered how to get the dough the right shape for that. The version in my head involved a lot of cutting and rolling. I will have to give this a try.

  12. Kathryn says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe–these cookies are fantastic! I can’t beleive how easy they are to make!

  13. Dorothy says:

    I just made this recipe and they were delicious! I followed your dough recipe and instructions (with margarine instead of butter–but brushed with butter) but I used raspberry or apricot preserves (tried each) instead of the filling, and sprinkled it with a mixture of 3:1 sugar and cocoa (idea from a different rugelach recipe. They are absolutely fantastic!! Thank you so much, this one is an instant classic in my house!

  14. SUGAR PLUM says:

    Having never made Rugelach ,u expalin it so well ,i didn even know about this fantastic jewish cookie and have to bake this one at a lovely baking group am a part of -u make it seems so easy here and if i aint wrong they do also roll up the whole dough and slice it is it?
    would love to work with an addition of choco-jam combi too.
    u have lovely pics here
    a happy cheerfull bright new year t ya……

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