Chocolate Rugelach is rich, buttery and crispy – imagine a satiny soft dough made with butter and cream cheese, filled with brown sugar and chocolate chips and rolled into crescent shapes. Delicious to eat and fun to make, these are perfect with coffee!
So what are Rugelach?
Rugelach is a popular Jewish pastry, rugelach means “little twists” in Yiddish. Traditionally, the fillings are apricot jam and dry fruits, or cinnamon, walnuts and raisins. Since this was my first try, I just went basic and made chocolate rugelach – dark chocolate chips and brown sugar. Oh boy, these are a delight!
I am not sure if these can be termed as pastry or cookies, I think they are more of bite-sized pies, crumbling in your mouth like a dream, filled with, well, anything you can think of filling a pie with!
Let’s talk about the dough
The dough is made with equal parts butter and cream cheese contributing to the flavour and flakiness of the final result. It’s really important to keep the dough cold, else it can get really sticky. Basically, the dough is rolled into a round circle, filled, rolled, and then chilled a little before baking. The dough itself has no sugar, so these are just mildly sweet, which is perfect. I sprinkled some brown sugar on top before baking for the extra crunch.
The basic dough doesn’t contain any eggs and I’ve tried to avoid egg wash before final baking and used milk instead to make this recipe completely egg free. If you’re okay with eggs, the egg wash (egg whisked with some water) will lend a beautiful brown colour during baking.
This recipe makes around 48 small chocolate rugelach. These will store well in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature and will freeze well for up to 3 months. You can also freeze the dough and unbaked filled rugelach for up to 3 months.
Ever since I have found this passion for baking, I love trying out different bakeries and eateries when I travel, and Rugelach was one of them that I tried while visiting my cousin at Stanford and has been on my to-try list for a long time. You can also check out these Hungarian street food “Chimney cake”.
- 200 g cream cheese cold, cut into cubes
- 200 g unsalted butter cold, cut into cubes
- 275 g all purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 160 g dark chocolate chips
- 30 g unsalted butter - melted
- 100 g brown sugar
- 2-3 tbsp milk - for brushing
- extra brown sugar for sprinkling on top - preferably with large granules or demerara sugar
- Blend together butter, cream cheese, flour and salt till you get a soft ball of dough. (you can use a food processor or with hands).
- Cling wrap the dough and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from fridge, cut into 4 equal parts. Keep 3 parts back into fridge cling-wrapped while you work with one part of dough.
- Lightly soften the dough in your hands to a rough ball and flatten it to a circle. Flour your surface and rolling pin and gently roll the dough to a circle about 10" diameter and about 1/8th inch thickness.
- Quickly brush the dough with one-fourth of melted butter, sprinkle about 25g of brown sugar and about 40g of chocolate chips. Gently press the chocolate chips in the dough so that they stick.
- With a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough circle into 12 equal wedges (first cut into 4 quadrants, then cut each quadrant into 3).
- Roll each wedge starting from the wide side till you get a crescent shape. Transfer the rolled rugelach onto the baking tray.
- Once all the rugelach are shaped, chill the baking tray for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Take out the baking tray from the fridge. Brush the tops with milk (or egg wash if using) and sprinkle some brown sugar on each.
- Bake the rugelach at 180C for 18-20 minutes until they turn golden brown. Remove from oven, and transfer the rugelach to a cooling rack to cool completely.