You should probably stop reading this post right now, or at the very least, scroll to the bottom of it, print out the recipe and go make these. Seriously.
I love rugelach, but I’ve never made it before. I had some extra cream cheese in my fridge and I knew that’s what I wanted to make. Since Ina has never failed me, I decided to go with her recipe. These turned out perfectly. Well, they tasted perfectly. Mine didn’t turn out quite as pretty as they should because I kind of rolled the dough unevenly in a few parts, but meh. I don’t care since they tasted awesome. :) The apricot/cinnamon/walnut filling is pretty traditional but you can do these with chocolate or really anything else you want.
The crust is perfectly tender and flaky, and how can you go wrong with cinnamon and nuts? Though they do take a decent amount of time to prep (with the chilling of the dough, and then the chilling of the cookies before they get baked), they aren’t difficult to make.
Aside from halving the recipe, the only changes I made were to decrease the amount of raisins a bit based on some reviews (and because it was easier on me than halving, anyway) and reduce the amount of sugar used to dust the rugelach before they go into the oven, because I had so much leftover.
Makes 2 dozen
Adapted from Ina Garten
4 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar + 4 Tbsp., divided
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar, packed
3/4 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/4 cup apricot jam or preserves
1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp. milk for egg wash
Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in half, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the filling, combine 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.
On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. If you’re using apricot preserves, you may want to run them through a food processor to loosen them up and break up apricot bits. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot jam/preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.