I had only been in New York a few days when I discovered Zabar's and their rugelach. Over here in Seattle we don't get much rugelach, and I'd never seen it growing up in Texas either. I've spoken with a few friends whose grandmothers had made rugelach (or had bought it regularly), but those folks were all from the East Coast originally. They were surprised when I pulled rugelach out of Cookies and Brownies, because rugelach doesn't really seem like a cookie. It's more of a little pastry, and looks like a mini cinnamon bun or a little croissant filled to the gills with cinnamon, sugar and nuts.
A few notes about this recipe:
- Cream cheese and butter make this dough tender and give it the pastry-like quality.
- You can fill it with anything - dates, dried fruit, nuts, spices...I even filled mine with unsweetened coconut.
- I didn't try freezing the dough, but I think it might hold up in the freezer well for a quick recipe later.
- I assumed 1 c AP flour = 4.5 oz
- I used almonds instead of walnuts, and instead of adding currants in with the nuts, I wated and sprinkled them directly on the dough. That allowed me a nut/sugar base on all of the dough circles, with variations like coconut, currants, and cherries on the individual circles. Instant variety pack!
- 22 minutes was enough for my rugelach to turn golden brown
2+1/2 c AP flour
2 T granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
16 T unsalted butter, cold
8 oz cream cheese, cold
2 T granulated sugar
1/2 c (packed) brown sugar, lump free
1 c finely chopped walnuts
1/2 c dried currants
2 cookie sheets, lined with parchment or foil
- To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
- Pulse a few times to mix.
- Cut the butter into 8 pieces and add to the flour mixture.
- Pulse until the butter pieces are about the size of breadcrumbs.
- Cut the cream cheese into 4 pieces and add to the mixture.
- Process until the dough begins to clump together, about 30 seconds.
- Divide the dough into 4 pieces and press each piece into a flat patty about 4" in diameter.
- Wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
- To make the filling, mix together the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, and currants in a medium bowl.
- Remove 1 piece of dough from the refrigerator.
- Roll between 2 pieces or wax paper into a 12-inch circle a scant 1/8" thick.
- Peel the top sheet of wax paper from the dough and place it on the counter or a cutting board.
- Flip the dough over onto the paper and peel off the second sheet.
- Sprinkle a quarter of the filling over the dough.
- Roll over the filling with a rolling pin to press it gently into the dough.
- Cut the dough like a pie into 12 equal wedges.
- Roll the wide outside edge up around the filling toward the point.
- Place the roll, with the dough point underneath to prevent it from unrolling, on a cookie sheet.
- Repeat with the remaining wedges, placing cookies 1+1/2 inches apart.
- If at any time the dough becomes too soft to roll, return it to the refrigerator to firm up.
- Roll, cut, and fill the remaining pieces of dough.
- Bake about 25 minutes, or until light golden brown at the edges.
- Rotate the sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.
- Set the baking sheets on a rack to cool. Cool the rugelach completely before storing or stacking. Rugelach are best on the day they are baked.
Makes 48 pieces
May be stored, airtight, for about 5 days
This recipe comes from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies, and is available on Purple House Dirt with permission from the author.