Saturday, December 8, 2012

Chocolate-Raspberry Rugelach

My mom and I have had this running joke for the past couple of years.  A couple of years ago, she decided to try out this new recipe for rugelach that she had found, so she did, and they were amazing.  I had never been too much of a fan of rugelach, but that was probably because I was too stuck in my "the-more-chocolate-contained-in-the-recipe-the-better" phase, so I would usually skip over rugelach found in holiday cookie platters, and instead go for rainbow cookies, chocolate chip cookies, or anything chocolate dipped.  It was not until I was a little older and my cookie taste palate had refined a bit that I learned to appreciate rugelach for the delicious little cookies that they are.  Now, they're one of my favorites!  In any case, I'm not exactly how the joke between my mom and I started, but it involves a little old lady who lives on the corner of my block.  For some reason, my mom started saying that the rugelach she made were actually made by the little old lady on the corner, even though I knew this was obviously untrue, because I had helped to make them myself.  It's been a very long while since my mom has made another batch of rugelach cookies, so I always end up asking her, "what's going on with the old lady, and why hasn't she ever made us any more rugelach!?"

My mom simply rolls her eyes at me, laughs a bit, and says she's probably just busy.  Sigh.

It was up to me to make the next batch of rugelach.  Rugelach, in case you're curious, aren't technically cookies, but rather, are traditional Jewish pastries.  Traditional rugelach come in a crescent shape, with a filling in between the rolls.  Rugelach can be made with either sour cream or cream cheese, and fillings generally include raisins, walnuts, fruit preserves, and chocolate, and they are very popular during Hanukkah...or in my case, any time of year!  I can't get enough of these cookies and their delicious, cream-cheesey pastry.  

Making rugelach is certainly a bit more time consuming than making your favorite batch of chocolate chip cookies or any other sort of drop cookie, but in my opinion, the results are definitely well-worth the extra time and effort.  The dough itself is very simple to prepare, as you just have to incorporate the ingredients into your mixer and let it do all the work.  I do have one very important tip to give though.  Having room temperature butter and cream cheese is very important in this recipe! I'm not gonna lie, I pretty much always forget to take out butter/cream cheese well enough in advance for it to reach room temperature, and end up having to cheat with the aid of the microwave/warm water bath, but with these rugelach, I made sure to take out the butter and cream cheese the night before, to ensure that they were at room temperature.  This is the only way to guarantee that your butter and cream cheese will cream together perfectly, so don't skip this step!  

Once you have room temperature ingredients, the rest is just a waiting game (a couple of hours for the dough to chill), and a matter of assembly.  The assembly part is actually fun, and would be a great way to involve kids in the process!  Kids love rolling up crescents (I remember that I loveddddd whenever my mom bought those refrigerated crescent rolls, rolling them up was definitely as good as eating them!).  The filling I chose to make contains walnuts, cocoa powder, and raspberry preserves, but the filling is totally flexible, and you can change it up as you like.  I've decided that the next batch of rugelach I make will have apricot preserves and pistachios...I can't wait for it!  

Rugelach are an incredibly delicious holiday dessert perfect for Christmas cookie platters, or for after a Hanukkah meal.  Whatever you celebrate, make sure you include a batch of these tasty little cookies on your holiday baking list!  Enjoy!

Chocolate-Raspberry Rugelach
recipe from Pastry Pal


For the Dough

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling

1/4 cup walnuts, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons raspberry preserves, divided in three

powdered sugar (for dusting)


To make the dough, cream together the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat until smooth, and then mix in the vanilla extract and sugar.  Mix in half the flour on low speed, and then mix in the other half.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead for about 10 seconds, just to ensure that everything has been incorporated together.  Divide the dough into three parts, forming each part into a 1-inch disk.  Wrap the disks in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To prepare the filling, in a small bowl, combine the walnuts, sugar, light brown sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon, and set aside.  

To assemble the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners. 

Remove the disks of dough from the refrigerator, and allow them to warm up a bit.  Once the disks have loosened up a bit, on a lightly floured work surface, roll one of the disks of dough out into circle that is about 1/8-inch thick, and 14 inches in diameter.  

Spread two tablespoons of the raspberry preserves around the surface of the circle of dough, leaving about an inch around the outside edge, and a 2-inch circle in the center.  

Sprinkle 1/3 of the nut mixture on top of the raspberry preserves.

With a pizza cutter (a sharp knife will work as well), cut the dough into quarters, and then cut each quarter into 3 wedges, so that there are 12 wedges in total.  Carefully slide out one of the wedges from the circle, and beginning at the wide end, tuck in the corners about 1/4 inch, and then gently roll in towards the center. Try to get as little filling on the outside of the cookies as possible, otherwise the filling will burn as the cookies bake. Repeat with the remaining wedges and disks of dough.

Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 inch apart form each other.  Curve the ends of the cookies in towards the center, to make a slight crescent shape.  Bake the cookies until golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets, and then dust lightly with powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

Makes 3 dozen cookies


  1. great recipe i have to try it asap

  2. PERFECTION! Walnut and raspberry are awesome together. Pistachio and apricot sound terrific too.

    1. Pistachio and apricot are amazing together! I think that was the filling my mom used the first time she made rugelach, I loved it!

  3. I don't think I've ever had rugelach before - might have to give these a go because they look delicious!

  4. i just foodgawked you and LOVE this recipe- MUST try it!

  5. I adore rugelach (esp with cream cheese dough) These look lovely!

    Mal @ The Chic Geek

  6. OMG - these are absolutely mouth-watering cookies!
    Would be perfect any time
    I'm definitely gonna try this recipe - I loooove raspberry and chocolate.
    Happy Hanukkah :)


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