P & Q: Rugelach

So, how exactly do you pronounce this word?  I say roo-ga-lach with a slight throat-clearing sound on the ch.  I’ve heard it as roo-ga-la.  Rug-a-la.  Rug-a-lach (again, clear your throat).

Here’s what the dictionary says:   rŭg’ə-ləKH

Any way you say it, what do you want to know about making it?  Or, what pearls of wisdom do you have to share?


151 thoughts on “P & Q: Rugelach

  1. I’ve also never tried rugelach, but I’m eager too! With these ingredients, I don’t know how it could be bad.

    I do have a question regarding posting: I chose to make the Apricot Lekvar to go in the rugelach, is it okay to post the making-of that in my Rugelach post also? I’m new to this and don’t want to mess up the etiquette!

  2. I’ve never even tasted Rugelach, let alone made it, so this will be an experience. The idea of prunes or apricots doesn’t really appeal to me so I’m considering variations. Any thoughts?

    • I agree with Jules — you should try the prunes and apricots for at least some of them. I know it doesn’t sound like it, but these are two of the classics, and for good reason. They’re incredibly delicious. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    • I’ve had rugelach all my life. growing up jewish in the northeast, you find them at synagogue, at holidays, and as a grownup in the jewish community….at meetings. my butcher here in florida makes the best ones I’ve ever had. My rabbi brought me some when I was on hospital bed rest 4 years ago.
      you definitely want to make them with apricot. I’ve never been a fan of prune, but I might make some prune lekvar. I’ve only ever had from the jar–and as a child, so as an adult I might feel differently.
      I will probably leave out the dried fruit and just go with lekvar/nuts/sugar and cinnamon.

  3. I have already baked them last week … I could not wait to try it .. a little impatient I know :-D .. but I loved it … It tasted soooooo good … it was not complicated just alot of steps to follow … just plan ahead .. I made the dough a day before !!!! It was just perfect .. Can’t wait to share my pictures with you all

    • I made them this weekend too! They certainly took a bit of time, but I also just made the dough Saturday evening and did all the rest throughout Sunday. They were so delicious – so much richer and fresher tasting than the little spirals that you can get at the store. (My mom loves the assorted package at Sam’s when we have company. These are better.)

    • Thanks for the tip to plan ahead! Can’t wait to bake them (and eat them too, of course). I have always wanted to bake rugelah (I pronounce it – rug-eh-lach!). Looking forward to seeing your photos too!

      For those who have already baked their rugelach with raspberry or chocolate, can you recommend what to use? Thanks!

  4. i have two sets of dough and each set i get two 14 x5 rectangles that i roll each of them up and slice from…I have seen where you get one long roll…and i seen them making a circle and cutting triangles out of it and rolling them up like a croissants….what im asking is i get 4 logs from the two sets of dough…really new to baking….thanks

  5. You pronounce it rug a lah (at least that is how we pronounced it in our family!). I am psyched to do an authentic recipe. I live in Houston now, so a little NY will be nice- grew up eating rugelach. Yum!

  6. I’ve made Rugelachs several times before. I was considering not posting this go round. But, since my brother’s birthday is on 2/25, and he loves these, I’ll do the post…since I’m already making it.

    I pronounce it: it RUG ah lah. That’s my way. :)

    For those who haven’t tried it, you may want to go to a GOOD bakery and buy a few to try. This will give you an idea of what to look for. They are sold by the pound. So, get yourself a few different flavors and see what it’s like.

    I don’t like Rugelach >>>> I ADORE Rugelach. It’s THAT GOOD!

    Personally, I prefer to roll my rugelach in the crescent style instead of the rolled style.

    If you don’t like prunes or apricots, substitute with what you like.
    Ex: For chocolate filling: I melt chocolate and spread it over the dough. Sprinkle the finely chopped nuts over the chocolate. then roll up the pastry.


      • Oh Carmen I like the idea of chocolate much better but I am thinking since our family has never had it we should try it the way the recipe calls…if I do another one with chocolate, is that all you do spread chocolate and then nuts on it? Sounds pretty simple.

      • I use about three flavors…apricot jam, raspberry jam and chocolate.

        The trick is to keep them separate after baking so that you know which flavor is which. If you’d rather be surprised, then store them all together.

        Note: Make sure the fruits are cut small. The nuts should also be finely chopped, not pulverized though.

        Also, after adding the jam, sprinkle with nuts. Key point: depress lightly. This helps keep everything in place when you roll the pastry.


      • I plan to try using a pineapple mango filling with dried fruit in one of the rolls. I have made rugelach many times before and usually fill them with strawberry and roll into crescent shapes. But it really does not matter so much what you fill them with or how you roll them. The cream cheese dough is what makes them so fabulous. My dough is in the fridge right now. Yummmmmmmmmmmm.

  7. I’m excited about making them, but I’ll have to make plans to give a lot away. I can’t say no to a good rug-e-lach (like you’re clearing your throat)
    I thought it was interesting that this recipe has us roll them up jelly roll style and not make individual croissant shaped ones. I might make the shape I’m more familiar with….but is more labor intensive, of course!

  8. We’ve started making these as a Christmas tradition. I always loved them, but never thought of making them at home. We’ve used Dorie’s recipe from “Baking From My Home to Yours.” It’s fun to try different fillings, but we seem to like chocolate, cinnamon & nuts the best. The cream cheese pastry is delicious & easy to work with.

    Here are a couple of photos of the process: http://www.createamazingmeals.com/2011/01/holiday-baking-2010.html

    Be advised – they are addictive!

    • Nice tutorial, Carmen! very helpful if you haven’t made rugelach before (and I haven’t). I just made the full recipe of dough, and it is a LOT, about 40 ounces. if you don’t want to make this much, you could reduce the recipe to 1/3rd (just 1 stick of butter and 1 oz package of cream cheese) and just roll the dough out to one approximately 10×10 inch square, cut in half and you’ll have two shorter strips to work with.
      I also found Dorie Greenspan’s NPR interview with her rugelach recipe refined over the years at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6649570 including an audio. the main difference is that she uses the food processor with cold butter and cream cheese, which saves some time and probably makes a flakier dough than creaming room temperature ingredients in the mixer. I’m trying Dorie’s method and I can see little bits of cream cheese in this tender dough, which promises flakey pastry! We’ll see!

      • I’m having one with coffee right now, and the food processor did make a tender flakey pastry. Just follow Dorie’s instructions in the NPR article and interview. She mentions the dough looking like “cauliflower” florets, and NOT worked to form a ball. Also keeping the dough chilled, especially before baking is important to getting those flakey layers. Have fun!

  9. I had a quick question for any long time bakers out there…what do you all think of the dried buttermilk powder as opposed to liquid buttermilk?? I was just curious cause I always hate buying a whole thing of buttermilk for just needing a cup and thought the powdered might be better but didn’t know how good (or bad) it was. I know its not good for drinking im just curious about cooking with it…..thanks! :)

    • I think it works just fine, and you’re right, then you’re not wasting the rest of the buttermilk later. you just add it with your dry ingredients, and then add water in place of the liquid buttermilk measurement. you need to refrigerate the container after opening, but it keeps for a looooong time. it’s just dried cultured buttermilk, so the flavor is there, and it has the acidity needed to activate baking soda.

    • Hi, Jennifer:
      I’ve had good luck with dried buttermilk – just follow the directions on the canister. I’ve also read that you should refrigerate the package once you’ve opened it, and it will keep better.

      Also, believe it or not, you can freeze buttermilk. It works (I’ve tried it!) When I have some left over, I pour it into a freezer container with a screw-on lid and then all I need to do is remember to defrost it before I want to use it.

      One more thing I’ve learned – can you tell I hate wasting it too? – is that it keeps much, much longer than the date on the carton.

  10. Does anybody know where I can buy Apricot Lekvar? What kind of a store would carry it? Is it just like jam, or very different? I live in the Chicago area, so there are lots of stores around, I just don’t know where to look.

    I’ve never tried Rugelach either, but I like some of the posters’ ideas about doing some field research at local bakeries to test. And yes, I do mean “some” bakeries. Just one won’t be enough, will it?

  11. We’ve already made ours and thought I’d share a tip. The recipe for the Apricot Lekvar says it only makes 3/4 cup, so we doubled it since the Rugelach recipe calls for two cups. We now have more Lekvar than we could use in a lifetime. You’ll probably be safe with just one batch of Lekvar. I guess maybe I could have mismeasured along the way and tripled it or something, but I don’t think so. It’s a fun recipe. Took a lot of time but was delicious!

    • Ditto. I just made the apricot and prune lekvars and also increased the ingredient amounts for the apricot. For the prune lekvar, I used 2 cups of prunes instead of 3 cups and still wound up with about two cups of lekvar. They’re delicious, and I don’t really mind having leftovers, especially of the apricot, but I could certainly have made less.

  12. ok, an off topic question…. did anyone else freeze the egg whites from the tarts? and if so, how long do they last? can we do a recipe that uses them before they go bad? lol, i hate wasting!!

  13. i made them last weekend (1/2 batch) with fig butter from trader joe’s. Really delicious and the dough was easy to use (make sure to chill)

    • That’s what I’m doing, so far I’ve halved the dough recipe and the Lekvar recipes (which didn’t help since the yield ended up being more than double what the book says anyway!).

    • For me, it may have made even more than that! I cut them into about 1/2 to 1 inch pieces though instead, so they’d be smaller and more manageable to eat.

  14. If I’m planning to roll the rugelach into crescents instead of jelly roll style, do I still need to refrigerate them for 4 hours before baking of is that just so they’d be firm enough to cut? The rugelach recipe in BFMHTY says to only refrigerate for 30 mins..

  15. As my rugelach bakes in the oven as I type, and hope I am not jinxing it, what comes to mind throughout this process is work FAST! The cream cheese pastry comes to room temp quickly but I live in a hot and humid climate in South Florida so that may have something to do with it as well. Anyway…the house smells real nice right about now. Fingers crossed.

      • totally agree. I live in a humid country and the first batch sort of unravelled in the oven. The second batch made more trips to the fridge and turned out better lookng (but both were equally tasty)

    • Sometimes doughs change color (turn a little grey) when they sit in the refrigerator for more than a day. You could freeze the rolls, then move them back to the refrigerator Tuesday night to thaw. Or you could go ahead and cut all the cookies now, and bake what you need from frozen. Just add a couple of minutes or so to the baking time (this is per Dorie’s NPR interview).

  16. I love this recipe!! Have made in once before and couldn’t wait to make it again. The first time I made the prune lekvar and had so much left over, the second time I found it in my favorite cooking store in Minneapolis. The results were the same,as there are so may other things inside this cookie. I also had a lot of things left over after the first go around so the second time I made half of most things except the dough and it worked out well. I have made rugelach for years and this is my favorite recipe.

  17. I made the dough Friday night and it has been chilling since then. It seemed like an awful lot of butter and cream cheese in relation to the amount of flour and sugar. Any comments? I plan to have the dough pretty cold when I roll it and I am going to do the crescents instead of the rolls. Any thoughts about the dough? I have made both prune and apricot lekvar before and the homemade version is a lot less expensive than what you buy ready made in a jar and very easy to make, especially if you have a food processor. Using dried figs would work nicely also. Would love to hear comments on the dough. I used full fat cream cheese in mine. It just didn’t feel like a dough to me. Any thoughts.

    • This dough does have as much or maybe more fat (from the butter and cream cheese) than flour in it, so it behaves a lot like a quick puff pastry or very buttery pie dough. You just need to keep it well chilled and work quickly when rolling and filling it (as has already been noted in comments). It’s a little challenging when you start rolling it out because the cold fat makes the dough really hard. I pounded the dough at the beginning, instead of leaving it out on the counter, which also softens it but doesn’t let it warm up. If it gets too soft and sticky at any time, slide it onto a parchment-lined sheet pan and chill it’s firm again, in either the frig or freezer. Hope this helps!

  18. I just finished making mine and I’m a bit underwhelmed :( I may have done something (or many things) wrong along the way, but it seemed like a lot of work and mine came out so weird looking! To befair, I’ve never had rugelach before so I have nothing to compare it to…

  19. I made half recipe of the prune lekvar and froze the leftovers because I only made 1/6 recipe of the dough and other elements. Aside from all that math involved, the recipe was pretty fiddly. I made crescent shaped cookies and they were pretty big. The coating and the filling came *this* close to burning by the time the pasty baked through. Still tasty though.

    • I made crescents too and they were huge! By the time they were rolled up and coated with the topping they looked less like cookies and more like something I’d baked when I was 7 years old.

      • I did some quick math between the spirals in the BWJ recipe and crescents (according to Dorie again). BWJ has you make 12 rugelach from 10 oz of dough, Dorie makes 16 crescents from only about 6-7 oz of dough. So the BWJ ones are almost twice the size! They can take more filling, but take more time to bake and the oven temp in BWJ is higher. Be sure to double pan (mentioned in the “chilling the dough section” instead of the baking section, and you can bake them at 350 degrees instead.

      • I did double up the pans and it’s a good thing too – the bottom was caramelizing a lot faster than the top was browning! I think I’m going to give these another go but this time I’ll roll them out thinner and try the nutella filling variation.

  20. I made these yesterday, since I might not have time next weekend. I thought I was being pretty careful with the instructions, but I found these *very* hard to roll up–so much filling! And then they tended to come unrolled and leak all over the place during baking. I’m sure they taste okay, but they don’t look like much. :)

    Was wondering if I did make a mistake?

    • Mine didn’t roll up very well at first, but after they refrigerated, I was able to squish the dough all the way around. I don’t think you made a mistake, it almost seems like it’d be better to have slightly wider rectangles, making sure to leave a border to squish the edges together.

      • I’m so glad to hear I wasn’t the only one to struggle with rolling them up and there being too much filling! Mine weren’t much to look at, but still tasted pretty good:)

      • I had the same problem. It looked like half the filling oozed out onto my cutting board. Still have to bake them and I’m crossing my fingers they hold together. I think having a bit of a border, at least on one end, would have helped.

  21. How do these keep? I’m considering making the full recipe and then mailing some to a friend. It would probably be two days in transit (i.e. post on Monday, arrive on Wednesday). Also has anyone frozen the baked cookies, and if so how did that work out?

  22. When you talk about chocolate are you using chocolate chips or melted chocolate. I have never made these before and just curious. I love chocolate……maybe I shouldn’t use chocolate!!

  23. Hi, this will be the first recipe on my blog! I created it only to join this baking group! :)

    I rolled my dough over a plastic film! It helped a lot to roll the dough, as it was a little warm and soft after putting all the fillings.

  24. I have to tell you that this recipe for rugelach was much more challenging to make than a recipe I have always used from Martha Stewart magaizine. Also, although these rugelach tasted pretty good, the Martha Stewart rugelach were supeior in taste to any other rugelach we have had at our home..

  25. I just made the dough using the food processor and it didn’t come together at all when I turned it out of the processor. Luckily I learned to fraisage in the chocolate tart dough recipe and brought it together using that technique. I felt rather proud of myself, using a new technique and all. Its raining here so I thought my dough would come together quite nicely. Not sure what the issue was but I recommend creaming the fat and adding the flour per the recipe.

  26. I made the dough according to BWJ, in the KitchenAid, and I also made the apricot lekvar, both today. I used apricots from Trader Joe’s with sulfur dioxide preservative; I almost bought the unsulphured apricots but they were not very pretty, kind of brown. Has anyone used the unsulphured apricots? Both came together easily and the lekvar is so tasty.

    • I just made my apricot lekvar today with unsulphured aprictos, and it’s delicious. I know the apricots don’t look very appetizing in the packages, but I have to say after rehydrating them, and then the blend in the processor with the lemon juice and sugar, it’s definitely a deep orange color, much more appetizing looking at least! I find that the unsulphured dried fruits retain a bit more of the fruity flavor, and I’m trying to really cut out additives.

      • Thanks for the info, Alicia! Next time I’ll go for the preservative free version. I’m not disappointed with the ones I used but would prefer the straight-up fruit next time.

    • I’ve been eating unsulphured abricots for at least the past 10 years and my children have never seen in our house a “nice orange colored” dried apricot.
      The taste is wonderful…once in your mouth, the color doesn’t really count, does it’
      The same for all the other dried fruits.
      In Switzerland the additif is E220 and is BANNED from our house! <3

  27. These comments are so helpful. It sounded so intimidating, but seems doable now. I’m going to try making half chocolate and half apricot. Can’t wait to get started.

  28. Has anyone tried the apricot filling by SOLO available in the baking section of the grocery store? I’m planning on making the apricot filling myself but was curious if this stuff from the store was any good. Love the nutella idea! One batch may get that as its filling!

    • I’m in the middle of making mine today and I used the Solo apricot cake and pastry filling. It was good right out of the can (smile). Kind of like thin apricot jam.
      Mine are baking right now but I expect they’ll be good. My rugelach(s?) spread out quite a bit while baking. Is that their nature? Mary in A2

  29. Hi today I’ve made the Prune Lekvar and
    a) I must have done something wrong
    b) the sentence “makes about 1 cup” is not right.

    The taste is delicious but I had almost 3 cups (which is great as the recipe for the Rugelach asks for 2 cups of Lekvar. So I don’t need to make more).

    How is it possible that from 3 cups pitted prunes + 1/3 cup sugar + 1/4 cup chopped nuts and a bit of water you ends up with only 1 CUP?

    Thank you so much for answering -! First time I ever bake something from this wonderful book.

      • Hi, just to inform you that the amount of Prune Lekvar I got following the recipe in the book (I had 3 cups without increasing anything and not 1 as stated in the book) is the perfect amount for my Rugelach. No left over ! Just perfect!
        PPS: I thought that the Prune taste would be much too sweet, but in my opinion it is not. So if you have prepared only the apricot Lekvar, you might try the prune as well!

  30. I just made the dough. man, that was a lot of butter and cream cheese. not a lot of sugar (I know the filling will have plenty) and no egg? did that strike anyone else as odd? I have a feeling I’ll need to chill down my marble top and turn on the AC when I roll these out and fill them tomorrow.

    • Hi Amy,
      The last 12 are in the oven right now!! Since the first “cookies” were ready right after dinner we had some still warm and they were delicious. I’ve never tried Rugelach before and to tell the true all that butter, the cheese and sugar did almost put me off baking them. But “my conscience” told me: “YOU COMMITED to the group, now you stick to the rules!” I’m pleased I did!

      I did not have any problem in rolling the dough: Following the instructions I’ve split the dough-ball into 2 and made 2 rectangles. Left them it in the fridge for about 2 h, rolled them thinner on a floured surface. Made the logs and left them in the freezer for about 2h: cutting the “cookies” was a “piece of cake”…sorry piece of rugelach!

      PS: I didn’t add the dried fruit, it would have been too much! Thanks for all the comments written abouve: they helped :-)

      See you all on Tuesday!!

  31. This recipe seems to make a lot of dough. If I want to make crescents that are not huge, should I divide the dough into 4 discs instead of dividing the dough in half? Then maybe reduce the oven temp to 350 degrees F since the rugelach will be smaller? How long would you bake them then? These are new to me, thanks for any advice!

    • I made half the recipe and divided the dough into two portions. I made half as crescents and half roll and slice. I did not lower the temp and the time was about the same. They were excellent!

  32. I finally have time to make these!! Yay!!! So I just started reading the recipe and I noticed it says cr am cheese dough. :D
    Does everyone have that in their books or did I get the golden ticket?

  33. I have finished mixing the dough, and its time to divide into two. My dough seems rather wet. Is this right? I did allow the cream cheese and butter to come to room temperature. More flour? Or refridgerate a little before dividing?

  34. Ohhh, such a messy, fun recipe! I had cinnamon sugar, nuts, dried fruit, and flour everywhere. :P

    I made the apricot lekvar and wow, that’s some *sweet* stuff. With all the cinnamon sugar and dried fruit, these are going to be some very sweet cookies, depite a not-so-sweet dough.

    My four rolled logs are chilling overnight, and I’ll bake tomorrow. So far so good! I had no issues with rolling the dough, other than a few tears as I moved the logs to a cookie sheet to chill. I used pecans and dried cranberries for the filling, along with the apricot lekvar. I omitted the finely chopped almonds in the lekvar recipe. I forgot them, actually, then decided they weren’t necessary. ;)

    Can’t wait to bake!

  35. Ok.. I finally made them.. a few pointers for anyone who still has to make them..
    — use the double parchment as prescribed by the recipe
    –I made the crescent-shaped ones.. in which case go easy on the filling
    –when you pull them out of the oven.. take them off the parchment within 2 minutes.. don’t wait for 5-10 minutes.. the hot sugar/lekvar that oozes out will solidfy before you know it..and then it won’t be fun taking them off..
    –It’s a messy recipe so be ready for that.. and be ready to keep refrigerating your dough while working with it..if the temps are high where you leave.. cos the dough can become increasingly soft and difficult to work with..

    its a crazy recipe… but it tastes good at the end of it all!!!

    • Oh yes, I definitely had. almost 3 cups of Prune Rugelach instead of 1 as stated in the recipe! I did not add the dried fruit as it would have been too rich for us.

      BUT they were delicious! The mess is worth it!

    • Margot, I just rolled mine and then came to check to see if anyone else had way too much filling. I couldn’t get it all in there, and then couldn’t roll them up very well. They look pretty awful, and I have a ton of the nut/sugar/cinnamon part left over.

  36. These are so delicious! I made a million different variations, but they were still great. I’m bummed that I forgot I was going to make 1/2 chocolate. Oh well, next time…

  37. I followed the recipe with the filling and made the apricot lekvar (the recipe says it only makes 3/4 cup, but it will make close to 2). They take a long time to make but are so worth it.

  38. I was finally able to finish making the rugelach on Friday night as I had made the dough last weekend and refrigerated it. I was a little leery of this dough as it was very sticky from all the butter and cream cheese. Also this recipe is supposed to yield 64 cookies, which is a lot because they are not small. Here are my observations:
    1. I made both the prune and apricot lekvar. I just used what dried fruit I had rather than following the recipe measurements, adjusting the water, sugar, and nuts accordingly. Each recipe yielded about 1.5 cups.
    2. I did not use the chopped fruit in addition to the lekvar. It seemed like it would be too much since I was making the crescent shaped cookies.
    3. I used the nut, sugar, and cinnamon mixture on the inside and the cinnamon, sugar mixture as the coating.
    4. For the assembly, I prepared my pans first and worked fast. Once the cookies were rolled, I placed them on the pans and refrigerated them immediately.
    5. When I was ready to bake, I took them out, applied the egg wash and rolled them in the sugar, cinnamon mixture and then put them in the oven immediately.
    6. I have pretty heavy pans (Chicago Metallic) so I did not use the double pans.
    7. Still got some oozing and bubbling of the filling and sugar. It hardened a little during the cooling process and I knocked off the excess before storing them.
    8. Taste=10, looks=7.
    9. I made the apricot first and then decided to freeze the other half of the dough and make the prune ones another day.
    10. I had some apricot lekvar left (not a lot), but I didn’t make the full recipe. I plan to use the rest as cookie filling or spread on toasted homemade bread.
    11. These were fun, but a lot of work. Would only make them for Christmas or a special occasion.

  39. Ok.. just baked mine. I made chocolate/cherry and fig/apricot. The fig/apricot were WAY better. To die for! This coming from a chocoholic – my email address is gotchocolate..
    Cannot wait to read all the results and flavor combinations tomorrow! Time consuming but fun.

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