Fantastic and Easy Homemade Polish Walnut Rugelach Recipe

Rugelach. What the heck is it? While I grew up with jam rugelach showing up at our house, I never really knew anything about it. So, when I went to make my own rugelach recipe, I did a little digging.

Rugelach originated in Poland, morphing out of the Hungarian kifli, Austrian kipfel and Polish rogal. It’s a cross between a pastry and a cookie, and a favorite Jewish pastry found at delis and bakeries in Israel, as well as across the United States.

Rugelach Recipe

What does Rugelach mean?

According to the Merriem Webster Dictionary, rugelach is “a pastry made with cream-cheese dough that is rolled around a filling (such as nuts, jam or chocolate) and baked.”

Well, that could be another cookie found across Eastern Europe– the kolaczki.

The Polish also have a Kolachy cookie ( kołaczki), which I also grew up with as a kid, thanks to a friend in high school who’s parents owned a polish bakery. It took has a butter and cream cheese base.

Plus, cream cheese can also be used in sugar cookies and as a substitute for butter in many baked goods.

Naturally, I was more confused than ever, especially since I make Kolachy and the dough is really, REALLY similar to rugelach. But, who am I to question delicious pastry goodness. I just went with it and moved on.

Rugelach Recipe

Is rugelach kosher?

I have two Jewish neighbors, who observe some kosher food laws. While baking for a little Chanukah (Hannukkah) party on our street, I learned a lot about what makes something kosher and how to create parve baked goods that can be served during Chanukah and Pesach (Passover).

Pesach Rugelach can be served during Passover, as long as you make a few substitutions. Create a parve rugelach by replacing the butter with margarine and the cream cheese with a non-dairy cream cheese alternative.

Rugelach Recipe

Rugelach Recipe

Since I love butter, I went a more traditional route with my rugelach recipe. One thing to note is that I like to make my rugelach tiny, about an inch wide at the top of the wedge. This way I can eat a lot of different flavors without feeling too guilty.

I’ve included instructions on how to make larger rugelach. Basically, it’s all in how many slices you cut into your dough rounds.

You will also notice that there is an egg yolk in this recipe, which you won’t find in many rugelach recipes. The egg yolk, along with the vanilla, gave this cookie dough a bit more flavor, as well as a fluffier rise when it baked.

Rugelach Recipe

RUGELACH RECIPE FILLING IDEAS

Whenever I make rugelach, I have a variety of fillings on hand. Traditionally, you use jam or a chocolate and cinnamon mix. For this recipe, I’m sticking with walnuts (I had a ton on hand) and two different flavors of jams– strawberry and blackberry.

Apricot preserve rugelach is also traditional, but we all have what we love.

  • Chocolate and cinnamon
  • Chocolate and crushed hazelnuts (or Nutella)
  • Walnuts, cinnamon and brown sugar
  • Walnuts, melted butter, honey, granulated sugar and vanilla
  • Strawberry jam or strawberry preserves
  • Apricot jam or apricot preserves
  • Blackberry jam
  • Peach jam
  • Raspberry jam
  • Pumpkin butter with cream cheese frosting
  • Apple butter with cinnamon glaze
  • Chopped dates or figs
  • Pistachio Cranberry
  • Cranberry Orange
Rugelach Recipe

Rugelach Ingredients

Rugelach Recipe

Rugelach Directions

  1. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine flour and salt.
  2. Add the cold cream cheese and butter, which you already cubed and is still chilled.
  3. Pulse in the food processor about 12 times until a nice crumb forms.
  4. Whisk together the egg yolk and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  5. Add the egg mix to your cream cheese crumb mixture and pulse until larger clumps form.
  6. Dump your dough out onto a your work surface dusted with powdered sugar.
  7. Knead the rugelach dough a few times (or roll the dough) into a ball.
  8. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and wrap in plastic wrap (each piece separately).
  9. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to two days).
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F
  11. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  12. Take one dough pack out of the fridge and stick on the counter.
  13. Dust your counter with powdered sugar.
  14. Using a rolling pin, roll your first batch of rugelach dough into a circle (or as close to a circle as possible).
  15. Spread the walnut mixture (recipe below), lightly pressing the filling into the dough, or spread your jam of choice over the surface of the circle.
  16. Use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut equal wedges (8 wide or 16 thin triangles)
  17. Roll each wedge, starting at the wider side, rolling down until you have a cute little rugelach (kind of like a Pillsbury crescent roll is rolled).
  18. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, making sure the tip of your rugelach is tucked under the bottom of the rugelach.
  19. Sprinkle tops of walnut rugelach with cinnamon and sugar (1 tsp cinnamon + 4 tsp sugar) or granulated sugar on jam rugelach.
  20. Stick your rugelach in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  21. Bake rugelach for 20- 30 minutes, until golden brown on top (bake times depend on your oven).
  22. While your first batch bakes, take out your second dough round and repeat the steps above, moving onto the third and forth dough discs as each previous dough goes in the oven.
  23. Try switching up your rugelach fillings between rounds.

NOTE: You can freeze your dough for up to 3 months, allowing dough to thaw in the refrigerator and then come back up to room temperature before rolling out).

Rugelach Recipe

Walnut Filling

  1. Place your walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until you get a nice crumb.
  3. Transfer crumb to a bowl.
  4. Stir in melted butter and vanilla.
  5. Set aside until ready to assemble walnut rugelach, allowing filling to cool to room temperature.
Rugelach Recipe

Jam Filling

  • 1/4 cup of jam (strawberry jam, apricot preserves, blackberry jam, rasperberry jam, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  1. Spoon jam into a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to your jam.
  3. Microwave in 30 second increments until your jam is liquid.
  4. Give it a good stir and set aside to cool.

Pin it and Start Baking!

Yield: 36

Rugelach Recipe with Three Fillings

Rugelach Recipe

Rugelach originated in Poland, morphing out of the Hungarian kifli, Austrian kipfel and Polish rogal. It's a cross between a pastry and a cookie, and a favorite Jewish treat found at delis and bakeries in Israel, as well as across the United States. Whip up a batch for the holidays, or your next brunch with friends. It's so easy and will impress everyone at your table.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours 3 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 38 minutes

Ingredients

Walnut Filling

Jam Filling

  • 1/4 cup of jam (raspberry, apricot, blackberry, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp sugar

Instructions

Rugelach Directions

  1. In a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, combine flour and salt.
  2. Add the cold cream cheese and butter, which you already cubed and is still chilled.
  3. Pulse in the food processor about 12 times until a nice crumb forms.
  4. Whisk together the egg yolk and vanilla in a separate bowl.
  5. Add the egg mix to your cream cheese crumb mixture and pulse until larger clumps form.
  6. Dump your dough out onto a your work surface dusted with powdered sugar.
  7. Knead the rugelach dough a few times (or roll the dough) into a ball.
  8. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and wrap in plastic wrap (each piece separately).
  9. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours (or up to two days).
  10. Preheat oven to 350°F
  11. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  12. Take one dough pack out of the fridge and stick on the counter.
  13. Dust your counter with powdered sugar.
  14. Using a rolling pin, roll your first batch of rugelach dough into a circle (or as close to a circle as possible).
  15. Spread the walnut mixture (recipe below), lightly pressing the filling into the dough, or spread your jam of choice over the surface of the circle.
  16. Use a knife or a pizza cutter to cut equal wedges (8 wide or 16 thin triangles)
  17. Roll each wedge, starting at the wider side, rolling down until you have a cute little rugelach (kind of like a Pillsbury crescent roll is rolled).
  18. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, making sure the tip of your rugelach is tucked under the bottom of the rugelach.
  19. Sprinkle tops of walnut rugelach with cinnamon and sugar (1 tsp cinnamon + 4 tsp sugar) or granulated sugar on jam rugelach.
  20. Stick your rugelach in the freezer for 5 minutes.
  21. Bake rugelach for 20- 30 minutes, until golden brown on top (bake times depend on your oven).
  22. While your first batch bakes, take out your second dough round and repeat the steps above, moving onto the third and forth dough discs as each previous dough goes in the oven.
  23. Try switching up your rugelach fillings between rounds.

NOTE: You can freeze rugelach dough for up to 3 months, allowing dough to thaw in the refrigerator and then come back up to room temperature before rolling out).

Walnut Filling

  1. Place your walnuts, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until you get a nice crumb.
  3. Transfer crumb to a bowl.
  4. Stir in melted butter and vanilla.
  5. Set aside until ready to assemble walnut rugelach, allowing filling to cool to room temperature.

Jam Filling

  1. Spoon jam into a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of sugar to your jam.
  3. Microwave in 30 second increments until your jam is liquid.
  4. Give it a good stir and set aside to cool.

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