This Basic Rugelach recipe is easy to make and can be customized with fillings in many different ways. They are buttery, flaky and oh-so delicious.
I made these basic rugelach for thanksgiving along with the Mexican Wedding cookies. I call this recipe basic because you can use this recipe to make many many different versions by changing up the fillings. These cookies look fancy and seem like you worked all day on them, but they are quite easy to make.
What are Rugelach:
Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry. It is very popular in Israel and commonly found in cafes and bakeries. Rugelach is made in the form of a crescent shape by rolling a triangle of dough around the filling. Traditionally, they are filled with raisins and walnuts, apple, apricot and chocolate versions are also common.
I am not sure, but I always thought making rugelach is a time consuming process. I was so wrong, these cookies don’t take too long at all. This recipe is from King Arthur Flour.
Main ingredients for Rugelach crust is flour, butter and a healthy dose of cream cheese and sour cream. The resulting doug is almost like play dough – soft and satiny. This dough has to be chilled for at least 1 hour to help in easily rolling it out.
The crust doesn’t have any added sugar in it. All of the sweetness for the cookie comes from the filling.
I made 2 different fillings – walnut & dried cranberries and chocolate chips. I think my favorite is the walnut & cranberries filling – it is nutty, sweet and tart – all at the same time.
Are you wondering, how I ended up with these pinwheels? I did not read the recipe properly the first time. So instead of cutting the dough into wedges, I cut the dough into strips. That is how I ended up with these pinwheel cookies instead of the traditional rugelach shape. So, if you are in a hurry, this is another great option.
Perfect Holiday Edible Gift:
The best part of these basic rugelach is that they stay fresh for up to a week. Perfect to give as edible gifts during the holiday season and also to have around the house for those unexpected guests.
For the Crust:
- 2 Sticks (16tbsp, 1cup) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- ¾ cup Cream Cheese (I used low fat and it worked fine)
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 cups all purpose flour
For the Filling 1:
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup Walnuts, chopped
- ¼ cup Dried Cranberries, raisins or Currants
- 1½ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp Fruit preserves, warmed
For filling 2:
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp Unsweetened Cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon
- ¼ cup Mini Chocolate Chips
For the Topping:
- As needed Milk or Cream
- As needed Turbinado or Granulated Sugar
For the Crust:
- Beat the butter, cream cheese, sour cream and salt in a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the flour and mix until a stiff dough forms. Dough is pretty sticky, at this point.
- Divide the dough into 3 equal portions. Press into a disk, smoothing out the edges as much as possible. Wrap the discs in plastic and chill for about 1 hour, until it's firm but not too hard to work with.*
For the Filling:
- Process the sugar, walnuts, dried fruit and cinnamon in a processor until finely chopped and well combined.
To make Rugelach:
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll it out into a 10" circle on a floured surface. Brush it lightly with the warmed fruit preserves or water.
- Sprinkle half of the filling onto the round and press gently to help anchor to the dough.
- Using a pizza cutter, divide the dough into 12 equal wedges, Roll each wedge, beginning with the wide end and ending with the narrow end. Place the rolls point side down on a lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.
- Brush the rugelach with milk or cream and sprinkle with turbinado or granulated sugar.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Refrigerate the rugelach while the oven is preheating.
- Bake the rugelach for 25~30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Freeze for longer storage.
- Filling 1 is enough to fill 2 dough pieces and the chocolate filling 2 is enough for 1 dough ball.
- I had to leave them to chill overnight, so I left them out on the counter for about 1 hour to get to room temperature.