Rugelach are Jewish cookie-esque things that are made by rolling up a triangle of dough that has filling laid on it. I started making them from a recipe I found in my Martha Stewart Baking Handbook, having Pinterested a photo of one ages ago and then never followed up on the idea. I do that a lot.
Now, having eventually gotten around to trying them out and fiddling around with the recipe, I really like making them because they seem to be my husband’s favourite baking item. He gets really enthusiastic about them, which is nice because I like making other people happy via food, especially him. Framing it that way also makes my ongoing love affair with delicious treats seem less troubling and more endearing. We even have our own nickname for these particular treats, because until I bothered to figure out the phonetic transcript on Wikipedia and learn how to actually pronounce it, we had no real clue and just called them ‘roogles’. I hope that comes off as ‘adorable’ rather than just ethnically insensitive. As for how to pronounce it, it’s ‘roo-gil-uck‘, as far as I can tell.
I also found them interesting because the American incarnation of them uses cream cheese as well as butter, which makes for a really tasty dough that is not too fat-laden and greasy, and has a nice light texture. I used this concept to develop my cookie recipe.
Rugelach Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart
- 225g Unsalted butter, softened
- 225g Cream cheese
- 160g Caster sugar
- 3 Egg yolks
- 1 t Vanilla
- ¼ t Salt
- 350g Soft flour
- 50g Ground Almonds
- 35g Soft brown sugar
- 15g/1 Heaped tablespoon Cinnamon
- 1 Extra egg for wash
- Extra caster sugar for topping
- Put the butter, cream cheese and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer. Cream them together using the paddle attachment until they are pale and fluffy.
- Add the egg and the vanilla. Beat the mixture until it is mixed and thickened.
- Add the salt, baking powder and flour. Mix gently until it comes together as a dough, but no more.
- Turn the dough out and divide it into three equal lumps. It will be really soft and sticky, but don’t worry. Shape each lump into a ball and flatten it slightly into a patty shape. This is to make it easy to roll out later.
- Wrap each dough patty in cling film and chill them for at least a few hours.
- Once the dough is well-chilled and firm, take it out and unwrap it, laying it out on a lightly floured bench. Flour the surface of the dough and gently roll it out so it is about 5mm thick. Keep the rolling pin and the dough lightly floured and keep moving the dough to make sure it hasn’t stuck to the bench.
- Once you are happy with your rolled-out circle, spread apricot jam evenly over it.
- Sprinkle a third of the almond, sugar and cinnamon mixture evenly over the circle on top of the jam.
- At this point you should cut the circle into 12 segments. I use a pizza wheel to do this, because I like to think I am fancy. A knife is fine.
- After cutting the segments, sprinkle chocolate chips evenly onto the dough circle. You need to do it after you’ve cut because they just get in the way otherwise.
- Roll each segment up, from the outside in. There will be a cute little ‘tail’ on the top, like a croissant.
- Place the rolls onto trays lined with baking paper.
- Lightly wash each roll with egg wash and sprinkle with caster sugar.
- Get your oven pre-heated to 180°C. Once it is hot, cycle your trays through one by one. You can bake more than one tray at a time but you need to rotate them so that they each get time on the top rack and bake evenly. Bake the rugelach until they darken up a bit and are beginning to go brown. They don’t really go golden but the egg wash gives them a warm colour.
- Transfer the rugelach to a cooling rack. Once they are cool, store them in an airtight container.