This recipe comes from my Great-Uncle Cliff ’s notebook. It’s the little one full of recipes that he kept in his pocket while working at his bakery in New Jersey. He was my grandmother’s brother, one of her two brothers that were professional bakers.
When we were looking to add to our bakery case, our baker, Amy, suggested rugelach, which she fondly recalls from visiting family in Israel as a child, when she was just tall enough to see the flaky pastry at all the bakeries.
MAKES 16 COOKIES
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
8 ounces salted butter, softened to room temperature
⅓ cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus some for sprinkling
⅔ cup nuts, chopped (we like walnuts)
⅔ cup raisins
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon
water for egg wash
Mix flour, cream cheese, and butter until just combined using a food processor or mixer with paddle. Place onto a work surface and form into a puck. Refrigerate overnight or until well chilled. Place sugars, nuts, raisins, and cinnamon into the food processor and pulse until everything is chopped finely and just starts to bind together. Be careful not to blend into a paste.
Roll out dough into a circle about ⅛ inch thick. Spread filling over the dough and press lightly so it will stay in when you roll up the rugelach. Cut like a pie into 16 wedges and roll each wedge starting with the widest part and rolling toward the point, like a croissant.
Place on a baking pan and refrigerate to chill a bit. This helps increase the flakiness. Once chilled, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with a light coating of sugar for a nice crunch.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 25–30 minutes, until light golden in color.
This recipe features a cinnamon filling, but you can also try chopping chocolate and mixing it into your favorite jam to spread over the dough in the same way as the cinnamon filling. Or leave out the chocolate and just use your favorite jam.