Grandma's Rugelach: Chocolate Chip or Apricot Walnut
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 50 cookies
1) The dough needs to be refrigerated at least one hour before rolling, but ideally, refrigerated overnight. The key to this recipe is having the dough at the right temperature; the dough needs to be pliable but not too soft. Work quickly, and keep popping the dough into the freezer as necessary. While one piece of dough is chilling, I start working on the next step for another piece of dough. I often make a double recipe, which is 4 logs. Be patient and have some time on your hands to keep chilling the dough, and you will be rewarded with delectable cookies.
2) The traditional recipe does not include the optional ingredients, but I usually use them. The cookies are tasty either way.
3) I make two different traditional fillings for rugelach: Chocolate Chip, which is the most popular with my crowd, and Apricot Walnut, which is my personal favorite. So, I like to make some of each.
4) I love the way these cookies look as a pinwheel, but traditionally, they are presented as a section of a log or are rolled up as little crescents. It's all good.
For the dough:
  • 2 cubes unsalted butter, softened (= 16 tablespoons or ½ pound)
  • 8 ounce bar of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • Optional: ½ cup powdered sugar
  • Optional: ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • Optional: pinch of salt
  • 1 egg, beaten (egg wash for cookie tops before baking)
For filling option #1: chocolate chips (this amount is for a whole recipe, which is 2 logs.)
  • 1 heaping cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 heaping tablespoons granulated sugar
For filling option #2: jam and nuts (this amount is for a whole recipe, which is 2 logs.)
  • 1 cup apricot jam
  • ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts
  1. Make the dough: In a mixer cream butter and cream cheese on high until well blended. Optional: add in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Reduce speed to medium-low, and gradually mix in flour. Mix evenly but do not over-mix. Divide dough in half, and flatten into rectangles on parchment or wax paper. Wrap and refrigerate each piece of dough for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight. Dough can also be frozen.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, and place oven rack in the middle or just below. Place parchment on 2 large cookie sheets, and set aside.
  3. Roll the dough: Place parchment on the work surface, and lightly flour parchment and rolling pin. Add more flour to the rolling pin as needed. Take one piece of dough out of the refrigerator at a time, and roll each piece into a long rectangle. Roll from the center out until the dough rectangle measures about 9 or 10 inches by 11 or 12 inches and is about ⅛ inch thick.
  4. Add filling: Select one of the filling options. Either sprinkle chocolate chips and sugar evenly OR smear dough with jam and sprinkle nuts. Stay away from the long edge farthest away from you so that the filling doesn't ooze out. Freeze briefly if dough is very soft.
  5. Make the logs: Roll the rectangle into a log by starting at the long end near you, and roll away from your body. Roll very tightly by tucking under and tightening as you go. Seal the dough seam with your finger. Freeze dough briefly if necessary.
  6. Slice the logs: With a heavy, sharp knife, slice the log into ½ inch pieces, and lay each piece on its side like a pinwheel spaced apart on a cookie sheet. Brush the tops of the cookies with an egg wash. Again, if the dough is very soft, briefly refrigerate/freeze cookies before baking so cookies hold their shape.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes (about 20 minutes for convection oven at 338 degrees) or until the cookies are lightly golden brown. Wait a couple minutes, and remove the cookies to a cooling rack. Serve out of the oven or at room temperature.
  8. Baked cookies can be kept unrefrigerated in a container for 3 days or can be frozen.
These cookies can be frozen at any stage and then the process can be finished later. I like to freeze rolled logs that I can slice and bake later; it's a great make-ahead strategy for a party.
Recipe by Dana's Table at