Let's call the whole thing delicious! No Jewish bakery is complete without a platter of these puffy pastries. And now, you can make rugelach at home. So pre-heat that oven and channel some patience because it's time for one of my favorite anytime treats. Just follow the recipe below, and you’ll be enjoying some melt-in-your mouth, ooey gooey goodness before you know it!
Rugelach is Yiddish for “little twists.” They were first baked in Austria and Poland, and you can find them all over the world. My family is obsessed with rugelach. We have sampled and rated just about every version in Southern New England. We can tell you which bakeries have perfected these little bites of paradise and who has disgraced the rugelach history. Our strict rating system includes crispness, chewiness and flavor profile, just to name a few. This isn’t a task we take lightly.
My early memories of rugelach include a fruit-filled, cream cheese-based cookie, but as I got older and explored the world of pastry, I discovered a yeast-based dough that I had to perfect. Until recently, pastries and breads felt intimidating, but with some practice and many (many) pep talks, I have overcome my fear, and I’m having fun! I hope I can encourage you to give this recipe a try because the result is so worth it. If anything, there’s a lot of kneading, punching and rolling, which are great stress relievers.
Hungry for more? Keep following “Baking with Lisa,” a new feature in the print and online editions of Jewish Rhode Island that will explore the rich and tasty confections of the Jewish diaspora.
Have a baking question? Want me to make your family recipe? Feel free to email me at email@example.com. And check out all my baking videos, at Jewishrhody.com/baking-with-lisa
2 1/4 cups (270 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon (5g) dry active yeast
1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon (2.5 g) Kosher salt
1 tablespoon (6g) cornstarch
4 tablespoons (57g) unsalted butter, melted
1 egg, room temperature
1 tablespoon (25g) canola oil
1/2 cup (125g) milk
1/8 cup (30g) raw honey
1/4 cup (25g) unsweetened cocoa powder
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup (50g) dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 cup (73g) Nutella spread
1/8 cup (56 grams) unsalted butter, softened
6 tablespoons (75 grams) packed light brown sugar
3/4 tablespoon (5 grams) ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Make the dough:
In a microwave safe bowl, heat milk to approx. 110 degrees F. Place yeast in milk and let sit for about 10 minutes until yeast has activated. In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, salt and cornstarch. Whisk to combine. Make a well in the center of the bowl, then add the melted butter, eggs, oil, milk and yeast mixture, and honey. Stir with a spoon to combine. When the mixture becomes thick and sticky, start mixing by hand. Begin kneading the dough in the bowl, by hand, until it becomes fairly smooth, and forms a ball. This should take about 3 minutes of kneading. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1.5 hours or until it has doubled in volume.
Make Chocolate Filling:
Meanwhile, make the filling. Combine all ingredients until the mixture is totally smooth, with no lumps remaining. Set aside.
Make Cinnamon Filling:
Combine all ingredients until the mixture is totally smooth, with no lumps remaining. Set aside.
Shape the Rugelach:
Divide the risen dough into 2 equal pieces. Sprinkle your work surface generously with flour. Sprinkle the dough lightly with flour. Roll one piece of dough out into a large rectangle. The dough should be very thin. Add more flour under the dough as you roll, to prevent sticking.
Spread the chocolate filling onto the rectangle of dough in a thin layer, using a small offset spatula or spoon. Leave 1/2-inch border all around. With the long edge facing you, fold the dough up in half lengthwise, enclosing the chocolate filling. Gently tug the edges and corners to meet, and use fingertips to press down the edges to seal. This helps prevent the chocolate filling from escaping.
Use a pizza wheel or sharp chef's knife to cut the dough into large triangles. Pick up one triangle, and gently stretch the triangle out even more lengthwise. Place the dough back down on the work surface, and roll the dough – starting from the straight edge top of the triangle, rolling down into a crescent shape. Repeat with remaining dough and cinnamon filling.
Place the shaped rugelach on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Place the rugelach close together, it's okay if they are touching. Repeat the same process with the remaining triangles of dough. Cover with a plastic wrap, and let proof at room temperature for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 370 degrees. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl, and brush the top of each rugelach with beaten egg. Bake for about 18-20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through to ensure even browning. If baking at a higher temperature, check rugelach early to prevent burning.
Make the Simple Syrup:
In a small saucepan, combine the granulated sugar and water. Whisk to combine. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, and let simmer for 3 minutes, until the mixture thickens slightly, and all of the sugar dissolves.
Once the rugelach have finished baking, remove from the oven and drizzle the rugelach immediately with the simple syrup.
LISA MAYBRUCH (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the manager, adult programs at the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island. Her occasional series, Baking with Lisa, will appear in Jewish Rhode Island and online at Jewishrhody.com/baking-with-lisa