Thursday, October 29, 2009



Sorry for the confusing title of this post, but one of my pet peeves is when people call RUGELACH, "Arugula".

Arugula is a green peppery leafy vegetable, also known as rocket.
Rugelach is a rolled Eastern European cookie made with cream cheese and butter dough.

It is Rugelach (pronounced Ruh-guh-luch, pretend you have phlegm in the back of your throat when you say the ch part, I know it's hard to say), or if you live in Brooklyn and go to a Jewish bakery, you can ask for "ruggies" and they will know what you mean.

Now that the food bitch has left the building, let's get on with it.

This is my grandmother's recipe for rugelach.

It seriously took me a half a day to make these and I now totally get it why the bakery charges $19.99 per lb.

It's truly a labor of love, so if you don't love to bake (like me), buy them at the bakery (but please don't buy them at Costco, they are so gross!).

They are definitely not on the low calorie listing of treats, the pastry is all butter and a bar of cream cheese (w/ sugar of course!).

There are so many different types of fillings to choose from.
Apricot, poppy seed (my fave), chocolate, and raspberry.
The possibilities are endless.

Just please no arugula inside.

I decided to be daring and make rugelach 2 ways.

I stuck to my grandmother's original traditional crescent shape, and then the second batch I made Smitten Kitchen's way, by rolling them into pinwheels.

I also baked some on parchment paper, some on a Silpat.
This way you would know which way works best.

Well, my grandmother's old school recipe was better. I found by rolling them into pinwheels as Deborah did, they fell apart and unraveled, but the crescent shaped grandma ones stayed together.

The parchment paper won over the Silpat.

By the 4th batch, I got it right, I also felt insane by then!
I made them nice and thick and they came out perfectly. This was my first time, so I cut myself some slack.

The raspberry ones were our favorite, filled w/ chopped walnuts, sugar and cinnamon and raisins.

My grandmother would've been proud!

Make these if you dare!


Basic rugelach dough:

1 bar of cream cheese, room temperature
2 sticks butter, room temperature cut into small pcs
1/4 cup sugar
2 cups of flour


a jar of any preserves or jam (I used apricot and raspberry)

1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped fine
1/2 cup of golden raisins, chopped fine
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

a plate of cinnamon sugar for rolling the cookies in before baking

Process the butter, cream cheese and sugar either in a food processor or with a mix master. Add the 2 cups of flour after the dough starts to come together. Make sure all of the ingredients are incorporated.
You will have an annoying sticky, thick buttery dough.

I made 6 individual balls with the dough. I flattened them out with my hand into 8" discs and wrapped each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerated for 2 hours.

This is sort of like pizza.
Take each disc out of the fridge, and slice into eighths, like you are slicing a pizza pie.

Spread some of the cooled preserves on the slices, then sprinkle with the chopped walnut raisin sugar mixture.

Now roll each slice into a crescent shape, starting with the larger side, ending with the point.

Roll each little crescent (rugelach) in the cinnamon sugar and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets.

Bake around 20-25 minutes at 350F.

Cool on cooling racks for about 20 minutes. Can be stored for a week in an airtight container.

Here is Deborah's recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

I found her way was much easier, not having to slice the dough into eighths.

Her way you just roll out the dough into 2 long cylinders and slice into pinwheels.
But......mine unraveled in the baking process and I am not sure why.

Either way, they both tasted EXCELLENT!


Ciao Chow Linda said...

Grandmothers know best - and this is no exception. Those rugelach look fantastic - my favorite is your favorite. The photos are so tempting too.

Linda said...

Your niece has been on a ruggie kick for weeks now. picking them up at the bakery and picking at them for days!!! When she sees this Im affraid there is a bake-a-thon in our future!!!

kat said...

One of my old bosses would bring these in the office for use from time to time & they were so good. Though you went all out it looks like.

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I have always wanted to make rugelach. It's the rolling of the dough that always prevented me from doing it. Now that I see you used jam, I'm inclined to give this timeless recipe a whirl. I can imagine how delicious pastry is, when mixed with cream cheese.
You did a great job. It is a lot of work, though-- but your grandma would be very proud of you.
Thanks for sharing your heirloom recipe.

~~louise~~ said...

Your time, patience and perseverance glow in these little bundles of goodness, Stacey.

Thanks for sharing...

The Japanese Redneck said...

They look great. Passed on recipes are usually the best ones.


Steve said...

Wow. Well done. So, now my porch light is on when the spirit moves you to drop some at the front door!

You led me to believe you weren't eating sweets.

Dana said...

Wow Stacey - that is a labor of love! I always lose patience when I'm making something with lots of batches. Thank you for persevering and for your insights on what works best. I've only made savory rugelach (for an appetizer) and would like to attempt the sweet ones this holiday season.

Bob said...

Holy crap, I didn't realize how complex those little guys are. Next time I get them I'll eat them more slowly!

They look fantastic, too. Heh, I don't think I've ever heard someone call them arugula before. Probably for the best. ;)

Karen said...

I'm not sure I'd go to the trouble of making these. I don't love to bake that much, but I'd love to have someone like you for neighbor ;)

Colloquial Cook said...

Wow now that was daring! Quite a complex project, I hope you really gave yourself a pat in the back and helped yourself to a second rugelach :-)

Proud Italian Cook said...

A few times a year we buy these at a popular jewish resturant/deli. No wonder I like them, it's all that butter and cream cheese. I like your cresent shape best. You did your Grandmother proud!

Jen_from_NJ said...

Your rugelach look delicious - I wish I could taste one! The Costco rugelach *egads* - I would rather have arugula for dessert!

Vicki said...

I love rugelach, and those look delicious! For a less sticky dough, my grandmother's recipe uses 1 more cup of flour and doubles the sugar. Also to prevent leakage she folded in the wide end's "ears" and then rolled.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Too funny. I have definitely heard "rugelach" butchered on many occasions, but never heard it as arugula. Your rugelach are beautiful!

Lori Lynn said...

Wow! I am impressed. I like poppy seed myself, and poppy seed hamentashen too.

Anonymous said...

This brings back memories when I tried to get my grandmother's recipe. I had to take her hands and measure out the amounts into measuring cups as it was all by feel.

These look wonderful and worth the effort.

Lauren said...

try using mini chocolate chips instead of the walnuts - esp good with the raspberry filling!

Cupcake said...

Your post is sooo yummy!! Cool blog.