rugelachI vividly remember the first time I tasted Rugelach.  It was about 10 years ago in Boca Raton, Florida.  Why do I recall this memory so clearly?  Because I was entranced by the charming croissant-like shaped pastry that was overflowing in flavours and textures.  It was sweet, it was caramely, it was crunchy, it was soft.  It was delicious.

I have since sampled a number of store-bought Rugelach – most recently a cinnamony flavoured version from Zabar’s in NYC.  I thought it was high time I made this mouth-watering treat myself.

The holiday seemed a perfect occasion to bake this cream cheese pastry yum yum.  I know Rugelach is a Jewish cookie, and not exactly ‘kosher’ for Christmas, but it seems so cheerful I could not resist including it in my Christmas baking selection.

To maintain as much authenticity to the Jewish recipe as possible, however, I consulted the much-loved version by Dorie Greenspan.  This recipe was passed to Dorie by her mother-in-law and has been successfully reproduced many times.

I love a good pastry and have considerable fondness for all the filling ingredients Dorie recommends … walnuts, currants, chocolate chips, fruit jam.  There was no need for any substitutions or omissions of the flavours on my part!

I made the recipe exactly per Dorie’s suggestion.  It was incredibly easy to make.  The cream cheese pastry came together like a dream.  The assembly and construction was very quick, too.  I baked my batch of Rugelach for 25 minutes and they were perfect – golden and gorgeous.

I greedily devoured these treats straight out of the oven.  I also, “for research purposes”, needed to taste test the impact of cooling … multiple times!  They were truly addictive.

Rugelach may never match the mystère of the French Macaron made famous by Pierre Hermé and Ladurée, but I maintain they are equally delicious.  I promise you will enjoy them, too.

{ A few tips … }

1. If you use regular sized chocolate chips, consider grounding them to make them smaller.  This will reduce the chance of ‘filling slippage’ outside of the cookie when rolled.
2. Even though the dough is incredibly simple to make, do resist over handling.
3. It is important to use good quality jam.  I always use St Dalfour in baking which has no added sugar.  This ensures that the sweetness of the jam is not overpowering and only imparts a fruit flavour.