Picture this: You’re toweling off after your morning shower, your oatmeal in the microwave, looking into the mirror and thinking as per usual, “my god, am I pale. When is vacation again?” when you hear this noise from the living room. As you get closer, so does the noise, a fluttering, scratching and absolutely frantic in every little way sound. Is it (groan, another) mouse? Why does it sound like a bird? How could there be a bird in the wall? What if it’s stuck? It really sounds spazzed out in there. Calm down, Deb. Surely it’s nothing. It’s probably just a bird on the outside of your thin circa-1870 tenement walls. Sit down, eat your oatmeal, everything is going to be… #$%!!!! BIRD! BIRD! BIRD! BIRD! A BIRD FLEW OUT OF THE RADIATOR. Omg, it is THROWING itself against the window. Halp! HALP!
You do the logical thing, and call your husband, who is not yet at work, how dare he leave you at home with a WILD ANIMAL banging into the walls. You open the other window, wide, afraid to go near the one that the bird is throwing itself against because, duh, you’ve seen the movie. But it won’t pay any attention to that window, it wants to go out this window and you think, “wow, you really aren’t that bright, are you?” but no, you do not utter the word “birdbrain.” You know who’s in charge here. You finally get your husband on the phone; he’s laughing, you mentally file divorce papers.
You calm your nerves long enough to open the window that the bird is trying to exit through, which sends it cowering behind your jade plants. Now both windows are wide open (and the front door, which technically doesn’t lead outside, but whatever, this is not your problem) and what does the bird do? Nothing. This goes on for about 15 minutes. “Come on little birdie!” you reason with your new roommate. “Fly! Fly!” “Out the window!” “Come on now, I know you wanna!” “You don’t want to be here any more than I want you to be.” “Come out from behind the jade plant.” And finally, “I am TRYING to help you but you have GOT to help yourself too!” At which point it flies into the middle of the living room and lands on the floor and you’re all “No! The OTHER way! Nooo!” (imagining it making a nest out of your cashmere sweaters), and it turns around and whooshes out the open window.
And then you pour some Baileys over your oatmeal. Uh, kidding. Actually, you update your blog. I mean, who wouldn’t?
Speaking of jittery experiences… ha, no. I will not insult your attention with a painfully awkward segue. Let’s try again: In a relatively less traumatizing experience, some of you may remember a trip I took to The Martha Stewart Show a couple months ago. Despite the fact that I felt both hoodwinked and bamboozled by not being warned that we were going to be called out by the show and then tried to pretend it never happened, believe it or not, the show that day wasn’t all about us. Really!
In fact, Martha had as guest the two women who own the Sweet On You Bakery in Stamford, Conn. who made for Martha their signature pinwheel rugelach cookies. Now I love rugelach, well more than anyone should, and I spent most of the time they were cooking these questioning why anyone would fix what wasn’t broken (despite the fact that I do this all of the time).
Traditional rugelach–and hold tight, because I’ll have a recipe for these within a week, promise–are shaped more like tiny crescent rolls, but these women specifically said that they never liked how the centers got soft. But I love the soft centers! I thought, and wrote off these cookies before I even tried them.
As the credits rolled, these rugelach were passed out to audience members and guess what? They were absolutely amazing. Like, “Holy Wow OMG” good. Like, “I can’t wait to blog about these” good, which pretty much brings us up to last night.
If possible to imagine, they’re even better than I remember. They manage to be thin as a cookie while still tasting exactly like traditional rugelach–ever-so-slightly soft center and all. They’ll make your apartment smell amazing, too good even, as you might find yourself with an unwanted guest the next morning. Should this happen–and don’t say I didn’t warn you–the only advice I can give you is to cover the cookies (literally and figuratively) and don’t bother reasoning with it.
Adapted from the Sweet On You Bakery via The Martha Stewart Show
Rugelach are easily my favorite cookie, but they’re incredibly pesky to make in their traditional shape, which require that multiple circles of dough have to be rolled, spread with warmed jam then dry ingredients, cut into 8 or 16 tiny wedges, each individually rolled into crescents that are brushed with an egg wash and then, just when you thought you were done, sprinkled with more sugar before baking. A-yee. These rugelach use the same exact dough and ingredients, but save you some time by allowing you to roll it into two large logs which can be sliced and baked as needed. Plus, they’re pretty as hell. In the holiday season, I like to make a few logs and keep them in the freezer until needed. Let them warm up at room temperature for 30 minutes for easiest slicing.
Although apricot jam, raisins and walnuts are traditional, this doesn’t mean that any other jam, dried fruit or nut couldn’t be used as a replacement. We’ve used dried tart cherries instead of raisins because my husband hates raisins so much that I am certain one kicked him or something in a past life. We’ve also used dried currants, which were so tiny they required no additional chopping, and we’ve also swapped half with mini chocolate chips, to please the chocolate obsessives in the house.
New notes, added 12/22/14: Additional tips to help with rolling, slicing, cooling and restoring shape after baked, if needed. I found that only half of the final cinnamon-sugar was needed for dipping, and have adjusted below accordingly.
New note, 12/17: I found many ways to streamline and quicken the process of making rugelach dough. Those tips work here for the dough assembly (namely, no softening needed if you have a food processor). You can then continue with the rolling, filling and slicing instructions below.
Makes about 50 cookies
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup golden raisins, or another dried fruit of your choice, chopped fine
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or another nut of your choice, toasted first if you’ve got time
1/2 cup apricots or raspberry preserves, heated and cooled slightly
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Place cream cheese and butter in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add sugar and continue processing until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and pulse just until dough comes together.
Don’t have a food processor? A stand mixer or electric beaters will work just as well. Beat butter and cream cheese together until light and fluffy. Add sugar, beat until combined. Scrape bowl down very well; I find cream cheese likes to leave hidden deposits at the bottom of the bowl. Add salt and flour and mix until just combined, with no flour visible. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, make filling. In a medium bowl, toss together granulated and brown sugars, cinnamon, raisins, and walnuts; set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 piece of dough into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick, roughly 12 or so inches wide. (I find making it wider makes it harder to manage or store.) Spread a thin layer of preserves evenly over dough; sprinkle with filling mixture. Roll dough into a tight log beginning with one of the long sides; wrap in plastic wrap. Transfer dough log baking sheet. Repeat process with remaining piece of dough. Place dough logs in refrigerator; let chill at least 1 hour.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar for the topping; set aside.
Slice chilled dough logs crosswise, about 1/4 inch thick. Toss each cookie in the cinnamon-sugar mixture with a fork to easily shake excess off. On the first batch, place cookies 3 inches apart on prepared baking sheets to gauge how much yours will spread; I usually find that I only need them an inch or so apart for the rest of the trays.
Bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. When you remove them from the oven, if any “tails” or layers have sprung loose, you can use your fingers to press the cookie back into a round shape. Let rest on baking sheet for another 2 minutes after that, after which they will set in their re-formed shape, before transferring cookies to a cooling rack which has been lightly coated with a nonstick spray. (It helps keep their warm jammy edges from sticking.) Let cool completely on racks. Repeat with remaining pinwheel dough and cinnamon-sugar.
Once cool, cookies can be packed away and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for two weeks.
223 comments on rugelach pinwheels
Those look great- and I actually feel like I could handle the recipe (not common).
Glad you survived your wildlife encounter, too!
(Um, something happened to my name in my comment. Oops.)
These look amazing! I really think I must have atleast 50% of your recipes starred in my reader. I LOVE them and I don’t normally star anything! I especially love that picture with the falling raisin. LOVE it! :)
i had a frog on my car door yesterday night. i opened and slammed shut every other car door hoping that it would hop off. i even threw water on it (well duh, i mean frogs like water). i finally climbed in through the passenger seat and pushed on the gas.
as for topics other than wild life – i have always hated ruglech. it was just too doughy, so i am thinking this could be a cure. at least for the ruglech problem.
There’s no such thing as loving rugelach too much. Whether it’s my Hungarian great grandmother’s recipe or a bakery incarnation, I loooove them. And this pinwheel version sounds fab.
This was the FUNNIEST post you’ve written in a while. Thank you – you just made my day.
I don’t know if I can keep reading this blog while I’m on a diet. You are killing me. Killing me!! Rugelach? I love you! I miss you!!
Thank you Smitten Kitchen! While it may be via Martha Stewart and friends, once again you save the day with light and funny writing about your no nonsense recipes, and the dumb downed version of a Jewish classic that I can handle for contribution to a Christmas cookie exchange with friends.
First of all, I am ADDICTED to your blog and have already made three of your recipes in the 4 weeks I have been an avid admirer. Second, thank you for making me almost spew (literally) my southern iced tea out my nose while imaging you shewing the (what I pictured to be an ENORMOUS pigeon) out your window. The laugh was warmly welcomed! Lastly, thank you for being honest and witty about cooking. You make me want to cook more, to try new things and to get one of those fabulous cameras and aforementioned flashes! Keep up the posting. I look forward to the brain break every day (or almost every day…ahem)!
Not that you want this to ever happen again, but: Next time, throw a towel over it (the bird, not the rugelach). A dish towel, something non-fuzzy, is best. Chimney swifts used to fall down my chimney all the time. Throw the towel, scoop them up (in towel), take towel to window, toss (bird – retain towel). Infallible.
WHERE WAS YOUR CAMERA???
So, the flue (sp?) doesn’t work in our fireplace, and twice now I’ve had to rush into the living room because of a banging sound in the fireplace, both times to find a bird that flew in from the roof. Both times it scared me to death. I try to get the bird out, but it flops around in the ashes, making a huge mess, then finally flying out, but keeps running into the windows (we have a lot of windows) instead of flying out the door. And of course, both times this has happened, my husband has not been home to save the day. So I feel for you!!
OMG that bird story was hilarious!! I would divorce my husband if he didn’t come home and get the bird out!!
The pinwheels look so yummy
a nifty tip to keep cookie rolls relatively round: take an empty paper towel tube and slit it up the side. place your cookie dough roll inside the tube and give it a little roll on the counter to round it up, then pop the whole thing in the fridge or freezer. It really helps keep the shape of softer cookie doughs.
What a hilarious story! And those photos made me drool. I know what I’ll be making this weekend.
By the way, I made your pumpkin butter and it turned out amazing! I’ll be giving a few jars away in Christmas gifts.
I had the camera out and was TRYING to take pictures but the damned thing keep moving. Perched atop my jade plant against the window with the backdrop of old buildings, it looks just like one of those hip t-shirts/bags/everything with bird silhouettes on it this year. Trust me, not nearly as charming in real life.
these do look good, though I am definitely a traditional rugelach girl myself. the way my grandmother made them anyway. I’d love to learn how to do my own.
poor birdie…was probably a bit stunned from hitting the window. Maryn is absolutely right… a towel..hard cotton so its little claws don’t get stuck in it. If it is totally stunned …like out cold or not moving … put it in a shoebox or something similar size, with the lid slightly on ..not on tight, or towel on top. The dark, quiet area helps them feel protected and they will be much calmer when they do come around. then..gently take off the lid…hold container it just outside the window and it will fly away…. chirping thank you as it goes…
Think I gained five pounds just reading today’s recipe…… sigh….and…YUMMY….
What is NOBLOPOMO? I don’t get it. I like the traditional rugelah’s myself. I actually started baking them again this fall. What could be bad…cream cheese and butter?!!!
Isn’t it weird the way when it’s a fly or a wasp you’re trying to exeunt, it’s just annoying. You see birds everywhere outside, but in your house it’s like:
A bird!? In the house!? A bird!? That could have my eye out!
Just one of those things, lol.
Great looking Rugelach too. Similar to Kolache, my Polish Housemates would love these.
I am mired in all things Chanukka right now and while, not fried, I think these would make a fantastic addition to our feast!
I love that you updated your blog post bird….
What a great idea! I watched Ina Garten do her rugelach recently and half the filling fell as she rolled them (since the traditional way requires you to cut it into super long triangles then roll downward). Don’t get me wrong, I love the Barefoot Contessa but this just seems to make more sense!
Forget the bird, let’s concentrate on the pinwheels…You’re getting sleepy…First you make another batch of pinwheels sans the raisins..Now you’re getting up and packing the pinwheels into an air tight container…Now you’re walking to the FedEx/UPS Store and mailing them to Houston…Now you’re back in you’re apartment. When I snap my fingers you’ll wake up!
Hahaha that’s hil– I mean extremely traumatizing. I admit I’d be freaking out too, but it makes a great story.
I’ve never had rugelach, but I will try these, sans raisins though (deep childhood dislike).
Exquisite looking, as always. I’m sure they are delicious. I’m not sure if I’ve ever eaten rugelach.
I third (fourth?) the towel solution for the wayward bird. It calms them, and you can gently grab them and send them on their way.
I look forward to trying this, as I do all your recipes. Might you consider including the approximate prep time (or total time) for each dish? It would let all of us readers/ersatz bakers see at a glance what’s possibly for dinner, and what’s a weekend attempt. Thanks for considering it.
OMG, is that possible, out of the radiator? We get them occasionally in the house if we’ve left a door or window open but never out of a radiator. I’m kind of creeped out. Rugelach (or should we call them pinwheel cookies?) look lovely by the way.
First off, the bird story is hilarious.
And second off, those look awesome. With Chanukah around the corner, I think I’ll have to give this a shot in the coming weeks.
I think you must be the bravest woman in the world for keeping your cool long enough to get that bird out of your apartment. You rock! Regarding these cookies… let me just let out a big “uh! those look SO good!”. I’m starting to have such a long list of cookie recipes I want to make for the holidays, I just don’t know what to do with myself!
These look delicious. quick question though, you seem to be cooking new recipes almost every day (which is good for all of us on other side of the screen) but what do you do with so much food? distrubute it to your neighbours, take to work? or eat all of it?
I had made the ‘1-2-3-4’ cake and it has lasted for almost 3-4 days..would have been more days had it not been the long weekend!
Your rugelach looks amazing…and just the thing I’ve been looking for for an upcoming Cookie Exchange. However, it won’t be for another 2 weeks…is there anyway I can freeze the dough, and just bake it up right before the party?
Have you ever had a squirrel in your house? Or how about a raccoon? Or even a chipmunk with a chip on it’s shoulder! Trust me, you were better off with the bird! This cookie recipe looks like another keeper – thanks!
Oh my! I’ve never had to deal with such things. But like Nan, my girlfriend has dealt with 2 squirrels and a possum. Scary!
Totally random, but your story reminded me of one of my favorite poems ever. It’s not really funny – it’s poignant but it revolves around the metaphors of a bird trapped in a bedroom with people trying to get it out and the sound of typewriter keys. It’s called The Writer by Richard Wilbur. I won’t put it here because it’s long, but you can click here to read it.
May you have wildlife-free breakfasts the rest of this year!
What are the texture of these cookies like?
Do you think you could use mincemeat in these pinwheels? From the pictures, that’s what I thought it was at first…
I second the towel over the bird – never fails!
I keep wondering how you get close enough to the bird to get a towel over it. Is that sort of like putting salt on its tail to catch it? ;-)
Question about the rugelach: Can you tell us the approximate size of the rectangle you roll the dough into? And people! Deb didn’t use raisins! Remember, DH Alex loathes them. The dried cherries sound wonderful! I have a ton of pecans in the freezer left from my chocolate pecan pie at Thanksgiving. I wonder what fruit might pair well with the pecans in these cookies? Any suggestions? Thanks for the best blog – I always either learn something or crack up, like today.
I have not had a bird in the house, but I did come home one day to find a squirrel in my house along with my 2 weinie dogs. This was not a good surprise. I had ruined window blinds, a broken lamp, shredded house plants and did i mention the poop? I opened every door in the house and had a neighbor chase the squirrel with a broom until it finally left,,,,gives me the creeps just thinking about it.
The cookies look great and very do-able. Have you ever tried cutting them with thread to preserve the round shape? Yours look great, but in my mind & with my knife skills, mine would probably come out oblong or flat.
now i’m traumatized for you! um, it would take me about 20 minutes to work up the courage to pick up a bird trapped under a towel, so i’ll recommend bread crumbs (even rugelach crumbs, heaven forbid, in a crunch) leading to the open window. make fun if you want – it’s worked for me.
How about pecan and cranberry… mmmmmmmmmmmmmm
I was also wondering how you managed to cut them without squishing them! Did you just use a knife? Does the time in the frig really help them firm up?
I had a squirrel infestation. It was AWFUL. We’d find pawprints everywhere. I was reading Harry Potter at the time, so I was convinced that we had house-elves.
Finally, we lured the squirrel out with a candy bar into a cage – my god, the poor thing was freaking out almost as much as me!! – and let it out in the open.
As far as birds go… at least yours was alive. My parents found a dead one in their pantry. They think it got in there, and someone closed the pantry door, and the birdbrain smashed its head in trying to get out.
These look amazing, Deb – wow!
I would love to bake them with my sister during holiday season – tks for sharing!
Jane M — It’s supposed to be Nation Blog Posting Month, in which one updates their site every day in November. I have found it impossible to keep up this year, sigh, but even a 27/30 is good, right?
floridagal — Glad you asked. I should note that almost every cookie recipe you see on this site has been halved when I make it at home, unless it was specifically made to bring to a party. (One time, it was even quartered, but that was a little too fussy for me.) After that, I still try to fob the majority off on others. For example, I left our cleaning lady a bag of cookies this morning. And I bought little boxes to attached baked goods to gifts, instead of bows.
Leah — Sweet poem, thank you.
mj — They are softer than regular cookies, but they hold their shape. They are the furthest thing from dry, and surprisingly complex–I guess it’s all those flavors we tuck in there.
Susie — I had meant to measure my “rectangle” (it so wasn’t) but I forgot. Really, though, there is no wrong size, but I’d watch so that it stays pretty narrow so your cookies aren’t too big.
sue.g — Thread is a good idea. However, because I had run out of time, I actually chilled the log overnight (and put it back in the fridge between batches) so it was very, very firm and did not lose its shape much. But I always forget that string works even better.
Kristi — If you get the log thoroughly and completely cold, it should slice off neatly and even keep it’s “sides.” However, as sue.g says above, thread or even (mint-free!) dental floss are great to make clean cuts. When I took the log out, btw, I rolled it back and forth a couple times to re-round it. This is easier to do when it is very cold.
In my last apartment the only place for my bed was pushed up against a window. My downstairs neighbors controlled all the heat in the building, and one winter night it was so sweltering that I threw open the window above my head, not remembering or not caring that the window had no screen. I was awoken by a giant bird flying into my bedroom, down my hallway, and back out the window. Before I had even stopped screaming a second bird made the same journey. *Inches* from my head. The beat of their wings is shockingly loud in an enclosed space. I admit, I hid under my comforter for a good long while after that.
What a wonderful and wonderfully written story, Deb. We once had a bat in our apartment. The towel trick worked just fine for it too. But as I was transporting the bat to the fire escape to release it, its angry little head biting the bejesus out of the towel was all you could see.
once i arrived home to find a nuthatch perched on my picture frame. we didn’t have window screens, so it flew out of its own accord.
after that, i awoke at 6am in the winter darkness to find a small creature with bulging eyes and floppy armipits zooming around my sofa and chairs in the living room. i chased it up the chimney with a broom but eventually forced it to exit out the front door. i had to look it up in my mammal field guide, and found that it was a flying squirrel!
as for the rugelach, i’ve never been able to make or eat them due to a terrible milk allergy. any ideas for a cream cheese substitution?
Hilarious intro… thank you for sharing that.
How do you think the dough logs would hold up to freezing? I’m having some serious holiday baking urges, but it’s too early to start stuffing my lab mates’ bellies.
Salmon — Not sure about a cream cheese substitution, but it might be worth considering using an all-butter cookie dough, as you would for a traditional pinwheel cookie, and rolling it up with the same fillings and topping. It may not be as soft as the rugelach, but the flavor would approximate the original.
Amelia — Absolutely. I would roll the whole thing up, wrap it twice in plastic before slipping it in a freezer bag. I think they’d be good for even a month that way. Great idea to get an early start.
Hilarious!!! You just made me bite my tongue to keep from laughing out loud during work (whoops)! I’ve come home to my dogs chewing on dead mice several times, but I think I would FREAK if I came home to two dogs and a new bird. How did it get into the radiator anyway?
Deb, my dear, you are killing m! This actually had me on the edge of my seat Ã¢â‚¬â€ since I’m perched on a high stool at a coffee shop as I type this — and then you made me want to fall off the chair. This is good.
Damn, these cookies look good too. Of course, I couldn’t have yours, but I think these might be easy to adapt to gluten-free. (For the record, I’d use equal parts sorghum, brown rice, sweet rice, and teff flour.) If anyone tries it, let me know.
thank you, as always
AH, those crazy birds. My family always had a problem with squirrels living in our walls. They were sugar gliders, every once and a while when they would come out of the walls, they’d glide around the house. It was quite the interesting adventure.
The Jewish sweet recipe looks amazing.
You have me in stitches! I love reading the way that you write. I can almost hear you telling the stories.
BTW I am in the process of trying to write a blog about misquoting song lyrics, which I do all the time. I can’t find your post about My Food Is Yours Son. I know that there was an explanation where NaBloPoMo is now. Is there anywhere that I can link to?
Wow, those look good. Maybe I’ll make some this weekend, seeing as I’m on a baked goods binge since Thanksgiving and have no intention of stopping any time soon.
I live with St. Francis. Last time a bird got in our house he cornered it against a window, stuck out his finger, and it CLIMBED ON. At which point he cupped his hand over it and brought it outside. Says he learned that working at a pet store when he was a kid, but, man. That was impressive and heartwarming in equal measure.
These look a whole lot easier than rugelach, and that makes me want to try them…
Your bird story reminded of a time there was a bat at my work and it kept swooping over peoples cubicles, (causing many shrieks) and then a manager started chasing it with a net, it was priceless!
I’m planning on making rugelach for the first time this Christmas, so this was a timely post. And I really like the photo where you captured the raising just falling off the spoon!
Such timing! Charged with making cookies for a party tonight, I baked away yesterday and these are *stunning* – they reminded me of what my mother would do with the leftover pie dough scraps when I was a kiddo. I used orange marmalade for the preserve part and a combination of apricots and raisins, YUM! Thanks for the giggle inducing story too…
friggin hilarious Deb! I know this doesn’t help, but if this ever happens to you with a bat (did I just hear you squeal all the way out here in Brooklyn?) the best way to deal with it is with a tennis racket. The holes in the racket will evade the little guys’ radar and you can stun him and scoop him out a window. I’m glad the little guy made it out in one piece and you maintained your sanity :-)
These look delicious! But I have family members who don’t care for raisins. Would it ruin the cookie to substitute dried cherries or cranberries?
What?! No mo NaBloPoMo?
ha ha – Just kidding! You deserve a break. But, really, it’s been a pleasure to read an update everyday.
I am in the process of making these right now.
They are, in fact, put together in two nice logs, chillin’ in the fridge.
I have high hope. The hub’s are even higher. And, certainly, not as patient.
Just pulled out my second batch from the oven. Wowie wow wow! They are so delicious that I am having trouble not gobbling up all of them. Really. I did chill the rolls overnight and cutting was a cinch. I’m a newcomer to your blog and will definitely return often. Thanks for the perfect instructions and photos!
Mmmm… this is how I’ve always made it, as opposed to the crescent style, but in thicker, more rustic slices– learned it that way when I worked at Rosie’s Bakery 20 years ago (damn, I’m old!).
I may have to try this thinner, more elegant version.
Oh wow! I haven’t seen these cookies since I was a kid at my grandmother’s house! I loved them then, and I am definitely making them now. Thank you so much, I found you on Tastespotting, and the blog is great. Keep up the great work.
I haven’t yet baked these (the logs are in my freezer–one waiting for Friday, another for another few weeks). But! I wanted to post to let folks know how truly easy this recipe was. Sometimes I look at recipes with three ingredient lists, and three stages, with chilling times required, and I think, “This could be a big mess!” Also, I am not terribly adept at rolling out dough, and this dough was so sticky when I put it in the fridge, I was really nervous.
I am here to tell those like me: do not fear! The dough (when chilled) was incredibly easy to work with. Not sticky at all. And the barious steps are really simple. And though I haven’t baked them yet, the bits of dough and filling I had while cleaning up were incredibly tasty!
Just wanted to pass a friendly ‘thank you’ along for the recipe! I made these the other night and even my sister-in-law who is the queen of pastries, who is notorious for spending 4 hours decorating cookies that then were formed into 3-D Easter eggs, and made a cake in the shape of a snowman (standing up, not flat lying down), loved them and insisted I make them for Christmas dinner.
I had the dough in the fridge for 4 hours. Total disaster. Sticky mess. Im so disappointed in my baking skills! LOL Im going to try to make something of it anyway since I’ve spent the money to make ’em. Should be interesting.
Sigh. I had such high hopes. Bummer
Hi Jenn — I am so sorry to hear. When you say “sticky mess,” did they fall apart in the oven? Were they too soft to cleanly slice? I am realizing now that since I kept mine in the fridge for more than a day, I might have had a different experience (totally firm, clean cuts, still sticky, but manageable) than other people who tried it.
Sadly I hadn’t even gotten that far, I just took the dough out of the fridge to roll out and it was an ugly scene. However, after walking away from it and going back (much the way I do when my 1 and 2 yr old kids are having tantrums!) I managed to make it work. They are now cooling in the fridge awaiting the slice and bake stage. I did steal a taste, and though they may not look as nice as yours do, they so far taste outstanding!
I just had to say that I made these yesterday and OMG, they are so good! Like, ridiculously, over-the-top good. I substituted a scant cup of apple butter for the apricot preserves (I cannot stand apricot anything!) and they were fabulous. I am not fond of recipes that have multiple steps but bit the bullet to try this one (I will never make “regular” rugelach”…too futzy) and it was worth it. I should note that I followed the instructions and only refrigerated the rolled dough for an hour before slicing and did not have any problems. I used a serrated bread knife and maybe that made the difference. I will say that I won’t make this recipe again though…with my known history of complete lack of self-restraint and a husband that doesn’t eat sweets, these might just as well get slapped straight on my thighs. I ate 8 of them in less than a half hour last night! But truly, this recipe is a must for everyone.
I just made these yesterday and while they don’t look as nice as yours deb, they are soooooo yummy! I think I used too much filling, because they are still sticky, and oozing out the middle, even after baking. But I still can’t stop eating them, which is really the important part right?
I made them last night and they really are delicious. But I want to say that the dough didn’t come together in the food processor. At least not like pie or bread dough does. Luckily the dough wasn’t ruined from overpulsing. I lumped it into one ball and later divided it with a dough scraper after it was chilled. I rolled it between 2 sheets of wax paper which also helped in the rolling up process. My husband, who claims to not like rugelach, really loved these. So ultimately a big success. Thanks.
Hi Katie — Glad they ultimately worked out. I agree that the food processor is an odd choice. I would have reached for the Kitchen Aid or hand mixer, otherwise. However, because I had no trouble with it, and mine did end up coming together, I didn’t bother updating the recipe. That said, I don’t see why you or anyone couldn’t use the Kitchen Aid instead next time. I personally hate having to scrape batter from all of the nooks and crannies in the processor, anyhow–irksome.
I made them for a dinner-potluck party and these were inhaled before anything else (there was cake, brownies, other cookies… none compared). I brought them to work and then left on a road trip, I came back to three addicts. This recipe is an instant classic, a real keeper, and if you’re reading this considering making them well GET STARTED.
I didn’t use a kitchen-aid or processor. I’m old-fashioned with fork in hand. Simple to make, but take a little planning ahead, what with the three hours total of chilling. Totally worth it.
oh, another note for other bakers- no way you need three inches of space between each cookie! (unless there is some voodoo in those three inches, but the cookies don’t really spread that much) however, take into consideration that each cookie before baking (for me) was only about two inches in diameter, and oh, about 1/4 inch high.
by the way, esteemed muse, artist and wizard of smitten kitchen, should you read this: I recommend your blog to people on a weekly basis because I read it frequently and bake from it about every two weeks since this summer. I add this addendum for fear of you thinking that my experience with the aforementioned three inches somehow besmirches my opinion of your fine blog. Also, the lemon ricotta pancakes were too fluffy for me. The pumpkin bread pudding had my boyfriend in a puddle at my feet. The belgian brownies did not live up to their wide-spread critical acclaim. The black-bottom cupcakes had my boyfriend’s mother at my feet.
As you can see, I am a strong proponent of the Smitten Kitchen Method for Happy Relationships and Healthily Proportioned Bottoms.
Thank you for educating and sharing with the masses!
I tried this recipe after watching Martha Stewart, Their absolutely delicious, but I did have a problem with them and wanted to know if anyone else did. I found your site and love it by the way, to see if anyone else had the same problem. The bottom of my cookies were caramelized. Is that normal? They all stick together when stacked.
Arlene–my cookies do stick together a little bit and the bottoms were definitely caramelized to some extent on the bottom (I used raspberry jam instead of the apricot preserves and the filling might have been thinner than Deb’s). They’re not cemented together or anything–I’m just glad I made it through all the steps and the end result is edible! :) These are a bit futzy, but if you spread the process out for a week like I did, they’re definitely manageable (made the dough, left in the fridge two days, rolled out and filled and put in the freezer for three more days and then thawed, cut, and baked!)
I made these last night. They’re delicious but look nothing like the pictures! My logs flattened considerably (not sure why) and the cookies did spread in the oven, though not badly. These cookies are definitely worth the work, I’ll be trying them again.
How you can roll out and roll up the dough so perfectly is beyond me. Despite chilling the dough and flouring the board, that butter/cheese dough stuck on everything: the pin, the board, my hands as I tried to unstick it from the pin and the board. The result was much more messy and ragged than your pictures. I also got the carmelized bottoms. But in the end, they were a delicious mess.
What a wonderful recipe! I was turned onto your site by my friend Janna and made these pinwheels tonite for a cookie exchange for tomorrow at work. Definitely time intensive for me as I am a slow baker, but result was worth it. Like others mine were not quite rolled so fabulously but they are edible which is the important part!
I definately have to try this method. My brother’s mother-in-law gave my side of the family a Jewish cookbook (my sis-in-law is Jewish, we’re Sikhs) anyways and I decided to try the rugelach recipe with lots of jam, nuts and nutella. Well the traditional way of cutting them into triangles and rolling it was waaaay to messy, it wasnt baking on the insides and well… not the best thing i’ve ever baked! This recipe however should be perfect so as soon as my bro and sis-in-law come over next, i’m definately giving this recipe a try!
I’ve made these several times now and love the recipe. And Deb, I have to say that yours is my absolute favorite food blog, and I recommend it to everyone I know who has an interest in food/cooking/baking. For those who have had trouble with the dough being too soft and difficult to cut, try freezing the logs. I had tossed a half batch (rolled into two small logs) into the freezer a couple of weeks ago and found that the frozen logs were easier to cut and tasted just as good as the freshly made dough. Also, I used a chopped chocolate/hazelnut combination that was delicious…
Thanks for great tips!
Hilarious story. Thanks for the belly laugh. It reminded me of the day pigeons invaded the office and decided to mosey up and down the halls.
Yours is a blog I check often and am making my way through your archives. It has inspired me to get my tush back into the kitchen.
Hi, looking for a cookie recipe like rugelach pinwheels but after slicing they are placed in sugar and then rolled flat with a pin and then baked so the finished product is a flat, thin, cookie that is crisp but chewey, do you know of a recipe?
I also found that the dough was very sticky in the processor, and knew there was no way I’d be able to roll it out, so I just added another 1/4 cup or so to the flour and worked it in with my hands. The biscuits came out beautifully.
Oh, also: I find that most fridges don’t really get cold enough to chill pastry in 2 hours. These days I make the dough into a disc, put the disc in the freezer and set the timer for half an hour, which chills it enough to work with immediately.
I made these (along with 4 other types of cookies for gifting) and they are by far the most difficult baked good I have ever attempted to make. They are delicious though! The dough was so sticky I stuck the whole food processor bowl in the fridge overnight, then the dough had to be chiseled out with a knife in the morning. Anyway, after a ton of work they came out really well. I’m thinking of using the same dough to make little discs for sandwich cookies, maybe with raspberry jam…
These look delicious…I can’t wait to make them!!
I was so excited about this recipe and everything has went smoothly thus far (even the tricky roll-up process..) Unfortunately I was just about to take them out of the oven and noticed that the outside dough ring on almost all the cookies broke apart and set forth the jelly inside all over the cookie sheet! I’m afraid to move them for fear that they will far completely apart. The two things I didn’t do were: 1. Roll cookie in cinnamon sugar (too excited to bake them and forgot) 2. Didnt have parchment paper so used cooking spray instead. Would these things make a difference? Any suggestions?
“light-brown sugar” – do you by any chance mean light muscovado sugar?
I understand brown sugar and muscovado to be similar in that they both contain molasses (though I believe that muscovado contains a bit more) but I am not sure how much and have not tried to swap one for the other. That said, seeing as this is just sprinkled in the filling, I don’t think any harm will come by using one instead of the other.
Could you advise me if I could roll these out into a circle and then make into the traditional crescents? I did a quick search in the recipes for the traditional rugelach, as I officially make the world’s worst rugelach with most of the filling oozing onto the cookie sheet, but I couldn’t see one. With thanks, Jessica
I haven’t tried this recipe that way but it seems like it could work.
I’ve just recently run across your blog while searching cookie recipes for my annual holiday cookie baking marathon. Thank you for such a lovely selection of cookies to choose from.
I was glad to see this recipe amongst the others because these are my all time FAVORITE cookie! Seriously, I could eat each and every one of these cookies every time I make them. They would definitely undo the 30 pounds of weight I’ve lost! Yikes.
I have been making this cookie annually for years. I originally inherited the recipe from my grandmother, who called them Filled Cookies and she would roll them just like yours. As far as I concerned it doesn’t much matter how you roll ’em they ALWAYS TASTE good. (Have I said how much I like these cookies?) Even those who had trouble with the challenges of this recipe… the sticky dough, the rolling, the cutting and the spewing of the filling during baking said they tasted good despite not looking good! The flavors are so rich and complex. Sweet, chewy, light, buttery, sticky and yummy. One final note, I’ve substituted/added coconut, currants and other nuts/flavors of jam for variety.. just be careful to not overdo it. Can I have another?
All right and now for the bird in the house story. I guess you never forget it when you’ve experienced such an occasion. To make a long story short, when I was in high school (way back in the ’70’s) I walked into our old 13 room Victorian house. I was home alone and thought I heard voices coming from upstairs. I called the police. When they arrived we walked through the house guns drawn, (with me leading the way) only to find a bird trapped in one of the bedrooms! A harrowing experience to say the least. I wish I’d known about the towel trick then!
Thanks for all of the great recipes, and wonderfully written posts! I made these last year, and they are now a part of our holiday cookie tradition. Happy Holidays to you and your family!
Thank You very much for this wonderful recipe! I am waiting now for the last batch, but my boyfriend already ate so many of them :) They are very tasty, I think I’ll even make them for Christmas :)
Deb, so far so good. While the big rolls are chilling in the fridge, I took the scraps and made weird little pinwheels and stuck them in the toaster oven. They were delicious but maybe needed a pinch of salt to shine?
tried this but added more flour till it was manageable but there wasnt much spread as a result. but it was very good and i would definitely make it again (((:
I’m responsible for bringing treats to work tomorrow and was all set to make your baked french toast when I ran across this recipe, which will work much better, as I expect to bring at least some of them home. 50 should do just fine–I’d be surprised if we have more than a dozen people on this whole floor!
As a New Yorker now on the other coast, the rugelach made me feel so at home. We brought them to a dinner party and all were impressed. A side note, I used a hand mixer and then brought the dough together by hand. It worked like a charm (a crumbly pie dough).
Thank you for the delicious recipe…
Ooops! Forgot this! I only chilled the logs for an hour, and rolled them as a cut them. This allowed them to maintain their wheel-ness. A gentle touch is the key here, as I had no time to spare!
Deb, I have been meaning to post for over a month that I made these for Hanukkah and after the initial anticipated discussion of how these are DIFFERENT from every other year’s rugelach (a family ritual whenever a new version of anything is introduced), they were happily devoured by all. My only observation is that I would definitely chill this dough overnight as an hour really wasn’t enough, so they weren’t as perfectly circular as yours.
Oh, these look beautifully yummy. I am wondering why you are calling for bleached flour? I’d be glad to buy some for the recipe, but curious about that.
Can these be made ahead of time and then freeze until needed- having a cocktail party and for dessert making a variety of little cookies and treats- trying to get some done ahead of time
Coming in from the land of lurkdom – i love your blog, and check your site when I am looking for something yummy to cook. I am getting ready for cookie baking (we make about 2500 each year) and have a question – when you make rolled cookies, such as rugelach, how do you prevent the dough from becoming flat on the bottom as it chills? Keep up the great work!
carol — I’ll reroll the log as it firms up if it’s really flattening out. Or before I slice it, back and forth on the counter to “fix” the shape.
These are the most delicious Rugelach I’ve ever made. Wow!
I’m counting down the months until your cookbook. My computer is getting tired of being in the kitchen:)
I sit here, on the ground, staring into my oven, praying to whoever needs praying that I did this properly! The log I think may have been rolled too loosely, but I don’t even care. I have just been dying to taste this. I have been staring at this recipe for over a year. Using it as the loose basis for other cookie ideas… and then it happened. I actually had cream cheese in the house. WOOT.
My only advice is to add a pretty good amount of flour when rolling this out. Quite a sticky batter.
Deb, in this post you said you’d get out a regular rugelach recipe, but I can’t seem to find it, am I missing it? if not I’d love to know if you’ve got a favorite one to share!
Nope, never happened — my bad! I hear excellent things about Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, which is definitely on a bunch of different websites if you search.
Thank you so much for this recipe! I made it few days ago for my mom’s birthday and everyone LOVED the cake. I know I’ll be making it again very soon.
I made these last night and they are DELICIOUS! Mine were fully baked at about 13-14 minutes, so I would encourage everyone to check them a bit early. Thanks for another hit, Deb!
Deb, how long do these stay good after baking? I assume they’re best on the day that they’re made, but do you think they’d still be good three or four days after baking?
Yeah, they should keep at least that long. Airtight container, layers of waxed paper between them. Freezer for longer.
These are delicious and made fabulous gifts. Everyone wants the recipe! I’ve now made 4 batches….and have learned a few things. I used currants rather than raisins.
The dough gets soft very quickly and becomes difficult to handle. I found my pastry scraper essential at that point. Used it to lift dough and to “tuck” each turn as I rolled it up.
I didn’t do the sugar dip at the end. I sliced the roll all at once while still good and cold. Once the entire roll was cut, I placed cookies on parchment sheet. Then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. (I used Demarara sugar…very pretty)
Mine cooked the entire 20 minutes, by the way.
Deb: Just made the last batch and found another tip…a big one.
When I got ready to roll out the dough, I let the ball sit at room temp for 10 minutes. Then I unwrapped only the top plastic wrap. Inverted the dough on floured surface, leaving plastic between dough and rolling pin. The rolling went much faster and easier. I rolled out almost all the way. Removed wrap and finished rolling. After sprinkling filling, I used the rolling pin to gently press it in, making it easier to work with.
Thanks, Deb. These will definitely be on the permanent Christmas “cookie” list.
I made these yesterday and they are the best rugalach I have ever made. I made them thicker than you suggest, and didn’t roll them in cinnamon sugar. I stood them up and some of them fell over but it’s all good. I sprinkled a little cinnamon sugar on top and did an egg wash topping. I added mini chocolate chips to one of the rolls, and used strawberry preserves.The dough was easy to work with, and I let the rolls sit in the fridge for about 2 hours before cutting them, and they were very easy to cut. I have always been a Maida Heatter fan, whose books I learned to bake from, but these cookies are better than her recipe. Thanks for your blog…..love it.
Yum!! These are now my favorite cookies. I forgot to spread the apricot preserves on the dough so I boiled it briefly then brushed it on top of the baked cookies – it was fabulous!
I’m allergic to walnuts so I was wondering what I could substitute for walnuts in the recipe? The only nuts I can eat are almonds – are there any non-nut alternatives?
Thanks for your help,
Roya — Almonds would be just fine.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog and have for ages.
These are my moms all time favourite cookies and I’d love to make them for her over the holidays but was wondering if these could be made from frozen instead of chilled?
Aleksandra: This dough freezes beautifully. I would form the cookies, freeze them on a cookie sheet, then transfer them to freezer bags.
I only know this because I’m reading a Dorie Greenspan recipe from 1985 using the same dough w/o sugar for savory little turnovers.
However, she says to bake the sweets first, then freeze, and she’s Dorie Greenspan, and I’m not.
@hamletta: Thank you so so much! I’m prepping as I type!
Hi Deb. I’ve made these two Christmases in a row now, and they are now a family favorite. I introduced them to my extended family at baking day this year, and managed to burn the second tray of them — really burn, with smoke and fire and everything. My mom just emailed this morning and asked me for that “Burnt Arugula” cookie recipe. I don’t think she’d heard of rugelach before :-). I have a feeling that’s what I’ll be calling these forevermore!
Ive made these many times, but this time around my food processor was broken so i was forced to use the stand mixer, and the difference in the quality of the dough in the finished product is huge–much flakier. Ill use the mixer, and cream the butter and cream cheese in it before adding flour, from now on.
You mentioned that you were going to post a traditional rugelach recipe the week after this and yet I can’t find it. Do you have a link to that page? Or, if other things got in the way, might you have a recommendation for a recipe for traditional rugelach? I have promised to bake some in relationship to a play I’m directing about the Yiddish theatre and want to make sure they’re good — which means I want to check with you. I haven’t made a single smittenkitchen recipe that I didn’t find stunning.
Avital — Fail! I never did. I ended up putting a over-the-top rugelach recipe in my cookbook coming out this fall. I am not tell you this to get you to buy it; that would be tacky. I just realize that I probably won’t end up now putting one on the site before that, so sorry.
This is a very late comment indeed, considering the year this recipe was posted, but I would appreciate if you could answer. I found these pinwheels when I was looking for something not very buttery to bake, and now I am not sure if I can use the “light” Philadelphia cream cheese I bought automatically as we use it for sandwiches (says 5% on the box), or I should buy the traditional 33% full fat cream cheese or if a version in between (some 14%) would do? Thank you in advance!
Hi Kat — I’ve never baked with lowfat cream cheese before; it’s my understanding that recipes work best with the regular stuff. However, if you’ve been successful switching it in other recipes, no reason not to give it a try here. Good luck!
i LOVE your blog and I have made many of the recipes you have posted :) I made these over the weekend and served them to family & friends tonight and they were a total hit and absolutely delicious! thanks!!!
Can’t wait to try these. Can you use silpat rather than parchment paper to line your cookie sheet? What would be the effect?
Michelle — Yes, they work interchangeably in most recipes. (Although I prefer the better-browned edges from parchment in a metal pan.)
Ummm, really? These are delicious, almost too good to share with the family for Hanukkah! Thanks again for another winner, Deb!
Just wondering, do you use the full amount of preserves called for? I watched the video from the Martha Stewart Show of these cookies being made and I tried to use what looked like the same quantity of preserves – but it ended up only being 1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup. (I’ve made these before – they’re absolutely amazing and one of my favorite recipes, so many thanks – I just can’t quite remember what worked best for the preserves.) Thanks!
sara — It’s been a few years since I made these, but at the time, yes I did.
this recipe calls for TWO (?) sticks of butter for the dough?!
just made it … spent several hours … it’s mush!
other recipes call for 1/2 that. ???
Not really. Just about every popular recipe for rugelach, from Dorie Greenspan’s to Maida Heatter’s, uses an equal weight of butter to cream cheese (either 4 ounces to 4 ounces or 8 to 8) in the dough. You might need to chill your dough for longer.
I was really excited to make these, and was a little disappointed when I tasted it right out of the oven after having read all of the reviews. The bottoms caramelized and they seemed to lack a perfect simplicity (or perfection) I find in a lot of the cookies on this site. Especially after having made the intensely chocolate sables and world peace cookies the weeks before. BUT the second and third day after, these cookies really are delicious. They’re a perfect texture, and really hit the spot (in a non chocolate way). Thank you Deb for keeping my kitchen populated with a delicious variety of pastries week after week!
Tried the rugelach cookies for a photo club meeting-they were very successful! I was asked for the recipe which is always great. I did roll the dough out between plastic wrap sheets, even chilled it was a little sticky. Will definitely make these again.
A very belated thank you for this recipe. My office staff are crazy about them and two bubbes told me, the Irish-Catholic girl, that my rugelach were excellent. It is my “go to” for any office party.
Every year I pour over rugelach recipes and stop dead in my tracks. I was about to launch into a tirade about the fat to flour ratio here (because I knew you’d talk me off the ledge) when the computer went wonky and bounced me out. Now that I’m back and my attempted comment disappeared, I took a moment and saw comment questions similar to what I wanted to ask. Thank you computer/internet for helping me preserve my composure by showing me the door! I’m going to try them and just shut up about it…at least until after I taste them. Are we good, Deb?
Wait, what did you want to discuss about fat: flour ratios? Honestly, I find that 99% of rugelach doughs are the same, because there’s really one agreed-upon way that the dough works best: 2 sticks butter, 1 8-ounce block cream cheese, 2 cups flour. Some use sugar in the dough, some do not. (For standard crescent-shaped rugelach, I skip it but I prefer the sweetness just to come from the fillings and coating sugar.)
One of my favorite variations on the standard rugelach dough used here and elsewhere are these insanely good, simple, tender cookies. They use almost exactly the same proportions, but the cream cheese is replaced with farmers cheese, something more readily available in most European/Eastern European countries.
In my search of rugelach recipes, I did discover that the dough for almost all recipes was the same as this one with the same minor variations you mention. And I read reviews that rave about the pastry. What I can’t get is, does so much fat in the recipe either over-crisp the pastry or does it leave it too soft and doughy. It made me think, roux is made with equal amounts of fat and flour melted together, and it doesn’t get crisp, why would this? It stopped me dead in my tracks. I just have to step back and trust that millions of other bakers have made this and loved it, so why wouldn’t I. So..I decided I’ll make it first, then I can come back and rave either way! I’m still scratching my head as to why this dough would work though…
I agree, it always looks like way too much butter. The pastry is soft and slightly tender with crisp edges. (I confess: Rugelach are one of the only pastries I cannot be left in a room with. I re-learned this last week, gulp, when making a pumpkin spice variation I’m not sure I’m going to bother sharing.)
Here’s a theory: I think we imagine that cream cheese and farmer’s cheese work like fats in doughs, but I have little evidence that they do. They’re too thick. The milk proteins toughen things a little, the creamy fats soften. They work somewhat like fats, but aren’t good replacements for straight fats like oil or butter, or I haven’t found them to be in my baking. So, what you’re really talking about is a proportion of 1 stick butter to 1 cup flour, which is quite close to shortbread and not terribly far from pie dough (mine has slightly more flour, but very “short” ones like Thomas Keller’s use this 1:1 proportion.) If you think of the cream cheese as a softener and a binder, you might begin to imagine the tender/flaky/crispy-edged pastry we end up with here.
Okay…Now you’ve made this make more sense to me. You’re right, the cream cheese isn’t the same kind of fat as butter. I can go in peace.. Thanks, Deb. You always come through when I question things. It really helps me.
Fabulous like all smittenkitchen recipes. After a few batches, I found the dough improved by a bit of salt.
Once sliced and sugared, they freeze well on a silpat. Bag them up! They bake beautifully from the freezer.
I feel like I have to hurry the rollout process for fear of the dough getting too warm, but what I end up with is a lump of dough that cracks when I roll it out and it never gets into the shape I need it to be. Reading some comments, there was a hint about letting it warm up for about 10 minutes. Perhaps I’m to impatient to eat the crispy, creamy, slightly candied-center cookies I made the first time and can’t now remember how I did it. I make kolachky every year and the dough doesn’t crack like this one. I may try the stand mixer too, just to save myself 10 min scraping my food processor out.
I stumbled onto your website looking for a recipe and checked back again when looking for another. I am throughly disappointed that you would encourage anyone to use a toxic product in their baking. I know the choices are out there and the United States has no objection to flat out killing the cells responsible for making insulin, but let’s be proactive and not endorse anything like this in such a wonderful place.
The bleaching process produces a toxin in flour known as alloxan. This toxin specifically targets the beta cells in the pancreas–the ones which produce insulin. Bleached flour is used because it rises better and looks whiter–great, except there are ways to do this without the bleach (or bromide as the case may be).
I use the best ingredients I can find and often make things from scratch just to avoid poisons like alloxan. I would love to see you doing the same.
Maggie — It’s actually a typo. It should say “un”-bleached flour; all fixed now.
Thank you for this recipe! How did it take me so long to notice it? Rugelach dough is genius to begin with, and making one big roll instead of all those single ones is especially so! I wanted to share two variations I am currently enjoying very much. I subbed tiny diced apples for raisins (which I may hate more than your husband does), and those pinwheels taste like little apple pies! I also a roll with ground almonds and chocolate chips, with a light spread of caramel sauce instead of jam, and am pretty smitten with it as well. I also wanted to note that I quartered the sugar for the last step (tossing the cookies, hehe), and still had plenty left over. Oh yeah, and I wish I paid more attention to your note about having the butter in small pieces at the beginning – I was worried I had finally killed my ancient cuisinart at one point, but the dough came together eventually.
You should try crepes with a Milky Way bar in it. It’s what I have during Chanukah.
I’ve made these a few times and love them. Just wanted to share that the jam-smearing and sugar-sprinkling part of this is perfect for little helpers. I was making these as part of a gift package, so I was trying to avoid a mess by keeping my 3 year old out of the kitchen, but he had a great time helping with these once I had the dough rolled out.
Okay, then…I came across a simplified KRINGLE recipe that turned out well and reminded me of our discussion of this dough but with a bit of a change. Instead of using cream cheese, it used sour cream. Oh, man, it was so good! Flakey and tender. You mix the flour and butter as you would for pie dough and fold in the cup of sour cream until the dough is well moistened but still lumpy. You wrap it up and rest it over night before dividing and rolling it out to fill. Flakey and tender: it was almost like a marriage of puff pastry and pie crust. It would be perfect for this recipe. Just wanted to share that with you, Deb, in case you wanted to experiment or something :)
Do you measure out 2 cups of flour and then sift it or sift flour and then measure out 2 cups? Thank you!
Theoretically, when it says “sifted” before the measurement, it wants you to sift first. So, you should. But I can tell you from experience that in my other rugelach recipe (in my book) I use the same proportion of butter and cream cheese to 2 cups of flour, no sifting before or after. So, I think you’re pretty safe skipping the sifting altogether, and just measuring 2 (fluffed/scooped/swept, etc.) cups of flour.
So I made this last night. It did not work for me at all! The dough was extremely soft. I chilled it for 4 hours and then when I was rolling it out had to add a TON of extra flour to roll. It was still soft and I was unable to successfully roll up the dough with the filling. It kept falling apart. I left them in logs to bake, they were too soft to handle once cut into pieces. When it baked it spread all over the place and just did not work for me.. Any ideas what I did wrong? I appreciate your help!
Sounds like there wasn’t enough flour — that would cause it to be too soft, and spread. But I do use these proportions to make rugelach successfully on a yearly basis. Did you keep everything cold? All butter doughs need to be kept cold, but this especially, to get the clean cuts. Still, if they’re falling apart in the oven, it’s more likely a flour issue.
Was hoping to make these to take on a Christmas trip. How long do you think they would last (covered in a tin and probably taped up to stop me eating them)? Are they something that needs to be eaten the same day or after? Many thanks!
Fiona — No, they’d keep well in a tin for up to a week. Or so I’ve heard. I’ve never had them last that long.
I am going to try filling one portion of the dough with fig preserves to make fig pinwheels! I also love Rugelach and never had a problem with the center, maybe I roll mine very thin and it cooks through. IN any case, I am going to try the pinwheel type as it may make more cookies. CAn’t wait to try the fig!!!!
I’ve made so many of your recipes, but this is my first try on these pinwheels. I wonder if you or anyone else has ever thought of slicing them thicker and using a cupcake pan, a la your chocolate swirl buns. May have to give that a try.
Darlynne — I probably wouldn’t go in that direction because these are crispy/tender like a cookie, and not yeasted. However, a while ago I used the Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon roll dough to make rugelach-flavored breakfast buns that might be more in line with what you’re going for.
Love your site and have been following for a couple years now as we keep changing countries we live in.
I know this is an old post but its the holidays and cookies bakin’ time!
I am currently living in England where the block cream cheese is not available. Is it possible to make these with spreadable cream cheese or will the dough be too mushy to work with? Can I simple add a wee bit more flour or will that alter the dough’s wonderful flavour?
What to do? What to do?
These were so delicious. The dough is so easy to work with and the final results melted in your mouth. I used raspberry jam, mini chocolate chips, walnuts and chopped dried cherries. Chop them fine or they will get in the way when you cut them. so easy!
very nice thanking you
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A million thanks for this recipe. It is a family favorite – immediate and extended. Also, I have one daughter in the US Navy, currently stationed in Hawaii. She and her team adore these cookies – they don’t want any others!!!
Notes other people might find useful:
1. When I wrap the dough to chill it I use a long piece of plastic wrap – long enough to re-use for my logs. And I form rectangles not circles for easier rolling later.
2. As per my sailor’s request, I use raspberries and pecans. I buy a bag of freeze-dried berries and re-constitute it (1 bag – 1/4 cup water or a bit more) and use raspberry jam. And, yes Deb, I always toast my nuts :-))
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Love this website!!!
I just made the dough but it was a sticky gooey (mmm same thing I guess) mess. I’m hoping it firms up it fridge so it can be rolled out. Did this happen to anyone else??
It will definitely firm up in the fridge because it’s both butter and cream cheese, both are firm when cold.
Love this website!!!
I just made the dough but it was a sticky gooey (mmm same thing I guess) mess. I’m hoping it firms up it fridge so it can be rolled out. Did this happen to anyone else??
Update. So I got them into logs in the fridge. It formed up nicely and baking off amazingly well and are absolutely delicious. I love traditional rugelach but I think I love these more. A keeper!! I made with apricot, white raisin and walnuts.
I organized a bake sale at work next week to benefit a scholarship that was set up in my sister’s memory. Naturally everything I’ve made is from you: confetti cookies; thick, chewy oatmeal cookies; potato chip cookies; and these. I had completely forgotten that my sister’s favourite dessert that our bubby used to make was cherry strudel, until I started rolling the first pinwheel log. Fitting, since Bubby lent me her food processor, rolling pin and wooden board so I could make these. Thank you for playing a role in triggering that memory and for inspiring me to bake again.
It was lovely to meet you in Toronto last month! I hope you’ll come back when the new book is out. :)
I made these for my Mom’s birthday party. I strayed from the instructions for handling the dough ( long sad story that doesn’t bear repeating) and ended up with a rectangle of dough covered with filling that would not roll up no matter what I did. So I cut it into small squares and baked it. The second half of the dough I managed correctly and it turned out as depicted. I called the first version “open faced rugelach,” and I brought both sets of cookies to the party. The consensus of the guests was that the open faced version was yummier because the dough got nice and crisp and browned without burning. Who would have thought? May have helped that it was a nontraditional crowd…
Made these for our upcoming Christmas open house and they are fabulous! My 11 year old has been raving about them to everyone! Thank you for making rugelach a little easier to make!
I fell in love with rugelach thanks to you, and these pinwheels are indeed so delicious and so dang pretty. I did decide that the final toss in sugar was a little too much since it, plus fillings, formed a sort of chewy candy shell on the bottom of the cookie and overpowered the delicate flavor and texture of the pastry. I preferred sprinkling a bit of the sugar on the tops only. If I recall correctly, your other rugelach recipes do not include the final sugar-toss…in any case, just thought I’d toss in my two cents. Thanks so much for your site!!
I made these gluten free by simply substituting Cup 4 Cup gluten free flour. They were fantastic! I will be making them again :)
I am currently living in England where the more firm block cream cheese is not available. Is it possible to make these with spreadable cream cheese or will the dough be too mushy to work with?
Can you get farmers cheese or another firm-ish pot cheese?
Would Mascarpone work in place of the cream cheese? I can get that here. I don’t want to alter the flavour too much of this incredible dough.
Well, Mascarpone does not work.
Now I am stuck.
Does ANYONE have a workaround for using the spreadable cream cheese in the tub (for those of us living in countries where the block is unavailable)???
I noticed that you said that it was the same dough but in the recipe it calls for 1/4 cup of sugar in the dough. The regular recipe has no sugar in the dough. Just checking before I try this one that it really is supposed to have sugar in the dough.
Made the dough last night but it feels too hard to roll out this morning. I won’t be rolling out until tonight but am worried it will still be quite stiff. thoughts or tips??
I’ve made these before, and they were delicious! Hoping to make another batch for Christmas. Do you think the rolled dough would be ok in the freezer for a couple of days?
Deb, you forgot to remind me not to use all the filling in the FIRST log that I rolled out and filled up! No matter. They were delicious (even if they cracked a little because of all the extra filling) and tasted just like the rugelach that my Nana used to make. My mom said they were the best cookies she ever had, which is no small praise coming from her. The second log of dough is in the oven now (with an additional half a recipe of filling). Thanks for your great site. I loved meeting you in Boston and having the new cookbook signed. I actually flew to Boston (from Philadelphia) so my daughter (who lives in Boston) and I could both meet you. We love your site and even though we live apart, we continue to ‘cook’ together through you.
Do you coat each side of cookie with the cinnamon sugar topping or just the one top side?
You write that ‘these rugelach use the same exact dough and ingredients’, as regular rugelach – but this dough includes 1/4 of sugar, and your recipe for regular rugelach (and all others I’ve seen and used) specifies you should NOT not add any sugar to the dough. Thus, can I makes these rugelach pinwheels with the traditional, unsweetened dough? Or is the sugar somehow crucial to the final product.
It’s your preference. This recipe came from a bakery where they add sugar to the dough. I usually do when I make them in this shape because there’s much less filling to carry the sweetness; you won’t have pockets of jam etc. as you would with larger, traditional rugelach.
One batch came out fine, raspberry batch oozed and spread. Not sure what happened but they still taste great. They turned out crisp but are a sticky mess today even though I stored in an airtight container at room temp. Should I refrigerate?
No, loosen the lid on the container; air can help them stay crisp. Some are going to be runny; I think this is true for all good rugelach, because to use so little jam that none will run, all will taste underfilled.
One of my all-time favorite cookies! My husband’s family celebrated Christmas (we’re Jewish) so I like to bring these along and inject a little Old Testament into their festivities. Thanks for the great treat!
Have been eyeing this recipe for a quite a while and finally got the courage to make these for a Halloween gathering. They were far easier to make than I anticipated (they are time consuming to make only because of the time required to chill the dough). I used seedless raspberry jam, chopped pecans, mini semi sweet chocolate chips and chopped dried cherries. I wanted them crisp so I baked them until browned which resulted in the jam being a bit ‘over done’ but they were delicious and quite addictive! I might slice them a tad thicker next time. I did not toss or top with sugar mixture; they were sweet enough without. Mine did not spread much so was able to place them close together and bake many at a time. They are wonderful warm out of the oven, room temp or straight out of the fridge.
These look amazing! I use gluten free flour and can’t wait to try. Quick question for my chocolate lovers…would you use preserves if you’re baking with mini chips? Thank you!
I still do because to me, the jam against the nuts and chocolate is the best part of rugelach.
Just a bit confused…in your picture you’re rolling up with one of the short sides, but the directions say to roll up with one of the long sides…I just need clarification…
Many many thanks!
The recipe is correct. ;)
Thank u Thank u Thank u!!! They look AMAZING!!! No more traveling from MD to The Plainview Bakery for rugelach!!! YAY!!!
I’ve used that same basic dough for rugelach forever, but it’s nice to know that I can use a food processor, rather than a mixer, which strains to beat that sticky dough. I also chill & roll dough, but thinner than for your cookies. My filling is simpler: cinnamon sugar, jam, nuts. Before I slice dough, I gently push the log into an oval shape before cutting 1 1/2 inch pieces. I also press some cinn/sugar into the tops before placing the ovals, seam side down, to bake. They take 35 minutes @350, even though they look as if they’re done before then. It takes the whole time for the inner layers of dough to cook and not come out raw.
The result: rugelach — not overly sweet, with the pastries delicate and delectable.
You had also better warn chefs who follow the recipe that they dough is extremely sticky before chilling but becomes very easy to handle and roll, once cold.
These are wonderful! Many steps but not difficult. Does the rolled dough freeze well?
Can you freeze the raw logs and bake later?
Never mind. 🤦🏼♀️
It’s in your post. 🤷♀️☺️
OK, my confetti cookies were perfect, as were the espresso chocolate shortbread. Beautiful and delicious. This recipe was an epic fail for me. I think my butter and cream cheese were too warm or I didn’t add enough flour. Despite freezing, thawing out, rolling out with flour and or parchment paper, the dough was too sticky and I basically had to gingerly smush the dough and filling into a square-esque shape with virtually no pinwheel. It was almost comical. I will say that the ones that remotely resembled a pinwheel were perfect – fig preserves, walnuts and golden raisins. Soft and you could taste the excellent filling and the dough was really flaky. I had tried Nick Malgieri’s Rugelach about a month ago and in the triangle roll ups all of the filling literally melted out and burned onto my silpat. I think this recipe shape, if I can get the dough right, is a much more stable vehicle for the filling. Any hints and tips appreciated as I love all Deb’s recipes and this was my first challenge.
Wonderful tasing cookies. I baked a traditional apricot jam, raisins & walnuts pinwheels and cherry jam, cherries & chocolate pinwheels. Delicious. Dough is a bit harder to work with, patience helped. Happy holidays… thanks for the great recipe. Enjoy!
Err TASTING not tasing. LOL
Hello! Not sure if you are even reading comments on this post anymore, but I was thinking of making these with dark chocolate and chopped fresh cranberries, and I was wondering what flavor jelly you would use? I make a dark chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookie that is so yummy- and I think with the cinnamon sugar in these, it would be so good. Plus, I also don’t like raisins. Detest raisins. And they never, ever kicked me or anything!
I would probably cook the fresh cranberries themselves into a quick jam. I’d grind them raw until finely chopped and cook them with sugar and orange zest until somewhat broken down, it won’t take long. Then cool and use that as the jam.
This recipe really made me wonder if I had it right, even after baking, I still am not sure. The only problem I had was not knowing exactly how the dough measured when rolled out. For each roll (and I split the recipe in half so I only had one roll), the instructions said to roll the dough 1/8″ and 12 inches in one direction. The cookies needed to be cut out in 1/4″ slices. Although I did not know what the other measurement was, I knew I would have to come out with about 24-25 cookies. So I rolled it out to 6″x 12″ and rolled it up short side and cut them from the 6″ side. The roll measured 6″ long that way I got the right number of cookies. When baked, the cookies were about 3″ in diameter. They baked in the right amount of time and they looked to have the right number of whorls inside each cookie. They taste great too, so I guess I couldn’t ask for more, but did I do them correctly?
As a rugelach-aholic I am going to try this recipe. May I suggest some hints for the uninitiated on how to handle this dough, which will be very, very sticky. Here’s how: spread two large sheets of plastic wrap on your counter. Spoon the dough in half onto the two sheets. Neatly fold the wrap around the the dough. Then, shape and smooth the dough into two neat rectangles before refrigerating. When you are ready to roll out the dough, it will be in the correct shape. lightly flour before rolling, and flip the dough several times so it won’t stick.
A note to people who posted that the cookies caramelized:
YOU HAVE TO USE JAM WITH NO pieces OF FRUIT IN IT! Those will burn and caramelize. No recipes I’ve seen for rugelach state that, but after making many batches, I’ve found that the pieces of fruit burn and stick to the baking sheet.
I made the dough for the un fussy rugelach that does not have sugar! I plan to form them into this shape, nervous that the omission of sugar may cause the dough not to be tender enough. Help!
Sure isn’t needed when the fillings are so sweet. Here, with a thinner cookie and less filling, the sugar helps more.
Hi so I am making this with bread flour instead of ap cause that’s what I had on hand 🤷🏽♀️ but question is more about the processing, the dough came together but I have some huge chunks of butter, could be the crappiness of my processor, but should they be smaller more pea size?
They should be fully mixed — not pea-sized by the time the dough is ready.
Years and years ago I made these savory pinwheels from a recipe in the New York Times International Cookbook. They were in the “Russia” section, and they were called cream cheese pastries. The recipe said to cut into shapes, use egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds. OR thin a little roquefort and spread on dough, roll and cut into pinwheels. I aways made them for parties and they were a sensation. Fast forward these many years later and I’ve been making some for holiday parties using a tapenade spread. Again, a big hit. Thank you for your many wonderful recipes.
Rugelach cookies sound a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Family is not fond of jam; can Nutella or like be substituted in equal proportions?
I have a bag of delicious dried cherries that I’d love to use in this recipe but I don’t have the patience to chop them by hand. Suggestions??
Assuming I do use the dried cherries, would you go for cherry preserves or something else?
While I really enjoy your stories, I wish the recipe comments could be separated. I’m interested in other people’s first hand experiences and tips, such as how to slice these, it took a while to find them.
Always enjoy your blog and cookbooks. Thanks for being you!
Yikes, the dough kept breaking and the filling is leaking out. What shall I do?
Hello Deb, early-morning baking question for you. I have a half -recipe of Claire Saffitz’ rough puff pastry in my fridge that I was going to make into palmiers. But then I saw your rugelach recipe and…yum…rugelach…Do you think a mash up of this recipe with puff pastry dough would work? Rugelach palmiers??
I think it will be something different, but still delicious!
I used my leftover Thanksgiving Cranberry relish instead of the raisins and nuts. There was no sugar in the relish, so I used all of the sugar Deb specifies. I tried to dry out my relish a bit by draining it and leaving it in the fridge uncovered. Cherry jam was a delicious complement. A fun recipe to play with!
These were one of our new cookies for Christmas Cookie Baking last December. I used raspberry jam and zante currents-perfect. Unfortunately, our helpers need a bit of practice on tightly rolling the logs-I ended up trying to squish them together before they got in the oven. Still very yummy and liked them better than the traditional form.