Easy Flaky Rugalach You Can Make at Home

There are few cookies as satisfying as flaky, chewy rugalach cookies. And they are as pretty as they are tasty. While they seem complicated to bake, I have good news for you today, which is that you can easily bake up a batch with your kids.

Rugalach look like little cookie croissants as they are rolled up from dough the shape of long triangles. The special thing about the dough we use for rugalach is that it’s made with cream cheese and egg yolks (rather than the whole egg), which gives the dough a very rich and creamy texture.

The name rugalach comes from the Yiddish language, which is the language of Jewish people born in Eastern Europe (referred to as Ashkenazi Jews), and the cookie is pronounced {ruhg-ah-lah}. There are many tasty fillings one might add to these gorgeous cookies, and the most popular are melted jam, cinnamon and chopped walnuts, chocolate and cinnamon or brown sugar and chopped walnuts.

Since my philosophy includes never using nuts in my recipes, I leave out the walnuts.

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Many Jewish people eat these lovely cookies at Hannukah or Shavuot, the holiday in which Jewish people celebrate by eating dairy products, decorating the home with greenery and reading special prayers. (Yay dairy!)

In my humble opinion, it’s best to eat rugalach all year long so you don’t miss out on any of these glorious little pastries!

Ready to learn more about Hanukkah? Check out 5 Reasons You Should Celebrate Hanukkah.


So How Do You Make Rugalach?

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My girl is already an expert in the steps involved in baking these cookies. The first thing to know, is that you need to refrigerate the dough before rolling it out. This means that you’ll need to plan a bit. My advice, is to make the dough in the morning and then you can roll out the rugalach in the evening! Or make the dough in the evening and then you’re all set to do a “rugalach roll out” in the a.m.

Before you are ready to make the dough, you need to set out your butter, eggs and cream cheese for a couple of hours to bring them to room temperature. We do this so these ingredients will incorporate easily into the dough, giving a better texture to your dough. Just a bit of planning will make it all go smoothly.

Kids Cooking and Baking Classes Westchester NY - Rugelach Cookies

If you need a few tips on how to get your kids helping you out in the kitchen, check out 5 Things Your Kids Can Do In The Kitchen.

Kid-Approved Recipes: Easy Rugalach You Can Make at Home

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The first step is creaming your butter and your cream cheese. It’s easiest in a stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer so you can really get it mixed up well. Your sous chef can put the butter and the cream cheese into the bowl. Be ready for them to want to poke the butter and cream cheese to see what it feels like. (wink)

Then you add your sugar, and mix that up, too. Your kids can measure the sugar and pour it into the bowl. If you’re feeling brave, they can even hold the hand mixer. Just tell them to keep the mixer touching the bottom of the bowl at all times.

(This isn’t rugalach dough they’re mixing!)

(This isn’t rugalach dough they’re mixing!)

Once you’ve gotten this far, you’re almost done with the dough - add your vanilla and flour and once it’s mixed up, you’re done! Now you have to wrap it in plastic wrap until the next day (or the next). It will be a bit sticky and that’s ok. It will firm up in the fridge.

When you’re ready to take it out, bring it to room temperature for an hour or so. Then, you’re ready for the really fun part.

Here’s what you’ll need to make Easy Rugalach at Home

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You will need some tools; nothing fancy - don’t worry. In addition to the raisins (or nuts) and cinnamon sugar, and an egg for brushing on top of the cookies…get a pizza cutter or sharp knife and a pastry brush. Cut up your dough into 8-12 slices. The more sections you have, the smaller your rugalach will be.

Then, put some apricot (or your preferred flavor) jam in a glass cup and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Once it’s warm, brush it onto the dough and then add your raisins and cinnamon sugar. You’ll want to have at least 4-5 raisins on each slice. I cut up my raisins in pieces so they aren’t so big and there’s more raisin to go around!

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Then roll those babies up! Once they’re rolled up, place them on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and then brush a bit of the egg on top. Not too much, or the cookies will get too brown.

Kids Cooking and Baking Classes Westchester NY - Rugalach Cookies
Kids Cooking and Baking Classes Westchester NY - Rugalach Cookies

Once you have your egg wash on top, you can put some sanding sugar on top of the cookies, or you can make them even more festive by adding nonpareils or sprinkles.

Here’s the rugalach recipe I adapted from my girl Martha, and here’s a list of the supplies you’ll need in addition to the ingredients.

Baking sheets
Wire racks
Parchment Paper (I LOVE the pre-cut cookie sheets)
Rolling Pin
Mat for Rolling Cookies
Pizza Cutter
Pastry Brush
Measuring Cups and Spoons

I hope you love your rugalach! Feel free to experiment with any filling you like. Chocolate is always a great choice, too! If you have any questions, just let me know! Enjoy!