These chocolate rugelach are a marriage of a cream cheese pastry wrapped around a rich, dark chocolate and orange filling. Rugelach are classic part of Jewish baking.
But these chocolate rugelach 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 for this recipe
Making the rugelach dough
If you are comfortable with pastry, chocolate 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 a food processor for convenience, but you can use a mixer or do this by hand.
First, mix the flour with sugar, salt, and baking powder (Panel #1 below). Add cold cream cheese and pulse (Panel #2) and then cold butter (Panel #3).
Add the 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, and shape it into a disk (Panel #6). At this point, put it into the refrigerator or freezer for resting.
Making the chocolate filling
While the dough is resting, make the chocolate filling for the rugelach. Melt the chocolate and butter together and then mix in the cocoa powder, confectioners’ sugar, orange zest, and a pinch of salt. Let cool.
Filling and rolling the chocolate rugelach
First roll the dough out to about a nine inch circle (Panel #1 below). Spread one quarter cup of chocolate filling over the circle in a thin layer, leaving about a half-inch uncovered (Panel #2).
Cut the circle into twelve segments (Panel #3) using a bench scraper. Finally, roll the rugelach into a spiral, starting from the wide outside and rolling towards the point at the middle of the circle (Panel #4).
ProTip: Don’t use a sharp knife on your countertop or silicone mat!
Baking the rugelach
Place the point of the rugelach down on baking sheets lined with silicone mats or parchment paper. Brush with the egg wash, and bake until they are golden brown.
If you are freezing unbaked rugelach for later baking, wait to do the egg wash until you’re ready to bake them. Bake them straight from the freezer at the same temperature for an extra minute or two.
FAQs about this chocolate rugelach recipe
I always say you will get more consistent results if you weigh your ingredients, especially for baking. Plus, it dirties fewer dishes!
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, freeze rolled cookies before baking, or even freeze the 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.
Check out some other uglyducklingbakery cookies like these salted caramel chip chocolate cookies or these ube macaroons dipped in white chocolate. But I think my favorite cookie this year might have to be these Linzer cookies.
- Food processor
Rugelach pastry dough
- 1 cup (125 grams) bleached all-purpose flour plus more for dusting the countertop
- 1 cup (125 grams) cake flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- 9 tablespoons (128 grams or 4.5 ounces) cold cream cheese, roughly cut into four parts
- 12 tablespoons (170 grams or 6 ounces) cold butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- 4 ounces (113 grams) bittersweet chocolate
- 8 tablespoons (113 grams or 4 ounces) unsalted butter
- 5 tablespoons (30 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 5 tablespoons (30 grams) 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) bleached all-purpose flour, 1 cup (125 grams) cake flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- Add the cream cheese and pulse 10 times.9 tablespoons (128 grams or 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 or 6 ounces) cold butter, cut into ½ 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 or 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) unsweetened cocoa powder, 5 tablespoons (30 grams) 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 ¼ cup of chocolate filling to the dough circle and spread it with a knife or offset spatula to about one half inch 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 to 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 don’t forget to leave a comment how much you loved them!
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