Rugelach is the most delicious pastry cookie recipe you'll ever make. It's the perfect dessert to break the fast of Yom Kippur. The flaky pastry melts in your mouth, and the dark chocolate filling oozes out - it's an incredibly tasty experience. This simple recipe shows you each step - and the different fillings you can use. Cookies and chocolate combine to make an unforgettable rugelach!
What is rugelach?
Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry from Eastern Europe. It’s made with a rich dough that’s rolled into thin layers, filled with various sweet fillings, and then formed into crescent shapes. It’s usually served as an accompaniment to coffee or tea for special occasions like Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath).
In Israel, we make it out of yeast dough, and the filling is made with store-bought or homemade chocolate spread. The filled dough is rolled, cut into triangles, and rolled to a shape that resembles a croissant.
Here’s the best part: the cookie inside is soft and full of chocolate. And I mean, it’s chocolate, so everyone is a fan!
Is your mouth watering yet? I bet it will, especially as you anticipate your first bite after fasting for 25 hours for Yom Kippur!
Types of rugelach filling
One of the best things about rugelach is that you can customize the filling in a bunch of different ways. Whether you're in the mood for something fruity or some rich chocolate, there is a filling you can use.
Just look at some of the most popular ideas below:
Fill the pastry with pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice. Then, top them with cream cheese glaze. It's the perfect fall dessert. (Note that this makes the rugelach dairy and not parve).
This is a classic combination of finely chopped pecans, chocolate chips, and brown sugar. It reminds me of pecan pie in a fun way.
For a fruity twist, fill the pastry with some raspberry jam. Drizzle some vanilla glaze on top to contrast the sweet and tart flavors of the raspberry filling.
Dates are Mediterranean fruit that fit in perfectly with rugelach pastry. Fill the pastries with dates, spicy ginger, orange juice, and sugar. For a bit more texture, add some chopped walnuts!
Pistachio Cranberry Rugelach
Cranberries are a holiday fruit, so make this recipe if you're going to serve the dessert at a holiday party. The pistachios add a salty and crunchy twist that's irresistible.
Finally, this is my all-time favorite way to make this dessert! Mix some cocoa powder, sugar, and vegetable oil together and spread it on the pastry before you roll it up. As it bakes, the chocolate filling melts and oozes out of the flaky pastry pieces.
Here are some questions people often ask about making rugelach. Read through them and see if your question is below too.
What's the difference between schnecken and rugelach?
The filling is what sets these two filled pastries apart from each other. Schnecken is filled with cinnamon sugar and raisins. Rugelach can be filled with different types of jam or chocolate.
What is the difference between rugelach and babka?
Babka is another popular dessert that people often confuse with rugelach. Babka is a yeast bread that is rolled with chocolate filling. It's usually made in a loaf pan. Rugelach is rolled like croissants. The main differences between the two of them are their shape and the type of dough they use.
What does rugelach mean in Yiddish?
Rugelach means rugel, which is translated as "royal." This is a dessert that is often saved for special occasions.
What does parve mean?
I made this dessert parve - that's another way of saying it is dairy-free.
The rugelach is often made with sour cream or cream cheese, but since I made this recipe dairy-free, this sweet dessert can also fit any fun weekend or another occasion where you want to serve some chocolatey goodness!
How do you make rugelach last longer?
To keep the pastry fresh for longer and to add more sweetness, brush it with sugar syrup (also known as simple syrup), which is just made out of sugar and water. This will help the rugelach keep its shape and texture for a few days.
Store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. You can refrigerate rugelach for up to one week.
If you want to save the rugelach for a later date, you can freeze it as well. Just wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap, then place them all together in an airtight container and store it in the freezer. They should last up to three months this way!
Make this chocolate rugelach recipe today!
Enjoy a tasty rugelach pastry that's filled with chocolate, nuts, and other goodies. Mix the dough, roll it out, add your favorite filling ingredients, and then bake. It's that simple!
Whether you choose to make rugelach for an upcoming party or just want to treat yourself on a weekday afternoon, this delicious recipe will make your day.
Chocolate Rugelach Recipe (Parve)
For the dough:
- 3 cups (500 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract/paste
For the chocolate filling:
- 5 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 10 tablespoon sugar
- 7 tablespoon vegetable oil
For brushing and sugar syrup:
- 1 beaten egg
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- In a stand mixer bowl, place all dough ingredients and knead for 4 minutes.
- Grease the bowl and create a ball from the dough.
- Let the dough rise in the greased bowl for 1 and a half hours, covered.
- Meanwhile, in another small bowl, mix all of the chocolate-filling ingredients.
- After letting the pastry dough rest, divide the dough into 2 and roll each part into a circle.
- Spread the filling on one rolled circle and place the second circle on the one with the filling.
- Roll the dough sandwich with the filling to flatten it a bit more.
- With a pizza cutter or a knife, cut to 16 triangles. Roll each triangle from the wide part to the narrow one.
- Place all the rugelach cookies on a baking pan. Let the rugelach rise again for 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 180°C / 350°F with the fan.
- Brush the rugelach with a beaten egg wash and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- While they bake, cook sugar and water in a small saucepan on high until all sugar is dissolved.
- Wait for it to cool and allow the baked rugalach to cool a bit as well.
- Brush with the sugar syrup and serve. Enjoy!
- If the dough is too dry and doesn’t come together, add 2-3 tablespoons of water.
- Not a fan of chocolate? Use your favorite rugelach recipe filling instead.
Question— do you I have to activate the yeast with the water before adding all the dough ingredients? I don’t see that as a step but I would think you need to. Just want to make sure I do it right!
I don't always activate dry yeasts, in this recipe I didn't. If you prefer you can with part of the water and sugar.