One of my family's favorite cookies are rugelach. Being a native of the South, rugelach is not a cookie I was familiar with until moving up North. When I moved to the DC area, I used to get my hair done in a salon in Rockville. Right next to the salon was a Jewish deli called
Bagel City. I first went in to the deli, of course, to try the bagels. Their name is Bagel City after all.
One mission I had after leaving New York was finding the perfect bagel. As cliche as it sounds, there is no place better for bagels than New York City. Most bagels that you find around here are the doughy, soft bagels that taste more like a roll than a bagel. New York city bagels are chewy when you bite into them. They are smaller and less doughy but perfect when toasted with even just a topping of butter. Well, Bagel City fulfilled my long search and became my go-to place every time I went to get my hair done. If you ever have a chance to go, please do yourself a favor and get the black and white bagels. Oh, heaven!
The other reason I always stopped in was the cookies. Bagel City has one of the best bakeries with a wide variety of cookies, from Black and Whites to, you guessed it...rugelach. They have cinnamon rugelach, apricot rugelach, raspberry rugelach, date rugelach. You want it, they've got it. So, on every trip I'd bring home a bag full of assorted cookies much to the delight of the kids. They'd get so excited when I'd come home with my paper bag and immediately start fighting over who got what. And, their very favorite and most fought-over cookie was the rugelach.
Rugelach is a simple dough made with cream cheese, butter, and flour. Rolled out, you simply brush whatever toppings you desire and then roll up the dough and slice. Personally, I like the cinnamon-nut combination. For this recipe, I filled the cookies with brushed-on butter, topped with a cinnamon-sugar mixture, then a few walnuts, and a sprinkling of raisins.
The result is a flaky cookie with fragrant cinnamon and sweet bites of raisins. I really enjoyed the addition of raisins for this recipe. They were a nice touch that added a surprise when paired with the spice and nuts. You can fill your rugelach with any sort of preserves you desire: apricot, raspberry, even apple butter. If you have some chewy dates on hand, add those instead of raisins. The possibilities are endless. The dough freezes well and can be used in two months.
Rugelach is the perfect cookie for the holidays. Give them as gifts or keep them all for the family. Ours don't last long. This batch was gone in a day!
Cinnamon Rugelach with Raisins and Walnuts
A classic rugelach dough made from cream cheese and butter, filled with cinnamon, sugar, walnuts, and raisins. These cookies are buttery, flaky, spicy, and sweet. What else could you ask for?
- 4 ounces cream cheese
- 1 stick or 8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped into small pieces
- 1/3 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the dough:
1. Take the cream cheese and butter out of the refrigerator 10 minutes before using. You want it slightly soft but not too soft. Cut into four pieces.
2. In a food processor, add the flour, salt, cubes of cream cheese, and cubes of butter. Pulse about 10 times to coat everything with flour. Then, process until the dough begins to form curds. Stop processing at this stage. You do not want the dough to form into a ball.
3. On a floured work surface, work with your "curds". Gather it all into a ball and then divide the ball in half. Shape each half into a square. Wrap them in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for two hours. You may also refrigerate for up to 1 day or freeze for up to 2 months.
For the filling:
4. About 15 minutes before you plan to roll out your dough, begin to make the filling. In a small sauce pan, melt your two tablespoons of butter over low heat. Chop your walnuts and set aside.
For the cookie:
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll your square, one at a time, into a 12x12 square, making sure to roll evenly. While preparing one square, place the other in the refrigerator so that it stays cold. Using a pastry brush, brush on your melted and cooled butter. Sprinkle the surface with sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the walnuts and raisins over top. Slice your square in half. And, then slice that half into a half one final time. You will have four squares.
6. Slowly roll each square being careful to keep your rolls even. Don't worry if your filling begins to fall out. With a sharp knife, very slowly and gently slice your roll in half. Place the rolled cookie onto a baking sheet prepared with parchment paper with the seam side down.
7. Repeat for each square. Place finished cookie sheet in the refrigerator while you work on the second half of the dough.
8. Preheat your oven to 375 while you work on the second square of dough. Place those in the refrigerator while you bake the first batch.
9. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Cool and enjoy!
2 hour 30 mins