A family favorite and one of my all time favorite cookies are rugelach–an Eastern European Jewish confection that is a cross between a cookie and a pastry. These crescent shaped beauties are made from a cream cheese dough. They are tender and flaky, and filled with a variety of spreads before rolling and shaping them. My recipe calls for a chocolate chip, walnut cinnamon spread. Filling variations include Nutella, various jams, lemon curd, pumpkin butter and apple butter just to name a few. Rugelach dough can be frustrating to work with. It tends to get very sticky and consequently hard to roll and shape. After much trial and error, I have developed a method to make the dough easy to work with. I love to make these cookies for special holidays like Yom Kippur Break Fast, Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles), Hanukkah or Shavuoth (the Feast of Weeks). These cookies are such special treats, once you get the hang of working with the dough, you’ll want to make them all year round.
Dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together the butter and cream cheese until well combined. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the flour and the salt and beat until just combined. Divide the dough into quarters. Roll each quarter into a ball, then flatten into a disc. Place the disc between two pieces of wax paper, then roll the dough into a circle of approximately 8 inches. Repeat with the three remaining pieces of dough, then refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
Filling: In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon, sugar, walnuts and chocolate chips.
When you are ready to make the rugelach—Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Line an insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper. Take out one of the refrigerated doughs, remove the top layer of wax paper and sprinkle on some confectioner’s sugar through a sieve. Replace the wax paper, flip the dough over, remove the wax paper and sprinkle on some confectioner’s sugar. The confectioner’s sugar will make it easier to work with the dough and prevent it from sticking. With a sharp knife or a pizza cutter, cut the circle of dough into 8 to 12 wedges depending on how large or small you’d like the rugelach.
Sprinkle the filling over the dough circle, then roll the wedges from the edge of the dough to the point of the wedge. In a small bowl, combine one teaspoon cinnamon with ¼ cup sugar, then roll the rugelach in the cinnamon sugar and place on the prepared baking sheets point side down. Repeat with the remaining wedges and circles of dough.
Place in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Makes about 32 to 48 rugelach.