Overview

These crescent-shaped cookies are a staple of delicatessens and other bakeries in New York and across the country, and they are beloved in the American baking repertoire. The simple, pliable dough comes together in a flash, and most of the time making these cookies is spent chilling the dough and the shaped cookies.

Recipe notes: This recipe is ripe for adaptation and can work with your choice of dried fruit and/or chocolate. We tested a variation we particularly liked: apricot-pistachio rugelach with cardamom. Instead of cherries and pecans, substitute equal amounts of dried apricots and raw, unsalted pistachios, and swap in cardamom for the cinnamon and apricot jam for the raspberry.

If you want to make these cookies without nuts, just double the amount of dried fruit, to make up for the bulk.

The dough, fruit-and-nut filling and cinnamon sugar can be made up to 3 days ahead. Keep the dough tightly wrapped and refrigerated.

After the rugelach are rolled, they can be frozen on a baking sheet. Once hard, consolidate them into plastic zip-top bags. They can then be baked right from the freezer. You may need to increase the baking time a bit.

Store the baked rugelach in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days. To refresh, place the rugelach on a baking sheet and reheat at 300 degrees until warm.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

Our holiday cookie generator has a recipe for everyone.


Ingredients

FOR THE DOUGH

16 tablespoons (2 sticks/226 grams) cold unsalted butter, each cut into 4 pieces

8 ounces (227 grams) cold cream cheese, cut into 10 pieces

2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for your work surface

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 large egg

1 teaspoon water

Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

FOR THE FILLING

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup (70 grams) finely chopped pecans

1/2 cup (70 grams) finely chopped dried cherries

Generous 1/2 cup (175 grams) raspberry jam (with or without seeds)


Steps

Step 1

Make the dough: Place the butter and cream cheese on the counter and let them soften for about 10 minutes; you want them still cold. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade, and scatter over the chunks of butter and cream cheese. Pulse the processor 5 to 10 times, until the mixture looks shaggy. Then process the dough, pausing the motor to scrape down sides of the bowl often, just until the dough forms large curds. Don’t overwork it to the point where it forms a ball on the blade.

Step 2

Turn the dough out, gather it into a 5-by-3-inch brick, and divide it into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough until chilled, at least 2 hours and up to overnight. You can also freeze the dough, tightly wrapped in two layers of plastic wrap, for up to 3 months.

Step 3

Make the filling: While the dough chills, in a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and cinnamon until combined. In another medium bowl, stir together the chopped nuts and dried fruit. In a small saucepan over low heat, warm the jam until it’s loose and liquid.

Step 4

Make the rugelach: Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, working quickly with one disk at a time, roll each disk out to a 12-inch circle; it’s okay if the circle isn’t perfect. (If you start feeling the dough getting sticky and too warm, dust it with a whisper of flour.) Using a pastry brush, coat the dough with a thin layer of jam, then sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar, and follow with a quarter of the nut-and-fruit mixture. Take a large piece of wax paper and gently press it over the filling so it better adheres to the dough. Then, using a pizza wheel, cut the dough into 12 wedges: Begin by cutting the dough into quarters and then cut each quarter into thirds. Set the wax paper aside for the following dough disks. Roll each piece of dough into a crescent from the wide end to the tip. Transfer to a baking sheet, making sure the tip of each crescent is under the cookie. Transfer the baking sheet to the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes. Repeat with one more dough disk.

Step 5

While the rugelach are chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the racks positioned in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg with 1 teaspoon water until combined.

Step 6

Brush each crescent with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Step 7

Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point, until they are puffed and golden. Transfer the rugelach to wire racks and let cool to warm or room temperature before serving. Repeat with the remaining two dough disks.

Adapted from pastry chef Alex Levin and cookbook author Dorie Greenspan.

Tested by Olga Massov; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

Scale and get a printer-friendly version of the recipe here.

Did you make this recipe? Take a photo and tag us on Instagram with #eatvoraciously.

More from Voraciously:

The 9 essential cookies every home baker should know how to make

The tools you need to bake better cookies

13 next-level kitchen gifts

Nutrition

Calories: 100; Total Fat: 7 g; Saturated Fat: 4 g; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Sodium: 30 mg; Carbohydrates: 9 g; Dietary Fiber: 0 g; Sugars: 5 g; Protein: 1 g.