Rugelach is a crescent-shaped filled pastry that originated in Jewish communities of Eastern and Central Europe. It can be filled with fruit jams, nuts, or sweet pastes. Rugelach originally was made from a yeast dough which required kneading, rising, and folding — but that evolved into a cream cheese mixture that could be more easily mixed in a food processor. There are lots of filling options for the rugelach: nuts (typically walnuts), cinnamon, chocolate, marzipan, poppy seeds, or fruit preserves.
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
¼ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
Filling of your choice
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
½ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons cinnamon
Confectioners’ sugar, sifted, for dusting
In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Process until well mixed. With processor on, add the butter through the feed tube. Process until mixture resembles crumbs. With the processor on, add the cream cheese through feed tube, pulsing until dough starts to form. Using floured hands, turn dough out on a floured work surface and form dough into a log. Divide the log into 4 pieces. Shape pieces into 4 flat discs. Wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Let dough discs rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Place a piece of lightly floured parchment paper on your work surface. Working with one disc at a time, place a dough disc on the parchment. Place another piece of parchment on top. Using a rolling pin, roll dough disc into a 12-inch round about ⅛-inch thick. Remove the top sheet of paper. Top with filling of your choice, spreading evenly. Cover the filling with a piece of parchment or wax paper and gently press it into the dough. Remove and discard paper.
Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 12 wedges or triangles. Start by cutting the dough round into quarters and then each quarter into thirds. Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough wedges into a crescent. Place, seam side down, on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Make sure the points are tucked under the cookie.
Refrigerate the formed cookies for at least 30 minutes before baking. The cookies can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to two months. When ready to bake, do not defrost the cookies. Just add a few more minutes to the baking time.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and water. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Brush top of rolled cookies with the egg white wash, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking cycle. The finished cookies should be golden and puffy. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Store in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days.
Mary DiSomma, Foodie, Author, Philanthropist, Mother, Wife and so much more...
Mary DiSomma, an enthusiastic and imaginative baker of cookies, is the author and publisher of A Gift of Cookies: Recipes to Share with Family & Friends. She is also a philanthropist, podiatrist, entrepreneur, and mother of four grown children.
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