Years ago, Rugelach (roo-guh-lah) was a treat that originated in the Eastern European Jewish community. There are many ways to make them and even more recipes that are called “Rugelach”. Rugelach are made in many shapes and flavors but typically they are all formed to be the size of a cookie. A classic variety is the traditional crescent shape.
Cooking with sour cream is a Central European tradition with its roots in the Middle East. Cakes, pastries, and cookies combining sour cream with fruits, jams, nuts, and spices are specialties of Eastern Europe. The American contribution to Rugelach was to replace sour cream with cream cheese and create a multitude of new fillings, especially dark chocolate.
Rugelach – Polish Cream Cheese Cookies
- Stand Mixer with paddle attachment
- 2 Large baking pans lined with parchment paper
- Wire baking rack
- 8 oz Unsalted butter, softened
- 8 oz Cream cheese, softened
- 5 tbsp Sugar
- 2 tbsp Light brown sugar
- 1½ tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 2 cups All-purpose flour (10 ounces)
- 6 oz Bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp Cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp Ground cinnamon
- 12 oz Raspberry jam (optional)
- ¼ cup Light brown sugar (optional, for raspberry filling)
- 1 cup Walnuts, finely chopped
- In a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix butter, cream cheese, 3 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp brown sugar, and salt. Combine on medium speed, about 1 minute. Mix in vanilla and then slowly add flour until thoroughly combined. Pat dough into an 8-inch square, wrap in plastic wrap, and cool in refrigerator for about an hour.
- To make chocolate filling, mix together chopped chocolate, 1 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp brown sugar, cocoa powder and walnuts.To make filling for raspberry filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and walnuts.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. (177°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut dough into 4 pieces, remove 1 and put rest back in the refrigerator to stay cool. Place dough piece on a floured surface and roll out into a 12 by 4-inch strip. Sprinkle ¼ chocolate mixture onto dough a press into dough to adhere. Roll into a 12-inch log finishing with seam along bottom of the "log". Cut into 12, 1-inch slices and move them to half a baking sheet, spacing evenly apart. Repeat with 3 other dough pieces, filling the first pan with 12 more and second pan with 24 cookies. Replace chocolate filling with ⅓ cup raspberry jam per log, topped by sugar mix, if desired.
Cook and Serve
- Mix 2 tbsp sugar with ¼ tsp cinnamon in a small bowl. Sprinkle on rugelachs. Bake until they become a light golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. After first 10 minutes, swap racks. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes on pans, then transfer to a wire bakers' rack to cool further.