These chocolate rugelach are a marriage of a cream cheese pastry wrapped around a rich, dark chocolate and orange filling. They aren’t the rugelach of my childhood. Those were filled with cinnamon sugar, raisins, and walnuts. But they will be the rugelach that kiddo remembers from hers.
Tips and tricks about this recipe
If you are comfortable with pastry, rugelach are easy to make. In fact, this rugelach dough is very similar to my cream cheese pie crust, which was adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Pie and Pastry Bible.
I use the food processor for convenience. First, mix the flour with sugar, salt, and baking powder (Panel #1). Add cold cream cheese and pulse (Panel #2) and then cold butter (Panel #3). Add the liquids, in this case cream and water, and pulse a few times (Panel #4) just until the mixture can be pinched together (Panel #5). Divide the dough, put it into plastic bags for a brief kneading, shape it into a disk (Panel #6), and put it into the refrigerator or freezer for resting.
While the dough is resting, melt the chocolate and butter together and then mix them with cocoa powder, confectioners sugar, orange zest, and a pinch of salt to make the chocolate filling.
To form the rugelach, first roll the dough out to about a nine inch circle (Panel #1). Spread one quarter cup of chocolate over the circle in a thin layer (Panel #2). Cut the circle into twelve segments (Panel #3) using a bench scraper (because I wouldn’t want to use a sharp knife on my countertop! And roll the rugelach into a spiral from the outside towards the inside of the circle (Panel #4).
Place the point of the rugelach down on baking sheets lined with silicone mats or parchment paper.
FAQs about this chocolate rugelach recipe
No, you don’t have to do anything, but you will get better/more consistent results if you weigh your ingredients, especially for baking. I’m offering to buy a basic kitchen scale for the first 10 U.S. readers to sign up for my newsletter (see below) and send me a comment that you would like to use a kitchen scale.
Yes, if you want to make these chocolate rugelach with pecans or other nut, toast a half cup or so of nuts, chop them finely, and add them atop the layer of chocolate before you roll them up.
In addition to my childhood rugelach that I described above, I’ve also made rugelach filled with jam and topped with chopped chocolate and nuts. If you can think it, you can make it.
Yes, most pastry freezes really well. You could freeze the dough before rolling, rolled cookies before baking, or even baked cookies for three to six months. Personally, I’d always choose to freeze before baking.
Here’s Webster’s pronunciation of the Yiddish. It’s the chet at the end that gives people problems, because it’s a letter we don’t have in English. It’s that same tricky letter that starts Hanukkah and challah.
- Food processor
Rugelach pastry dough
- 1 cup (125 grams/4.4 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusting the countertop
- 1 cup (125 grams/4.4 ounces) cake flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 9 tablespoons (128 grams/4.5 ounces) cold cream cheese, roughly cut into four parts
- 12 tablespoons (170 grams/6 ounces) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate
- 8 tablespoons (113 grams/4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 5 tablespoons (30 grams/1 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 tablespoons (30 grams/1 ounce) confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- pinch salt
Assembly and finishing
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Add the flours, sugar, salt, and baking powder to the food processor and process to combine.1 cup (125 grams/4.4 ounces) bleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup (125 grams/4.4 ounces) cake flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Add the cream cheese and pulse 10 times.9 tablespoons (128 grams/4.5 ounces) cold cream cheese, roughly cut into four parts
- Add the butter cubes and pulse 20 times. You should not be able to see any large cubes of butter.12 tablespoons (170 grams/6 ounces) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- Add the cream and water and pulse another 10 times. You should be able to pinch the mixture together between your fingers.1 tablespoon cold water, 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Divide the mixture evenly into two plastic kitchen bags. Keeping your hands on the outside of the bag, knead the mixture for a minute or two, pulling the bag away from the dough as needed, until the dough forms a smooth ball. Divide this first bag into two balls, flatten them slightly into disks, and place them in the refrigerator to rest. Repeat with the other half of the dough in the other bag. To freeze the dough at this point, wrap the disk in two layers of plastic wrap and place them in a freezer bag for 3 to 6 months.
- While the dough is resting, melt the chocolate and butter together in a double boiler or heatproof bowl over a pot of barely simmering water.4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate, 8 tablespoons (113 grams/4 ounces) unsalted butter
- When the chocolate has nearly completely melted, remove the bowl from the pot (dry off the bottom) and stir in the cocoa powder, confectioners' sugar, orange zest, and salt. Let cool briefly.5 tablespoons (30 grams/1 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder, 5 tablespoons (30 grams/1 ounce) confectioners' sugar, 1 teaspoon orange zest, pinch salt
Assembly and finishing
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare two cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Lightly dust your countertop with flour. Remove a ball of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to a thin circle about 9 inches in diameter.
- Add 1/4 cup of chocolate filling to the dough circle and spread it with a knife or offset spatula to about 1/2" from the edge.
- Use a bench scraper or knife (being careful of your countertop) to cut the circle into quarters and then cut each quarter circle into three wedges (i.e. each wedge will represent about 30° of the circle).
- Take one wedge. Starting at the outside edge, roll tightly towards the center of the circle.
- Place the cookie so that the final tip of the wedge is face down on a baking sheet.
- Repeat with the 12 wedges and then the next dough circle. Rugelach will not spread significantly, but do not crowd them on the baking sheet.
- When you have filled one cookie sheet, put it in the freezer for at least 15 minutes prior to baking.
- Remove the rugelach from the freezer and brush them lightly with the beaten egg wash.1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Bake for 23-25 minutes, until the rugelach are a golden brown.
- Let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then move to a cooling rack. Once cool, rugelach can be stored at room temperature for a week or two or frozen for 3 to 6 months.
- The rugelach dough can also be made in a stand mixer or by hand, but I find that the food processor gives the most consistent results.
- You can use only all-purpose flour if you don’t have cake flour. Using the cake flour reduces the protein content and makes the dough slightly more tender.
- If you want this to be sweeter, you can sub semi-sweet or milk chocolate for the bittersweet chocolate in the filling. Or sprinkle some granulated sugar on over the egg wash before baking.
- The time stated here is the amount of time it takes me to make this recipe. The first time or two you make rugelach, please allow for a longer amount of time. You’ll get the hang of it by the time you finish your first batch!
If you make these chocolate rugelach, please leave a comment here or share a pic with me on Instagram!
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