Rugelach, for the uninitiated, are extremely buttery little cookies with a bit of tang and an awful lot of flakiness from a cream cheese enriched dough. They are filled with any number of delicious fillings, such as chocolate coffee, strawberry pistachio, and cinnamon fig, but my favorite are made with a simple store-bought jam of my most beloved flavor — raspberry. And these are the ones I am sharing with you here. When making raspberry rugelach, cookie dough is rolled out into a circle, spread with said jam, and then sliced into triangles, like a pizza. Each triangle is then rolled up into the most adorable of little shapes, leaving each cookie to resemble a tiny, extremely cute, cousin of the croissant. An even simpler way to make rugelach, however, is to roll the dough into a rectangle, spread it with filling, and then roll the rectangle into a tight cylinder, as you would when making cinnamon buns. You then slice the cylinder into pieces, and place them on your cookie sheet to bake, with the lovely swirly side facing up.
I won’t lie. I am partial to rugelach shaped like croissants, so included directions for making those in the recipe, but by all means go rogue on me if you’d prefer a round little cookie. You could even prepare half the dough one way, and half the other, if you’re really feeling frisky. And you can use any flavor jam of your choosing for the filling. I make currant jam every summer, and am looking forward to trying that. Just make sure that whatever jam you do use is nice and thick and spreadable so it doesn’t melt while baking. Truth be told, while baking, you will notice melted butter leaking from the rugleach and on to your cookie sheet. Do not worry. These rugelach have copious amounts of butter in the dough, as that is just how I roll (pun intended) and that is why the cookies are so wonderfully rich and flavorful. But do not skip the freezing pre-baking step, as the freezing step helps the rugelach maintain their shape and keeps the leaking butter to a minimum.
Finally, the recipe yields a lot of cookies and I encourage you (after shaping them) to bake off only as many as you want to eat in the moment, and to freeze the rest. Then at a moment’s notice, in the weeks that follow, or months if you are very disciplined (or forget), you can have rugelach at the ready whenever the craving hits for a tender, buttery, fruity and very delicious cookie. Here is the raspberry rugelach recipe.
The text here and recipe were originally published in the March issue of Main Street Magazine.