Thursday, April 1, 2010


Hey everyone! I have two upcoming tutorials that have nothing to do with Sherry Yard or her book or my pastry project for that matter. I was just thinking about how I do in fact spend a lot of my free time baking, just not necessarily things from the pastry project (that I have not continued with YET but I will). So this week I was making Rugalach for my mom's birthday party and thought I'd share them with you.

This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart Rugalach recipe and since it has been altered from her original recipe, I feel comfortable posting it here. I normally do not post recipes exactly as shown in the books out of respect for copyright laws and respect for the chefs!

For those of you who are not familiar with them, Rugalach are a Polish cookie very popular in the deli's of New York. They are often associated with Jewish bakeries, as there is a huge Jewish-Polish population in America. They are basically a crescent cookie made with a flaky crust, filled with whatever you want (typically jelly, chocolate, and nuts). This recipe is a very traditional Walnut/Chocolate chip with a light layer of Apricot jelly.

Warning: these take LOTS of time. I made a double recipe and it took me 5 hours from start to finish. Make sure you have time for the dough to chill for atleast an hour before you begin.

To start, cream your butter and cream cheese in the mixer with the paddle attachment (cream means beat on medium to high for about 5 minutes).

With the mixer running on very low, add 1/2 cup of the sugar (save the other 1/4 cup for later), egg yolks, salt and vanilla extract. Mix on medium speed for about thirty seconds, stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl. Mix again for another minute, until all is incorporated. Do not overmix. Add the flour and mix on low until combined.

Try not to get your mixer as dirty as mine is!

Next, remove the dough from the mixer bowl and portion into three equal parts. The best way to do this is to measure the entire ball of dough on a scale and divide that number by three. Then weigh out that amount and form the three equal parts into balls. Pat the balls down with the palm of your hand to make them flat. This will make them easier to roll out later.

The one in the back right corner is patted down flat. I made a double recipe which is why I have six balls of dough in the picture. Each ball of dough will make 16 pieces of Rugalach. (These freeze wonderfully).

Wrap up the dough individually and refrigerate for one hour. While it is chilling, make the filling.

Combine walnuts, ground cinnamon, and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor and pulse till nuts are completely ground. Set aside.

Once the dough is chilled (do not overchill, it will become hard to roll out - if that happens, let thaw on counter for 20 minutes or so) remove from fridge and place on floured mat or cutting board. I have found that the less stingy I am with flour, the easier of a time I have. I used to be very stingy with flour and then took a job which required me to roll out atleast 4 pies a day. I have now learned the easy way to roll dough!

Lightly flour the top of the dough, and begin with the rolling pin in the center of the ball. Roll the pin away from you across the top of the dough, pressing down gently. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat, always rolling in the same direction. After every roll, remember to turn the dough 90 degrees in the same direction. Repeat until dough is approximately 10 inches in diameter. Be sure to roll all the way out to the edges. This is different from pie doughs where you stop before you get to the edges (that is why pie crust is so thick at the edge). You want an even thickness throughout the dough. As you are turning the dough and rolling, add more flour as necessary to your work surface so the dough does not stick.

Take your apricot jelly and add a minimal amount of water to it (approx 1 Tablespoon water to every 3 Tablespoons Jelly). Heat over the stove to liquefy the jelly as much as possible. Take a pastry brush and brush the top surface of the dough with a light layer of jelly.

Then evenly distribute one third of the chocolate chips (approx 2/3 cup) on the surface and press down gently.

Next sprinkle one third of the ground walnut filling over the chips and press down again - gently. (I did these steps backwards as you can see in the picture, but do as I say and not as I do - it will work better for you and will be less sticky!).

Take a pastry wheel (pizza cutter) and cut in half one way, then in half again going the other direction. You should now have four even pieces. Slice each piece twice more diagonally to get 16 even wedges. HINT: it helps if in between slicing you lightly flour the pastry wheel so the jelly doesnt stick and cause a big mess.

Working from the outside of the circle in, roll up the crescents, making sure to tuck in all renegade chocolate chips. Make sure the thin tip of the crescent is pressed into the dough slightly or tucked underneath the finished crescent.

Repeat with remaining 2 balls of dough. Beat the whole egg in a small dish and brush this egg over the tops of the rugalach. Combine approximately 1 T cinnamon to 1 cup of granulated sugar and sprinkle on top of egg-washed-rugalach.

Bake on a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam or lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes or until evenly browned. Check for doneness by carefully lifting one up and seeing if it is golden brown on the bottom. These look underdone when actually they are ready. ENJOY!

I apologize for the fuzzy pictures. These pictures were taken on my super old camera that I got in 2002.

Please let me know if you make these and how you liked the recipe! You can exchange out the filling for raisins, currants, apples, almonds, raspberry jam, you name it! Oh and these are great for breakfast :)


1 cup unsalted butter
8 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup granulated sugar, seperated
1/4 tsp salt
3 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/3 cups All Purpose Flour
4 oz walnuts
1 T ground cinnamon
2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Apricot Jelly


  1. Paula this looks DELICIOUS! When can i come over and sample?? ;) seriously though, i want to see you. i thought i would see you at Tracy's bday but then you had to go and get all sick on me. ;) Glad you're better now though.

    Come visit!

  2. Rugalach are great! One of my favs!