These chocolate-raspberry walnut rugelach are by far one of my favorite cookies. Within the history of Jewish foods that have traveled across continents, there are many examples of flavor changes and other adaptations, rugelach is one of them.
What is Rugelach?
Rugelach, pronounced “ROO-gəl-əkh“, for those unfamiliar, are crescent-shaped, yeast dough pastries with a variety of fillings such as; fruits jams, poppy seeds, cinnamon, nuts or chocolate. Rugelach, which if made traditionally, can be very time consuming to make, made its way East and West from Central Europe and changed a good amount along the way.
Rugelach making was simplified substancially once in the US. Here a shortcut was developed, eliminating the usage of a yeast-based dough. A cream-cheese based dough replaced the yeast dough, eliminating the need for long rise times and kneading. However, Hungarian and Polish Jews who migrated to Israel, took the traditional dough with them and is today still considered the go-to.
Rugelach, with it’s irresistible flaky, pastry crust-like dough and sweet fillings are actually a go-to favorite cookie for my family all year long. But rugelach, of all verities, are most commonly seen on the Fall Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, when eating desserts (and sweets generally) symoolizes a sweet new year to come.
But, the good news here is, you don’t need to be Jewish to make fantastic rugelach. To clarify, my chocolate-raspberry walnut rugelach recipe is an easier one, but the results are just as great.. The sweet cream cheese dough comes together almost effortlessly in a kitchen mixer. The filling is simple and rolling the rugelach into crescent shapes is not a complicated technique to master. So, in short, all of your efforts here will be well worth it. Because, I can promise, no one will pass up these delicious bite-size pastries, including your mother-in-law.
Chocolate-Raspberry Walnut Rugelach
- For the Dough:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small dice
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- For the Filling:
- 1/2 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- dash of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- For the Glaze:
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon heavy cream
- Step 1 For the Dough: In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, such as a Cusinart, fitted with a blade attachment, blend the cream cheese and butter. Add the flour, vanilla extract and salt and mix till incorporated.
- Step 2 Divide the dough in two equal pieces and form each into a flat round disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Step 3 For the Filling: Place the jam in a small microwave safe bowl and heat slightly till more liquid-like. Mix in the the sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.
- Step 4 Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- Step 5 To Assemble the Rugelach: Working with one piece of dough at a time, remove it from the refrigerator and allow to warm up slightly, about 5 minutes. On a well floured surface, roll the dough out into a 11-inch circle.
- Step 6 Using a pasty brush, brush a thin layer of jam all over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch boarder. Scatter the dough with half of the walnuts and half of the chocolate chips.
- Step 7 Using a large chefs knife, cut the dough into 16 wedges. Using your hands, working one wedge at a time, roll the dough up from the larger end to the smaller end. Place seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining wedges. Refrigerate the rugelach for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Step 8 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, add the egg and heavy cream and mix well, set aside.
- Step 9 Remove the rugelach from the refrigerator. Using a pasty brush, lightly coat the rugelach with the egg glaze. Place the rugelach in the oven and bake, rotating the pan once, until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes.Allow the rugelach to cool slightly before serving.