Rugelach cookies are popular Jewish sweets, sometimes known as the Jewish Christmas cookie. The cookies are formed into a crescent shape and baked. They are filled with a sweet filling, often jams, nuts, or chocolate. They are often baked and served for Hanukkah, making them a perfect holiday cookie for this time of year. Add them to your spread of shortbread cookies and gingerbread cookies.

A traditional rugelach recipe calls for making your own rugelach dough, similar to a pie crust. Making your own dough extends your cook time. If you need cookies in a pinch, try our delicious, easy, rugelach cookie recipe.

Crescent Roll Rugelach Recipe

The key to this recipe is using crescent roll dough instead of making your own dough.

Rugelach on a tray
Sarah Abrams

Before you bake the cookies you need to decide on the fillings. The most traditional are apricot jam, dried fruits and nuts, and raspberry jam. While these are the classics, it's fun to mix them up.

My personal favorites are peanut butter, chocolate chips, and Nutella. The beauty of these is that you can mix and match your heart's desire. If you have leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving, you can cook them down as a filling. If you prefer apricot preserves to jam, use that. Brown sugar and one cup of walnuts or pecans would be a great filling for the Fall or Winter season.

First, cover a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. You'll need to give yourself a large work surface to crack open the dough and lay out each piece. Once you've opened the dough, lay each piece out flat. You may need to use a sharp knife or pizza cutter to fully separate the individual crescent rolls.

Rugelach on a tray
Sarah Abrams

Once the rolls are laid out, add your fillings of choice. Once filled, start at the point-side of the dough and roll until it reaches the opposite end. You should end up with a miniature croissant-shaped roll.

Before baking, take one beaten egg and glaze the top of each rugelach cookie. The egg wash gives the dough a nice golden brown crust. I suggest sprinkling on some cinnamon sugar or ground cinnamon for a pop of flavor.

Bake at 350 for 13- 15 minutes or until nice and browned. If you didn't sprinkle on cinnamon sugar, you can sprinkle on some powdered sugar while they're hot. Place on a wire rack until the cookies are completely cool.

When you're ready to serve, place the cookies on a plate and devour them. The best part of using crescent roll dough is the flaky layers it creates. When you cut open the rugelach, you can admire the beautiful layers.

Using A Traditional Rugelach Recipe

If you're feeling up for it, making your own dough from scratch is a worthwhile endeavor. The prep time is about 2 hr and 30 minutes, but most of that is letting the dough cool in the fridge. The total time is 3 hours, but they can be made ahead of time. The filling can be made one day in advance, so long as you store it in an airtight container at room temperature.

Rugelach on a plate
Sarah Abrams

The main difference between homemade dough and crescent roll dough is the texture. The homemade dough is crispier and more crumbly, closer to a traditional cookie. The crescent roll dough is closer to a breakfast pastry. Both are buttery, flakey, and delicious.

Cookies in any form are not the healthiest. The homemade dough will have slightly more carbohydrates and cholesterol than the crescent roll dough. That is because of the addition of cream cheese and butter. But, hey, cream cheese and butter are always worth it in my book.

For the wet ingredients, you'll need cold cream cheese cut into cubes, as well as cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes. You'll also need sour cream for a rich and flaky crust. For the dry ingredients, you'll need all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and all the wet ingredients. Pulse until the mix makes pea-sized crumbs. Divide into three discs of dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, but up to one day.

Remove the dough and using a rolling pin, roll the discs out on a lightly floured surface. Roll into a 10inc circle, then spread on your filling of choice. If you have any remaining dough, you can make smaller cookies, or bake them without filling.

Once, rolled, brush the top with egg yolk and bake at 350 for 22-25 minutes.

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Crescent Roll Rugelach 

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 13 minutes

servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tube of crescent roll dough
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/3 cup jam or jelly
  • Sugar for sprinkling over top
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Instructions

Open the crescent roll dough and lay on out in individual pieces on a baking sheet. Choose your filling of choice and spread to the edge of each piece of dough. Start at the pointd edge and roll to the opposite side.

Brush with eggwash and sprinkle on cinnamon sugar and bake at 350 for 13 minutes. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar.