Chocolate rugelach: tender cream cheese pastry rolled around rich dark chocolate. A heavenly combination! So good with a cup of coffee.
Hello! And happy Hanukkah!
Do you celebrate Hanukkah? We are an interfaith family. I am Christian and my husband is Jewish, and we feel so blessed to be able to bring our kids up with both traditions. They love it. Lots of presents and lots of get-togethers with family. It feels like there is always something fun to celebrate!
We’ve been lighting the Hanukkah candles every night since Sunday, and marking each night with some kind of treat. Sometimes it’s a small gift, sometimes a fun outing, sometimes something yummy and special to eat. Last night we made latkes, and there was chocolate rugelach for dessert.
I have quite a few Jewish holiday recipes on this site! Some of my favorites include this Honey Apple Cake, this Toffee Crunch Cheesecake, and this Olive Oil Cake. But today I thought we could talk about rugelach! Any time we go to a deli I always love to check out all the fun rugelach flavors they have in their glass cases. And I know a lot of people like to enjoy it during Hanukkah, so this seems like the perfect time to share this chocolate rugelach recipe.
WHAT ARE RUGELACH COOKIES?
Rugelach are a small pastry that sort of looks like a mini croissant, only they are filled. They’re in the shape of a horn.
The pastry is made with cream cheese and it’s very tender and short. It has a rich, melt-in-your mouth texture, and it contrasts with the filling in such a delicious way.
Fillings come in all sorts of flavors. A lot of times you will see nuts, cinnamon sugar, or dried fruit. Sometimes they have a poppy seed filling. You can really get creative with what you fill them with. But my favorite kind of filling to use would have to be chocolate. You get such a beautiful contrast between the rich pastry and the sharp dark chocolate flavors. It’s such a treat!
It’s a funny looking word, I know! It’s actually Yiddish. I believe it means “horns.”
Pronounce it like “ROO-ga-lah.”
HOW DO YOU MAKE RUGELACH?
Making rugelach dough is pretty quick and simple. It’s just butter and cream cheese, beaten with a little sugar. Add flour and salt, and you’re golden.
The dough is a lot easier to work with if you allow it to chill for about an hour after its made.
Or you could freeze it. Rugelach dough freezes beautifully, although I’m not sure I’d recommend freezing the formed but unbaked rugelach themselves. More on that below!
HOW TO SHAPE RUGELACH
After the dough has chilled for a bit, just divide it into 4 equal portions and roll it out into thin circles. You want about a 1/8-inch thickness.
Next, spread the dough with a little jam. I used apricot jam for these chocolate rugelach, because apricot actually has a pretty neutral flavor. It’s surprising, I know! But when I was a pastry chef we always used apricot jelly or jam any time we wanted a “glue” that was mild in flavor.
You can use any kind of jam you like. I think raspberry would also be really tasty with the chocolate. The jam is really just there to give the filling something to stick to.
Once the jam is spread on in a nice, thin layer, you can top it with chocolate. I recommend using a really good quality chocolate bar (I used semisweet), and chopping it very finely. Just spread it in an even layer, all over the surface of the dough.
Next just cut the dough into 12 equal triangles. I find that a pizza cutter works really well for this.
To shape the rugelach, start at the wide end of a triangle and roll the dough all the way to the point. You may lose a little filling as you go along. Just do your best to keep everything together!
Give the rugelach a little bend at the middle so they curve, like a crescent. Then pop them on a parchment-lined baking sheet!
You can bake them just like that, and then dust them with powdered sugar. Or, you can do like I’ve done here and brush them with egg wash, and sprinkle with a pinch of clear sparkling sugar. Either way is perfectly delicious!
HOW LONG DO RUGELACH LAST?
Once baked these rugelach will be good for around a week or so, at room temperature. Just keep them covered tightly, or slip them into a zip-top bag so they don’t get dry and stale.
In the fridge they’d probably last a couple of weeks at least.
If you want to freeze them you can! I’m thinking they’d be best if you froze them after baking, rather than before. Just because while they’re raw, it’s really easy for a lot of the filling to drop out of the sides of the cookie. Once baked, everything kind of sets into place much better, if that makes sense.
I hope you are enjoying the holiday season! And I hope you can find a little time to try these chocolate rugelach. They will definitely be the bright spot in your day, and they’re great for gifting too!
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- 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, (2 sticks), softened
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) cream cheese, (1 brick), softened
- 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoon) kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (3.5 g) apricot jam
- 8 ounces (226.8 g) semisweet chocolate,, finely chopped
- egg wash , (1 egg beaten with a few teaspoons of water)
- 1/4 cup (50 g) sparkling sugar, (for garnish)
- Place the butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat until smooth (about 1 minute).
- Add the sugar and cream together until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
- Mix in the flour and salt just until combined, divide the dough into 4 equal portions, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out each portion of dough to a circle about 1/8-inch thick.
- Spread each circle with a thin layer of jam, and top with the chopped chocolate.
- Cut each circle into 12 equal wedges, and roll them up, starting at the wide end, bending each pastry into a crescent shape.
- Place the pastries on parchment-lined baking sheets, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brush the pastries with egg wash and sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
- Bake for 26 to 34 minutes, or until golden.